Does the COVID-19 Vaccine Cause Infertility?
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False COVID-related myths spread rapidly on social media, but before you rely on someone's Facebook post, find out what our medical experts have to say.
Can the COVID-19 Vaccine Cause Infertility?
"We have to go by fact, not fear, evidence, not emotion," Dr. Ashton says of infertility claims linked to the vaccine, noting there is no long-term data proving this claim. She explains a protein in the vaccine similar to a protein that helps with placental attachment sparked the fear, but she says they are more like "second cousins" and not closely related. She also notes if this protein similarity was truly an issue there would have been a rise in miscarriages of people who were naturally infected with the virus, which did not occur.
Should Pregnant Women Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Dr. Paul Offit, who is the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Hospital of Philadelphia, says the pregnant women who were in the clinical trials that miscarried were in the placebo group. He also explains that women who are pregnant who get COVID are more likely to suffer from the severe disease when compared to women of the same age who are not pregnant. The CDC has said the vaccine is considered safe for pregnant women to get. He also notes there have not been cases of infected women who gave birth having birth defects related to the virus and he says there is no reason to believe the vaccine would cause defects.
Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Also Vaccinate a Fetus?
Yes, Dr. Offit explains the antibodies that a vaccinated mom produces in her body will transfer to a fetus and should protect the baby for a few months after birth.
More questions to ask yourself before getting a vaccine, according to Dr. Ashton:
- What are the risks of getting the vaccine? (Dr. Ashton says to answer this question with data available from the vaccine's clinical trials, not from information in a social media post)
- What is the risk of not getting the vaccine? (These are possible COVID-19 vaccine side effects)
- What is the benefit of getting the vaccine? (Find out all the benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine)
- What is the benefit of not getting it? (Find out why you should not fear the vaccine)
"There is a lot we don't know, but what we do know, is that right now, the risk of death [from COVID-19] is about 1 in 985," she says, explaining the risk of death from an allergic reaction to the vaccine is about 1 in 90,000, making the risk of the vaccine dramatically lower.