Richard Tice makes misleading claims about Covid-19 vaccines and fertility

21 July 2021
What was claimed

“Forcing” young women to have Covid-19 vaccines is “almost certain” to lead to increased stillbirths, miscarriages, disabled children and infertility.

Our verdict

There is no evidence for this. Yellow Card and VAERS reporting is cited as the source of this claim, but the data from these systems does not prove a link.

Forcing young girls, who just want to dance, to have vaccines almost certain to mean increased still births, miscarriages, disabled children, infertility. Remember the vaccines still on emergency approval only. Revolting, disgusting.

In a widely shared and now-deleted tweet, Reform UK leader Richard Tice claimed that “forcing” young women to have the Covid-19 vaccine is “almost certain” to lead to “increased stillbirths, miscarriages, disabled children, infertility”. There is no evidence to support this claim.

Mr Tice appeared to be reacting to the announcement that people attending nightclubs and other venues where large numbers of people gather in England will need to be fully vaccinated from the end of September. 

When asked on Twitter to back up his claim, Mr Tice later cited the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) Yellow Card scheme, and a similar programme also used to monitor suspected side effects of vaccines in the US called the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

After being questioned on why he shared inaccurate information about the vaccines, Mr Tice  later deleted the tweet and apologised

As we have written before, the Yellow Card scheme relies on voluntary reporting from medics and members of the public, and is intended to provide an early warning of any previously unknown risks.

An adverse event that occurs after vaccination did not necessarily occur because of it. As the MHRA explains: “The nature of Yellow Card reporting means that reported events are not always proven side effects. Some events may have happened anyway, regardless of vaccination.” 

The VAERS site includes a similar caveat, stating: “Healthcare providers, vaccine manufacturers, and the public can submit reports to VAERS. While very important in monitoring vaccine safety, VAERS reports alone cannot be used to determine if a vaccine caused or contributed to an adverse event or illness. 

“The reports may contain information that is incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable. Most reports to VAERS are voluntary, which means they are subject to biases.”

Claims that the vaccine can affect a woman’s fertility due to the generation of the spike protein have circulated since the start of the vaccine rollout. As we have written before, there is no evidence this is true. 

The latest government data shows that 46 million people in the UK have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. 

The most recent adverse reaction data published by the MHRA shows that there have been six reports of stillbirths after a Covid-19 vaccine, four reports of foetal death, 339 reports of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage), and nine reports of infertility (two male, one female, five unspecified). 

As we have written before, it’s sadly estimated one in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage, with an estimated 250,000 miscarriages in the UK each year, so the number of miscarriages reported after vaccination doesn’t appear to exceed the expected level. 

Advice from the NHS says there is no evidence that the Covid-19 vaccines affect fertility, and the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been “widely used during pregnancy in other countries and no safety concerns have been identified.” Evidence reviewed by the MHRA “has raised no specific concerns for safety in pregnancy”.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states on its website: “Covid-19 vaccines do not contain ingredients that are known to be harmful to pregnant women or to a developing baby. 

“Studies of the vaccines in animals to look at the effects on pregnancy have shown no evidence that the vaccine causes harm to the pregnancy or to fertility.”

Mr Tice also said the Covid-19 vaccines have “emergency approval only”. All three of the vaccines currently in use in the UK (Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna) have been authorised for use. A fourth, Janssen has been authorised, but is not yet in use. 

Across the UK, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has a temporary authorisation (sometimes known as a regulation 174 authorisation) issued by the MHRA, which is an emergency authorisation. 

In Great Britain, the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen vaccines have another type of authorisation, called a “conditional marketing authorisation” which has been issued by the MHRA. 

We have written more about the difference between these types of authorisation before.

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