Experts Say Covid-19 Vaccine Is Not Linked to Miscarriage or Infertility
Viral conspiracy theories have been debunked by OB-GYN physicians
The world is fighting two pandemics: Covid-19 and misinformation. Dangerous social media rumors and falsehoods continue to circulate, creating fear and mistrust among the general public. This week, the misinformation focused on a false link between Covid-19 vaccination and miscarriage.
The baseless claims started after anti-vaxxers misleadingly shared posts from a popular Oklahoma OB-GYN physician. Michelle Rockwell, MD, publicly shared the tragedy of her miscarriage through her social media platforms. She also celebrated her Covid-19 vaccination three weeks later. Conspiracy theorists disregarded the timeline, took her Instagram posts out of context, and spread falsehoods regarding the timing of her vaccination and pregnancy loss.
Facebook also removed a false post claiming that the head of Pfizer research found a link between the vaccine and female sterilization. This particular false claim is based on a confusing twist of scientific facts.
The Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna use messenger RNA (mRNA). A single strand of mRNA delivers instructions to human cells to produce an antibody against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The conspiracy theory that Facebook addressed stems from the fact that the spike protein is genetically similar to an essential placental protein called syncytin-1.
The placenta is the organ inside the uterus that keeps the baby alive through its internal filtration system. Syncytin-1 and the coronavirus spike protein share a tiny string of amino acids, but the placental protein is unrelated to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The genetic similarity is not close enough for vaccine antibodies to recognize syncytin-1.
These fabrications prompted a statement on February 4 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) titled “Medical Experts Continue to Assert That Covid Vaccines Do Not Impact Fertility.”
Leaders from the U.K. spoke up about the viral misinformation. The president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Edward Morris, MD, issued guidance in January to reassure the…