As a recently retired gynecologist, I have watched with great sadness the proliferation of misinformation regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and women’s health. These falsehoods have contributed to the rise of coronavirus cases and related deaths in our community. Common myths and answers to these concerns I have listed below.
1. “The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility and miscarriage.” Because of the way the vaccines are made and work in the human body, scientists did not believe that they could have any impact on female fertility or pregnancy loss. This was recently proven in a study published by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. A group of women who had antibodies to COVID-19 after vaccination were compared to a group of women who did not have these antibodies. The pregnancy and miscarriage rates in both groups were the same.
2. “The COVID-19 vaccine could not possibly be safe because it was developed so quickly.” Researchers have been making vaccines to other coronaviruses such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome) for decades. They rightly believed that this type of virus would cause the next pandemic so they wanted to be prepared. In 2020, we poured vast resources into the development, production and safety testing so that the COVID-19 vaccine could be available as soon as possible. No corners were cut. These vaccines have proven to be exceedingly safe and effective.
3. “The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe for my unborn child so I should not get the vaccine if I am pregnant.” Studies are now available that compare the babies born to women who had the vaccine during pregnancy compared to women that did not have the vaccine. There is no evidence that the vaccine causes harm to an unborn child. In fact, a pregnant woman who contracts the COVID-19 virus is more likely to become seriously ill and require an ICU stay.
4. “The COVID-19 vaccine is not safe in breastfeeding mothers.” There is absolutely no evidence to support this notion. The antibodies a woman produces after vaccination may actually pass to her baby through breast milk protecting her child from the virus.
5. “The COVID-19 vaccine causes abnormal bleeding.” There have been reports that the vaccine can cause menses to be heavier, longer, come earlier or be delayed. Abnormal bleeding is a very common problem in women with many different causes. No studies have been done that evaluate this problem with this vaccine. We do have decades of experience with other vaccines that show that there is no association between vaccines and abnormal bleeding.
COVID-19 is the first health problem in decades to lower the life expectancy of US citizens. In a little over 18 months, 675 thousand US residents have perished. Please ladies get vaccinated. Bring a friend. Contact your health care provider with questions.
Laura Dabinett, is a resident of Berryville.