Amy Taylor was chatting with friends over a Zoom drink when the conversation took an unexpected turn. One in the group – all in the early 1930s, mostly college and professional – said they were worried about the Covid vaccine because they wanted to try a baby next year or two.
“I was surprised when others said they were also a little worried. “Then I started thinking maybe I was worried too – even though I’m in favor of vaccinations and I know this is the way out of the pandemic,” Taylor * said. late, I will need IVF, do I have to freeze my eggs? “We do not want anything else that could affect the chances of motherhood.”
Concerns about fertility are one of the main causes of vaccine reluctance, despite explicit assurances from doctors and scientists. The suggestion that Covid vaccines could affect fertility was “nonsense,” Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief physician, told ITV Good morning Britain Last week. “There was no evidence that there were any problems with family planning or fertility.”
The Royal College of Obstetricians and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG) have issued a joint statement on misinformation about the effect of Covid vaccinations on fertility. “There is no biologically sound mechanism by which current vaccines could affect female fertility,” said Edward Morris, president of the RCOG.
The British Fertility Society and the Association of Scientific and Clinical Scientists also published guidance stating that “there was absolutely no evidence, nor any theoretical reason, that any of the vaccines could affect the fertility of women or men”.
People can start fertility treatment right after the vaccination and those who give eggs or sperm for the use of others can get the vaccine. Women who have had recurrent miscarriages and are now trying to conceive do not need to delay their vaccination, the guidance said.
Raj Mathur, chairman of the executive committee of the British Fertility Society, said there was very little information about the vaccine’s reluctance or reasons for it. “But a lot of people have jokingly expressed concerns about me and my colleagues – even among health workers,” he told Observer.
“It is based on misinformation, but unfortunately it is out there. Vaccination does not prevent you from getting pregnant and is the best way to reduce your risk of developing Covid when you are pregnant. “
Virginia Beckett, clinical director of reproductive medicine at the Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said she also had anecdotal evidence of vaccine hesitation in women of childbearing potential. “We have seen healthcare workers reduce vaccination because of these concerns – and this is a warning in advance, because most women in this age range have not even been vaccinated yet,” she said.
The online misinformation came largely from a comment posted by a former Pfizer employee that the immune response elicited by her vaccine could attack the placenta, she said. Since then, the post has been deleted and its content has been discredited. “But the idea is inevitably snowing, especially in people who already had doubts about the vaccine. It is very worrying. He added: “This misinformation is very difficult to deal with. Social media plays a huge role in the lives of many people and you can easily get into a lot of conspiratorial and dark places. If you are already anxious, there are many things to reinforce.”
Beckett posted one videos on Twitter refuting claims about the effect of vaccines on fertility, saying “it was not biologically possible”. But, he added, “what we do know is that Covid is dangerous for pregnant women.”
At the height of the current wave, 9% of all patients in intensive care in the UK were either pregnant or had just given birth to a baby, he said. “We have seen some really sick patients in the last quarter [of pregnancy]and we have seen a threefold increase in early deliveries. We all want to do everything we can to protect the chances of starting a family. “But it is a perverted way to achieve this by avoiding vaccination, especially as we know Covid will not leave.”
* Not her real name