False claims linking COVID-19 vaccine, infertility are making women hesitant to get vaccinated, health experts say

Misinformation tying COVID-19 vaccines to fertility issues is contributing to vaccine hesitancy among many women in their 20s and 30s, health experts told The Washington Post.

In December 2020, the first widely shared claims about the vaccine and fertility issues began spreading on social media. This misinformation is driving a misconception that Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines, which use mRNA technology, could cause the body's immune system to mistakenly target a protein in the placenta, experts say.

"There's absolutely nothing to that," Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health, told the Post of the infertility claims. "But when we look at people who are expressing hesitancy, in many instances those are women of childbearing age."

Dora Anne Mills, MD, chief health improvement officer at Portland-based MaineHealth, is overseeing the system's vaccine rollout and said the most frequently asked question she gets from employees relate to the vaccine's mRNA technology and reproduction issues.

Akiko Iwasaki, PhD, an immunologist at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn., told the Post she's also seen a "storm of confusion and fear among women" about the false claim. 

Dr. Iwasaki and her team conducted two different research efforts to assess this claim and found no scientific grounds to suggest that the mRNA technology could cause fertility issues.

To read the full article, click here.

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