Miscarriage does not occur in 90% of vaccinated pregnant women

23 November 2021
What was claimed

Over 55,000 deaths have been caused by the Covid-19 vaccines.

Our verdict

There seems to be no evidence for this claim, and reports of adverse events from the Yellow Card Scheme and VAERS make clear that reported reactions are not necessarily the result of the vaccine.

What was claimed

Over 90% of the women who are pregnant and have Covid-19 vaccines in early pregnancy experience a miscarriage in the first 12 weeks.

Our verdict

This isn’t true. The MHRA says there is no sign to suggest the vaccines are causing miscarriages, and the NHS says there is no need to avoid getting pregnant after having the vaccines.

A video featuring former University College Dublin professor Dolores Cahill and Dr Anne McCloskey, a GP who was suspended by the Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland and the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service pending investigation, has been widely shared on Facebook. The video, which has been viewed over 49,000 times, includes false information about the Covid-19 vaccines. 

We have fact checked two of the most important claims in the video, however the Facebook video includes other pieces of misleading information.

We have fact checked other claims made by Dr Cahill before. 

False claims that the Yellow Card scheme and Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) system provide definitive proof of adverse events and deaths 

In the video, Dr Cahill claims that she and Dr McCloskey looked at the “actual evidence” from the “original sources” of information “like the Yellow Card system, or the adverse events that are reported in the Centres for Disease Control in America”. She says that using this information they can “definitively say that these clinical trials [...] have the most harm, adverse events and deaths from any clinical trials in history”. They say that there have been over 55,000 deaths in the “clinical trials”. 

However, the Yellow Card scheme in the UK and the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) system in America are systems set up so that any adverse effects or side effects experienced around the time of vaccination (or other medications in the case of the Yellow Card scheme) can be reported by clinicians and members of the public. Such reports can then be monitored, reviewed and investigated as necessary. 

Both the VAERS and Yellow Card systems are clear to explain that the reported symptoms are not necessarily caused by the vaccine. 

The weekly summary of Yellow Card reporting for the Covid-19 vaccines produced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for example, says: “The nature of Yellow Card reporting means that reported events are not always proven side effects”.

It also says:  “A Yellow Card report does not necessarily mean the vaccine caused that reaction or event”.

In any case, Full Fact was not able to identify anywhere near 55,000 reports of deaths to the Yellow Card Scheme or VAERs system. For example, up to 10 November there have been 1,784 reports of deaths around the time of Covid-19 vaccination to the Yellow Card Scheme

The MHRA states that the majority of these reports were “in elderly people or people with underlying illness”.

Up to 15 November VAERS received 9,810 reports of death among people who had received a Covid-19 vaccine. around the time of Covid-19 vaccine. 

In the phase three safety and efficacy trials, published by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Moderna, there were five deaths reported among people who received the vaccine, and these deaths were from a variety of different causes. Data collection on long term protection and safety will continue to be collected over the coming years. 

Video repeats false claims that “over 90%” of women who are pregnant and vaccinated in early pregnancy go on to have a miscarriage

The Facebook video also suggests that the babies of “over 90% of women who are pregnant and get this injection [the Covid-19 vaccines]” are “born dead” in the first 12 weeks, and say that the “foetal loss is huge”. 

The video doesn’t state where this claim comes from. However, we have previously written about the misuse of data from a New England Journal of Medicine study to make the false claim that 82-91% of participants vaccinated in the first trimester of pregnancy went on to experience a miscarriage. 

The MHRA says: “The numbers of reports of miscarriage and stillbirth are low in relation to the number of pregnant women who have received COVID-19 vaccines to date (more than 96,000 up to end of September 2021 in England and Scotland) and how commonly these events occur in the UK outside of the pandemic.

“There is no pattern from the reports to suggest that any of the COVID-19 vaccines used in the UK, or any reactions to these vaccines, increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth.”

The NHS says: “There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccines have any effect on your chances of becoming pregnant. There's no need to avoid getting pregnant after being vaccinated.”

We have written more about false claims made regarding the Covid-19 vaccines and risk of miscarriage previously. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false Because the VAERS system and the Yellow Card scheme are to report suspected side effects or adverse events, they are not necessarily reactions that are caused by the vaccines. Claims that 90% of women vaccinated in early pregnancy go on to miscarry are false.

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