Covid-19 Vaccines Don’t Cause Infertility Says WHO Zimbabwe

REPORTS that COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility in both women and men are nothing more than mere conspiracy theories and false unscientific claims, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Zimbabwe has said.

By Patricia Mashiri

Zimbabwe launched its national COVID-19 vaccination program in February this year after receiving its first 200 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from China. However, there has been low uptake of the vaccine owing vaccine hesitancy largely due to widespread misinformation and conspiracy theories.

In an interview with HealthTimes, Dr Lincoln Charimari,the World Health Organization (WHO) Zimbabwe COVID-19 Response Manager said there was no evidence at the moment which shows that vaccination against COVID-19 causes infertility.

Before any new vaccine is deployed, it is thoroughly studied through clinical trials. These trials then provide evidence for the efficacy (effectiveness) and safety of the vaccine. So the decisions to deploy any vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccines in informed by available evidence. As more people get vaccinated, more evidence comes to light.

“There is no evidence at the moment that vaccination against COVID-19 causes infertility in women. There is also no evidence that it causes impotence in men. However, the clinical trials have not included pregnant women to date so the vaccine is not recommended in this group of people until more evidence of its safety in pregnant women becomes available. This is why women are asked of pregnancy before the vaccine is administered, Dr Charimari said.

Dr Charimari added that the COVID-19 vaccine is for persons aged 16 years and above. This is because the under 16s have not been part of the clinical trials and evidence for vaccine safety in this group is not yet adequate.

Dr Charimari also clarified that the vaccine dose only gives immunity to the person who receives it.

“You can get COVID-19 after vaccination just like you can get an accident while putting on a seat belt or you can get pregnant while using contraceptive. What the vaccine do is protect against development of severe disease and significantly reduces one’s risk of dying. It also reduces the risk of being hospitalized. People at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or developing severe disease are usually prioritised for vaccination.

“Vaccines protect at two main levels. The first is that they give the individual immunity that protects against severe disease and death. The second is that if enough people in a population are vaccinated (more than 60%) then the population develops herd or population immunity that then helps in stopping transmission in that population,” Dr Charimari said.

The COVID-19 vaccine doses uptake has been depressed following myths that have been circulating especially on social media. However, the uptake has seem to have changed since the start of the second phase national vaccination program roll out which was launched in Victoria Falls.


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