IN SHORT: There is no data to support the claim of a 4,070% increase in miscarriages and stillbirths as a result of taking the Covid mRNA vaccine. In fact, maternal health experts recommend that pregnant women take the vaccine to prevent life-threatening complications.
In a tweet circulating in South Africa in March 2023, Simone Gold, apparently a US-based doctor, claims that miscarriages and stillbirths have increased 4,070% since the roll-out of what she calls "the experimental mRNA vaccines".
Gold supports her claim by referring to data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or Vaers, managed by the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The same claim was repeated elsewhere on Twitter here and here.
The acronym “mRNA” refers to messenger-RNA vaccines, developed for Covid-19. Their technology teaches cells how to make a protein, or a piece of a protein, to trigger an immune response inside the body. This immune response, which produces antibodies, is what helps protect people from Covid-19.
Several of Gold’s viral claims on the adverse effects of vaccines have been proven false in the past. This March 2023 tweet immediately drew criticism, with some Twitter users commenting that a 4,070% increase is "impossible".
Africa Check has previously looked into claims about the safety of Covid-19 vaccines while pregnant. We found several studies which showed that there is no link between the vaccine and miscarriage.
But does any more recent data show otherwise? We checked.
No evidence of link between Covid vaccines and miscarriages or stillbirths
Vaers is an early warning system to detect possible safety issues with US-licensed vaccines. It relies on individuals to report their experience and therefore "is not designed to determine if a vaccine caused a health problem".
Africa Check reached out to Dr Andrea Sharma, maternal vaccine safety expert and epidemiologist at the CDC. “Safety monitoring and research have established that Covid-19 vaccination during pregnancy is safe and not linked to an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth,” she said.
Sharma also referred us to the CDC’s Covid-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry which collects data on potential pregnancy outcomes, such as miscarriage and stillbirth, pregnancy complications and infant outcomes, such birth defects, of patients who have received a Covid-19 vaccine.
By June 2021, approximately 23,000 women had enrolled in the pregnancy registry. A September 2021 study looked into data from 2,456 enrolled women who received at least one dose of the mRNA Covid vaccine. It showed that 165 of the 2,456 participants reported a “spontaneous abortion”, commonly known as a miscarriage.
The study noted that one of its limitations was the lack of a control group of unvaccinated pregnant women. However, it was noted that the number of spontaneous abortions was "consistent with the expected risk of spontaneous abortion" generally.
Similar findings were made in peer-reviewed publications such as the Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics journal and the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as by maternal health professionals not directly affiliated with the CDC.
The CDC recommends taking the Covid vaccine during pregnancy to prevent severe illness and death in pregnant women. So does the South African health department’s Vaccine Ministerial Advisory Committee.
There is currently no evidence to suggest that any Covid-19 vaccine causes miscarriages or stillbirths, as Gold claims.
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