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VERIFY: No, COVID-19 vaccines do not affect men's and women's fertility

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said this question is one of the most common pieces of misinformation he hears from the public about the coronavirus vaccine.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said one of the most common pieces of misinformation he hears from the public about the coronavirus vaccine is about effects on fertility.

The U.S. CDC issued an urgent alert Wednesday for pregnant women to get the COVID-19 vaccine, saying only 31% of pregnant women had gotten the shot, but that they have a 70% higher risk of death if they catch COVID-19 and are symptomatic.

THE QUESTION

Do the COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

FALSE

WHAT WE FOUND

According to Shah, the U.S. CDC, and the World Health Organization, the vaccines do not affect a person's fertility.

"Based on everything we know about mRNA vaccines, the J and J vaccines, and vaccines in general, as well as now the billions of people who have taken the vaccine, there's no basis to believe that your fertility will be affected in any way by getting vaccinated," Shah said.

"It's a common myth and I should start by saying that there is absolutely no scientific evidence or truth behind this concern that vaccines somehow interfere with fertility either in men or in women," WHO's chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said in a myth-buster segment for the agency.

She said the vaccines stimulate an immune response against the specific spike protein of the virus.

"So there is no way that they could interfere with the functioning of the reproductive organs in either men or women, so I think people can rest assured that these vaccines in no way interfere with fertility," Swaminathan said.

The U.S. CDC released data from a small study of 45 men that found no significant changes in sperm quantity or movement after vaccination.

Another CDC study found no differences in pregnancy success rates among women vaccinated or not vaccinated.