There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines raise the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth or affect fertility and the ability to have children, the UK’s health regulator said on Monday.
Data gathered so far also does not support a link between changes to menstrual periods and Covid vaccines, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It said the menstrual changes reported post-vaccine were mostly transient in nature: “The number of reports of menstrual disorders and vaginal bleeding is low in relation to both the number of people who have received Covid vaccines to date and how common menstrual disorders are generally.”
There was no pattern to suggest that any of the Covid vaccines used in the UK, or any reactions to these vaccines, increased the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth, and there was also no evidence to suggest that the vaccines raised the risk of congenital anomalies or birth complications, the MHRA said. “Pregnant women have reported similar suspected reactions to the vaccines as people who are not pregnant,” it added.
Dr Jo Mountfield, a consultant obstetrician and a vice-president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said the news was reassuring. “This supports other global data that there is no increased risk of having a miscarriage when having the vaccine,” she said.
“Nearly 200,000 pregnant women have had a Covid-19 vaccine with no adverse health concerns, and we hope that this further evidence from the MHRA will encourage women to get vaccinated.”
Joeli Brearley, the founder of the charity Pregnant Then Screwed, said: “It is imperative that this information is communicated to all health professionals as we are still hearing from pregnant women who have been turned away from vaccine centres, or are being told that we do not have enough information to ensure the vaccine’s safety.
“It is absolutely critical that the government does more than just publishing this data on their website if they want to increase the numbers of pregnant women receiving the vaccine, and decrease the numbers of pregnant women in intensive care.”
About 700,000 women give birth in England and Wales each year, with thousands more trying to conceive at any one time. In April, all pregnant women in the UK were given the green light to receive a Covid vaccine.
Covid itself can be dangerous for pregnant women. According to the RCOG, UK studies suggest pregnant women are no more likely to catch Covid than other groups, but they may be at increased risk of having severe disease – a concern echoed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Pregnant women who do get symptomatic Covid-19 infection are two to three times more likely to give birth to their baby prematurely, according to the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.