WHO and NI Department of Health criticise pro-life group for spreading 'anti vaxxer' misinformation

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has criticised a pro-life group in Northern Ireland which produced leaflets claiming risks of infertility around "rushed [coronavirus] vaccines".

    WHO said such misinformation against the Covid-19 jab is putting "lives at risk".

    The anti-abortion organisation, Precious Life also alleged that those who receive the vaccine will "effectively be human guinea pigs".

    With no evidence of supporting research, the group suggests that women should wait at least two months after a second dose of the vaccine before trying to get pregnant and incorrectly asserts that Government guidelines state the vaccines should not be given to pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding.

    The Department of Health openly refuted the "bogus claims" in a press release issued on Sunday, stating: "One of the unsubstantiated claims doing the rounds concerns Covid-19 vaccines and fertility. There is no evidence to support any concerns about fertility."

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    Dr Edward Morris, President at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “We want to reassure women that there is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data.

    “There is no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women's fertility.”

    Similarly, Professor Lucy Chappell, a consultant obstetrician specialising in women with medical problems in pregnancy, has commented: “I can see absolutely no basis for concerns about any of the Covid-19 vaccines that are licensed in the UK and fertility.”

    The Department of Health referred to both experts in its press release as well as external supporting links, including an article by the BBC Reality Check team which has examined the issue in detail. 

    The department also said that "anti vaxxers" have been spreading misinformation "for many years" on social media and concluded: "The public health advice is very clear – get vaccinated against Covid-19 to protect yourself, protect your health service and help us all get to a better place."

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    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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