Debunking the myths about the vaccine and infertility
From the very beginning, scientific information on COVID-19 has had to compete with problematic and troubling myths and conspiracy theories. Unfortunately, in some corners of the internet science is not winning and new myths are finding space to flourish.
One of the most recent myths to emerge concerns COVID vaccines. Yes, the same vaccines that have the capacity to help us get out of this pandemic safely.
The myth is that COVID-19 vaccines will cause infertility in women. (If this sounds vaguely familiar to you, we probably watched the same Amazon Prime show that premiered during the pandemic.)
To be clear, COVID-19 vaccines do not cause infertility. It is a myth. This is not true.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) have confirmed this in no uncertain terms in the following. declaration. They wrote: “We also assure patients that there is no evidence that the vaccine can lead to loss of fertility. Although fertility has not been specifically studied in clinical trials of the vaccine, no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions of people who have received the vaccines since clearance, and no evidence of it. Infertility has only appeared in animal studies. Loss of fertility is scientifically unlikely. “
To learn more about vaccines and fertility, Scary Mommy contacted neonatologist Dr Kevin Kathrotia of Millennium neonatology to get the facts.
The myth probably stems from a letter sent by immunization advocates
Often, it is difficult to determine where a myth arose. In this case, however, there is a consensus that it came from a letter sent to the European Medicines Agency by two people with a history of anti-vax. They raised inaccurate concerns that the vaccine contains a specific protein, Syncytin-1, which is essential for the human placenta. However, COVID-19 vaccines do not contain this protein. The COVID spike protein and Syncytin-1 have a very small piece of genetic code in common. To understand why this is irrelevant, consider a phone number that shares a single digit in the middle. Of course, one number matches, but if the other nine don’t, you won’t reach the intended person. Likewise, even though a tiny part of the genetic code is similar, it is not the same code.
Along with the claim that the vaccine contains the protein needed by the human placenta, there is the myth that vaccines cause the body to generate antibodies that reject the protein, thereby causing infertility.
This is extremely wrong. The authors of the letter who carried this myth admit that the vaccine does not create antibodies that would reject the protein needed by the placenta. They write “there is no indication whether the antibodies against the SARS virus spike proteins would also act as anti-Syncytin-1 antibodies. “
The real world contradicts the myth
The Pfizer trial included more than 37,000 people. During the trial, 23 people became pregnant—12 in the vaccine group and 11 in the placebo group. Put in perspective, in a random pool of people, the number of vaccinated people who got pregnant is the same as the number of unvaccinated people who got pregnant. Obviously, the vaccine didn’t make a difference.
Vaccines are safe for pregnant women
According to Dr. Kathrotia, “The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) currently states that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from pregnant patients.” Likewise, he confirms that “those who try should not be discouraged from receiving the vaccine.”
The only people who should not be vaccinated are those who are contraindicated to be vaccinated, regardless of their pregnancy. “This includes anyone who has had an adverse reaction to the vaccine or any of its components,” Dr. Kathrotia wrote in an email. He also noted that while there are no studies on the issue, “it’s probably best to wait until the commonly known symptom period of 1 to 2 days” before trying to get pregnant.
Pregnant people are at high risk of developing severe COVID
The real danger here is the myth. Vaccines do not cause infertility, but pregnancy puts a person at high risk of developing severe COVID. Studies on pregnant women with COVID have shown that infection increases the risk of complications. This means that instead of avoiding the vaccine, people who are planning to become pregnant should get the vaccine as soon as possible. The known risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy far outweigh the imagined risk created by a myth.
Immunity can be transferred to your baby
Not only are the vaccines safe, and not only could they protect you against developing serious COVID if you are infected during pregnancy, there is another added benefit to being vaccinated – protecting your baby.
Dr Kathrotia confirmed that there is evidence of a transfer of immunity to the baby both when the pregnant person receives the vaccine during pregnancy and when they become pregnant some time after receiving the vaccine. “There is evidence that both scenarios result in the transmission of antibodies to the baby.”
The takeaway from all of this is twofold. First, the vaccines are safe. They do not cause infertility. Second, don’t trust what you read on the internet. News travels fast. Lies travel faster. When it comes to vaccines, pregnancy, and fertility, talk to your doctor and look for credible sources.
Information on COVID-19 is changing rapidly and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Because news is updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after posting. For this reason, we encourage readers to use the online resources of local public health services, the Disease Control Centers, and the World Health Organization to stay as informed as possible.