The fear of infertility is causing young women to avoid getting the COVID vaccine. The scientific truth denies the basis of that fear.
The COVID vaccine isn’t a threat if you’re considering becoming pregnant. In fact, studies show that it offers powerful protection. Misconceptions and false information is working against healthcare workers as they race to get the vaccine into the arms of the public.
One of the biggest rumors being spread is that the COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), causes infertility. This allegation is causing many women to hesitate about getting immunized.
Is there any scientific evidence behind the claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility?
The answer is no, according to Kristina M. Adams Waldorf, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology and an expert in pregnancy infections at UW Medicine in Seattle. This falsehood, she says, “is a very clever way to try to dissuade people from becoming vaccinated — part of a coordinated anti-vax misinformation campaign.”
“We see a lot of anti-vax misinformation that looks like it’s coming from a reputable source,” Dr. Adams Waldorf adds, explaining that this particular claim is especially devious — and effective — because it combines COVID vaccination worries with deep-seated fears that many women have about their fertility and future ability to become pregnant.
The COVID-19 Vaccine Does Not Harm the Placenta
Rumors that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility focus on the placenta, the organ that provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus and removes waste. “What they are purporting is that the vaccine will generate antibodies against part of the coronavirus ‘spike’ protein … and that the same antibodies will cross-react with a protein that is made by the placenta called syncytin-1,” says Adams Waldorf. Experts in the field have examined this issue, and find that the vaccine would not act in this way. “There is no similarity between the coronavirus ‘spike’ protein and placental syncytin-1,” Adams Waldorf says.
To disprove this theory, scientists investigated whether blood serum from people who have had COVID-19 and made their own antibodies would bind to placental syncytin-1. The antibodies don’t, Adams Waldorf says.
What’s more, says Adams Waldorf, “We don’t have any reports of infertility in people who have already received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines; in fact, people in these clinical trials were asked not get pregnant and some got pregnant anyway.”