Headlines going viral on Facebook and elsewhere on social media are spreading the claim that the COVID-19 vaccine could lead to infertility in women. The claim seems to have originated from a blog called "Health and Money News." The post claims the vaccine contains a spike protein called syncytin-1, "vital for the formation of human placenta in women," that could be targeted by the body’s immune system. There is currently no data to support this claim. The Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the protein syncytin-1.
As reported by AP News:
Experts also say there is no evidence that the Pfizer vaccine would result in sterilization of women. Rebecca Dutch, chair of University of Kentucky’s department of molecular and cellular biochemistry, said in an email that while syncytin-1 and the spike protein broadly share some features, they are quite different in the details that antibodies recognize. Aside from the fact that COVID-19’s spike protein and syncytin-1 are viral fusion proteins that cause membrane fusion, they are not related at all, Dutch said. Additionally, the vaccine being developed by Moderna, like the one being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, relies on messenger mRNA, which tells the body how to make the spike protein and trains the immune system to identify the real virus. They do not contain syncytin-1.
Tarun Jain, MD, reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Northwestern Medicine responds...
“There is no credible evidence that shows a link between vaccines and infertility, and there is no plausible mechanism of action that would link vaccines with infertility. This is a common fear and misconception that is out there, but no credible scientist is concerned about an impact on fertility. The benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any risk.”
The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is actually conducting a clinical research trial to examine IF the COVID-19 vaccine could impact male fertility. See full story here.
According to the study's lead researcher, Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy...
Based on the mechanism by which mRNA acts, we do not expect the COVID-19 vaccines will have an impact on male fertility. But obviously we want data to confirm that hypothesis,” Dr. Ramasamy said. “That is why we are doing this study, to go back and test the vaccine for safety in male fertility so it can educate, and possibly reassure, the public. The companies providing the vaccine can then use this and other data to possibly move forward with the FDA’s full authorization for use.