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Drew: COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy

By Samuetta Hill Drew

With the timeline for availability of having all Americans wishing to take the COVID-19 vaccine being pushed back due to the President’s efforts and initiatives, many young adults will be eligible for one of the three current COVID-19 vaccinations. The three current COVID-19 vaccinations with emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are:
• A two-dose Pfizer/BioTech vaccine. This vaccine uses mRNA,
• A two-dose Moderna vaccine. This vaccine uses mRNA.
• A one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This vaccine uses a harmless, modified form of the common cold virus in humans called an adenovirus.
This new timeline raises another important question being discussed by younger adult couples. This question is will it affect women’s fertility to become pregnant?
Let us explore the current research findings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gabor David Kelen, M.D. and Lisa Lockerd Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., both from John Hopkins Medicine and the University of Missouri Health Care. Again, I am not a medical professional nor scientist. Therefore, I will be using direct quotes from these individuals and institutions so the information will not be misstated.

MYTH: The covid vaccine can affect women’s fertility.
FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine will not affect fertility. The truth is that the COVID-19 vaccine encourages the body to create copies of the spike protein found on the coronavirus’s surface. This “teaches” the body’s immune system to fight the virus that has that specific spike protein on it.
Confusion arose when a false report surfaced on social media, saying that the spike protein on this coronavirus was the same as another spike protein called syncytin-1 that is involved in the growth and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report said that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility.

The two spike proteins are completely different and distinct, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods. During the Pfizer vaccine tests, 23 women volunteers involved in the study became pregnant, and the only one who suffered a pregnancy loss had not received the actual vaccine, but a placebo.

MYTH: The COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility in women
FACT: Misinformation on social media suggests the vaccine trains the body to attack syncytin-1, a protein in the placenta, which could lead to infertility in women. The truth is, there’s an amino sequence shared between the spike protein and the placental protein; however, experts say it’s too short to trigger an immune response and therefore doesn’t affect fertility.
Lastly, the CDC states the following response to the same question:
Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?
YES: People who want to get pregnant in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Based on current knowledge, experts believe that COVID-19 vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to a person trying to become pregnant in the short or long term.
Since every woman’s body and medical situations varies, to help Keep an Eye on Safety regarding this topic, it is always best to consult with your physician about this issue.