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As the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues across the country, there is no shortage of misinformation being shared on social media. Some anti-vaccine activists have been claiming that the COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility, urging people who would like to conceive in the future not to sign up for vaccinations. However, there is no evidence behind this assertion.
The claim, which has been attributed in part to Wolfgang Wodarg, a German politician and former doctor, hinges on the idea that by triggering disease-fighting antibodies, the vaccine could also trigger an immune response against a protein involved in forming the placenta, because the disease spike protein and the placental protein have some small genetic similarities.
However, the supposed science the claim is based on means that a COVID-19 infection could also cause infertility in women by triggering an immune response against the placental protein. That simply has not borne out in statistics of those who have had COVID-19 and recovered from it. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and vaccine expert who advises the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told WebMD “There is no evidence that this pandemic has changed fertility patterns.”
Of course, facts have never stood in the way of those who are intent on spreading fear. Facebook has flagged and removed posts alleging that the head of research for Pfizer likened the vaccine to female sterilization.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were cleared by the FDA for use in women of childbearing age. And, as we shared in a recent blog post, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has recommended that the vaccine not be withheld from women who are currently pregnant.
To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, to find out when, where, and how you can get vaccinated, and to sign up, visit the California Vaccine information page.