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False news: Women Should Not Have Children for 1.5 Years After Vaccination

Verdict - Fake news

A new Facebook page appeared on April 3, 2020, after the first wave of Coronavirus in Armenia. It was titled "Coronavirus = fraud of the century." The page engaged in spreading false rumours and conspiracy theories about coronavirus. Two Facebook accounts from the territory of Russia are the administrators.

This page has more than 4800 followers. Media.am has repeatedly referred to the misinformation published there. Currently, the page is conducting a counter-vaccine campaign. On July 12, for example, they wrote that women should not have children for 1.5 years after getting vaccinated, claiming that this is doctors' advice, not an individual’s assumption.

"I did not invent this; it is what the doctors advise. The new generation vaccines will stay functioning in the body of the agent for at least a year and a half, and it makes sense that in that period, a woman should not conceive a child..." the page wrote.

The most common myths of the anti-vaccine movement are those speaking about infertility and advising against impregnation. In reality, a number of studies have shown that there is no correlation between vaccination and infertility. Moreover, health experts have recommended getting vaccinated against COVID-19 before conceiving, since pregnant individuals are vulnerable to the disease.

Whether or not pregnant women should get vaccinated was a relevant question in the early stages of vaccine development, when its potential effect on this group was not yet studied.

Germany's Standing Committee on Vaccination declared that initially, there was little data about the vaccines' effect on pregnant women, as the representatives of this group do not usually participate in clinical trials. Now, the situation is changing as tests have started to be performed on pregnant individuals to understand the effects of the vaccines on the process of pregnancy. In February 2021, BioNTech and Pfizer announced that they initiated clinical trials on pregnant women to determine the effect of vaccines on them.

A recent study in the UK found that among people infected with coronavirus who were pregnant at the time, rates of stillbirth or premature birth were higher.

Recent advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in London lists the benefits of getting vaccinated during or after pregnancy.

⭕️ Reduction in severe disease for the pregnant woman

⭕️ Reduction in the risk of stillbirth and prematurity for the baby

⭕️ Potentially reducing transmission to vulnerable household members

The publication also highlights other important points related to the issue:

📌 Pregnant women should receive vaccines against COVID-19 just like any other group. The vaccine does not contain any ingredients contraindicated to pregnancy.

📌 Women may wish to discuss the benefits and the risks of the vaccine with their healthcare professionals and reach a joint decision based on individual circumstances.

📌 There is no need to stop breastfeeding after vaccination.

📌 There is no need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination․ Evidence does not suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility.

Vaccination Is Not Contraindicated to Pregnancy

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that breastfeeding women need to get vaccinated. As of April 5, 2021, more than 77,000 V-Safe (V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine) participants indicated they were pregnant at the time they received the COVID-19 vaccine. Evaluation of the qualitative data from the sample suggests that although many pregnant women reported side effects, these symptoms did not generally differ from the side effects experienced by other non-pregnant individuals: pain at the injection site, weakness, fever, and others. The vaccines did not seem to pose unusual health issues among the pregnant population.

The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, looked at the effects of the vaccine on pregnant and lactating women. Antibodies were found in their umbilical cord blood and breastfeeding milk. The findings of the study suggest that the vaccine protects both the mother and the child.

The center also urges pregnant women to consult with a doctor before deciding to get vaccinated. Such consultation may help consider individual circumstances and understand potential risks. However, if a woman plans to become pregnant, vaccination cannot prevent her from doing so; no observed negative causation exists between pregnancy and vaccination. Christian M. Pettker, an MD and the director of obstetrics at New Haven Hospital in the United States, urges pregnant women not to avoid vaccines. The studies they conducted have shown that vaccination does not negatively affect pregnancy.

An advice for women planning to get pregnant, published on the official website of the British Government on June 14, states that there is no need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. No evidence indicates that the vaccine causes infertility or reduces the chances of conceiving.

A study involving about 35,000 vaccinated pregnant women in the United States found no causation between the COVID-19 vaccine and damage inflicted upon the fetus.

Leyla Adamyan, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the National Medical Research Center of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Perinatology named after Academician V.I. Kulakov, says that women planning to become pregnant who have concomitant diseases must be vaccinated. According to her, no vaccine can cause complications equivalent in severity to coronavirus infection. Moreover, if the mother is vaccinated, the fetus is also protected from the virus.

In an interview with TASS on June 26, Melita Vujnovic, a spokeswoman for the World Health Organization (WHO), said that women planning a pregnancy should not be afraid to receive a vaccination against the coronavirus.

"The system of vaccine development and the knowledge we have acquired in the field suffice it to say that any of the vaccines currently in production do not present the potential risk to affect pregnancy," she announced.

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This article was produced in partnership with Media Initiatives Center and is part of Facebook’s Fact-checking Programme. Given the rating, Facebook may impose different restrictions – click here for full information. For information on issuing a correction or to dispute a rating, please see here.