No evidence to suggest Covid vaccine impacts male fertility

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Claim: The Covid-19 vaccine negatively impacts male fertility.

Fact: Any relationship between male fertility and the Covid-19 vaccine has not been scientifically proven.

On 12 January, 2021 Zaid Hamid tweeted a screenshot of this article with the misleading headline “Study investigates effects of Covid-19 on male fertility,” implying the clinical trial has been completed and the findings are cited in the article. However, the article actually says that Dr. Ranjith Ramasamy, reproductive urologist with U Health and Associate Professor at University of Miami, initiated a study which found the virus was present in the testicles of six men who died of Covid-19 and one who had recovered from the virus. Based on this study, his team is now looking at the potential impact of the vaccine on male fertility as well.

Screenshot of Zaid Hamid’s misleading Tweet

Dr Ramasamy states in his video interview, “From the biology of the Covid-19 vaccine, we strongly believe that it shouldn’t affect male fertility, but unlike most other FDA authorizations, this vaccine has never been tested for male fertility and so therefore we want to do that study to make sure that we reassure the men who are trying to have kids in the future, to assure them that it’s safe to go ahead and get the vaccine.”

Hamid captioned his tweet with the following quote from the last line of the article: “To protect fertility, some men may want to consider freezing their sperm prior to vaccination.” When read without context, this implies that the study has found that male fertility is impacted by the Covid-19 vaccine, which is not true, as the study is still underway. This tweet can fuel anti-vax propaganda that is already prevalent in certain corners of the internet.

Dr Ramasamy is running a clinical trial to explore the possible impact of the vaccine on male fertility, based on the study recently published in the World Journal on Men’s Health regarding the presence of the virus in testicles. The trial is in its recruitment phase, and is expected to be completed on 14 June 2021 as per the official details provided on the online clinical trials database.

As stated in the study published in the World Journal of Men’s Health, “On the basis of these preliminary findings, we believe that Covid-19 can penetrate the blood-testis barrier and enter the testis in some men. Presence of the virus can still be identified in the testis after patients have seroconverted.”

However, on social media, it is being framed as a reason to believe that the Covid-19 vaccine affects male fertility negatively. A number of medical experts believe that there is not enough scientific evidence for this to be true.

On the same news website quoted by Zaid Hamid, Local 10 News, another article addresses this issue as a “myth” where they discuss it with Rachel Guran, Director of Epidemiology and Infection Prevention at Memorial Healthcare System in Miami, and she clearly states that the Covid-19 vaccine has no scientifically proven impact on male or female fertility. “It is important to let them know this myth is not founded on any type of science. There is nothing to suggest that what the Covid-19 vaccine is made of would have any effect on somebody’s fertility, as well as pregnant or breast-feeding moms. It is not a contraindication, a condition or factor that serves as a reason to withhold a certain medical treatment due to the harm that it would cause the patient — for them to get the vaccine as well.”

Dr Victoria Male, Lecturer in Reproductive Immunology at Imperial College London, has also taken to Twitter and posted a thread on the issue, detailing how the Covid-19 vaccine does not reduce fertility. She has also been actively engaging with other Twitter accounts over this matter, clarifying the same where several accounts have continued to use this study as a source for legitimizing the belief that the vaccine affects fertility.

Soch Fact Check also spoke to Dr Osama Khalid Rehman, an Infectious Diseases Specialist at Ziauddin Hospital, Karachi. He explained that the initial study, on which the clinical trial was based, essentially only concludes that Covid-19 has an effect on the testicles but does not say whether on average if a hundred people are affected by the coronavirus, how many of them will have testicular infection or indicate any clearly defined relationship between the two. “The numbers they used are very small for any conclusion. The study does not mention any association of Covid-19 vaccination with resultant testicular injury. Viral infection and vaccination are two different things.”

These statements clearly indicate that this study is being misinterpreted and misreported to imply that the Covid-19 vaccination is harming men’s reproductive health.

Zaid Hamid is a far-right political commentator and TV host known for endorsing conspiracy theories, including recent ones regarding the Covid-19 pandemic being a global reset movement. He has previously stated that the 2008 Mumbai attacks were staged by India to victimize Pakistan. He currently has 328k Twitter followers, and was also named in the Muslim 500’s list of influential Muslim’s around the world. His word reaches a large audience, who may read his tweet and be lead into believing that the Covid-19 vaccine harms male fertility

Summary: Zaid Hamid shared a tweet with a screenshot of a news article implying that the Covid-19 vaccine has a negative impact on male fertility. However, upon reading the article it becomes clear that Dr Ramsamy is only conducting a clinical trial to scientifically investigate this claim, based on an earlier study regarding the presence of the virus in the testis. Soch Fact Check explains how the characterization of the Covid-19 vaccine as a detriment to male fertility is misleading and not supported by scientific evidence.

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