Can I test for antibodies after receiving the COVID vaccine? Are antibodies passed to infants through breast milk?

Answering COVID-19 vaccine questions: Can I test for antibodies after receiving the COVID vaccine? Are antibodies passed to infants through breast milk?
Answering COVID-19 vaccine questions: Can I test for antibodies after receiving the COVID vaccine? Are antibodies passed to infants through breast milk?

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Dr. Frank McGeorge has been keeping viewers up-to-date and informed on all fronts. He’s been answering your questions about the vaccine, the vaccination process and more.

READ: More answers to questions about coronavirus


Do you know how the vaccine would impact someone who is asthmatic? I’m leaning toward taking it but still need some more information about it.

Having asthma is an important reason you would want the protection a vaccine offers. There is no indication that the vaccine is less effective or a problem in people with asthma. I would strongly encourage you to get vaccinated.

I have been on an immunosuppressant for more than a decade. How can I check if I have COVID-19 antibodies after receiving both doses of the COVID vaccine?

At this time there is no reliable way to routinely get tested for immunity following vaccination. But your point is an important one. There is more research indicating that transplant patients, people on medications for inflammatory bowel disease and chemotherapy patients for example, do not have as strong protective response to the vaccines.

A recent paper specifically found patients on Remicade had a less robust antibody response after the first dose of vaccine but they found the second dose gave an important boost. The two important takeaways are that the second dose is important and if you are immunosuppressed, even after full vaccination you should remain cautious about social distancing and mask use.

I am breastfeeding my daughter and I am about to get the second Pfizer next week. I was wondering if antibodies would be passed to my daughter through the breastmilk and if so how long that would take to be in the breast milk? How long would antibodies be passed in the milk?

A paper published in Jama looked at exactly that question and they found antibodies were passed through breast milk and were significantly elevated at two weeks after the first vaccine. The shared antibodies remained elevated and at six weeks 65.7 percent of breast milk samples still tested positive for antibodies. The study couldn’t say whether these antibodies were protective to the infant, but they do have the potential to be.

What effect does the vaccine have on people with diabetes?

Diabetes is a specific risk for developing more severe COVID. Everyone with diabetes should definitely go and get vaccinated as soon as possible.

READ: Michigan opens COVID vaccine eligibility to 16 and older: Best appointment options


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Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge


About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.