One of the many persistent assumptions about the vaccines for COVID-19 is that they cause infertility; however, health experts are denying this claim.
According to experts from John Hopkins Medicine, the likely origin of the myth is a false report that arose on social media claiming the coronavirus and the vaccines against it contain a spike protein called syncytin-1. This protein is essential in the development and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. Damage to it can result in miscarriages as well as infertility. However, COVID-19’s spike protein and syncytin-1 do not share a similar genetic code. This means that the vaccines do not include this heightened risk for infertility. In an article directed at debunking myths about the COVID-19 vaccines, doctors at Johns Hopkins University noted that “the two spike proteins are completely different and distinct.”
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Dr. Lusine Aghajanova, an assistant clinical professor at the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Stanford, explained that these false claims about the coronavirus vaccines affecting fertility in both men and women are “concerning” and have no “scientific basis.” Dr. Aghajanova said, “We are trying to debunk the myths and also give the scientific background for anything we do.” She continued, “The short answer to the question is no.” Dr. Aghajanova revealed that the infertility myth was based on a fundamental misconception of how vaccines work. She stated, “The mechanism of action of those vaccines doesn’t even give us any theoretical possibility for affecting fertility.”
Concerns about possible infertility may have stemmed from the fact that pregnant women were excluded from initial clinical trials for the vaccines. This protocol has been in place since the early 1960s when it was discovered that a sedative called thalidomide, which was used to treat morning sickness and was undergoing clinical trials, caused severe birth defects. Since then, researchers have been cautious about including pregnant women in such trials. Although pregnant women were not included in the COVID-19 vaccine trials, Dr. Aghajanova asserted, there has been no evidence of loss of fertility in the studies conducted on animals, which were a critical part of the COVID-19 vaccine development process.
ARTICLE: GABRIELLA ANTOS
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NOVANT HEALTH