COVID-19 Fact Checks

MISSING CONTEXT: VAERS data show COVID-19 vaccines lead to ectopic pregnancies

Rappler
MISSING CONTEXT: VAERS data show COVID-19 vaccines lead to ectopic pregnancies
The COVID-19 vaccine symptoms reported through VAERS do not determine causality. The US CDC still recommends COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women.
At a glance
  • Claim: Data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reveal there are 50 times more ectopic pregnancies following COVID-19 vaccination than for all vaccines in the past 30 years.
  • Rating: MISSING CONTEXT
  • The facts: The COVID-19 vaccine symptoms reported through VAERS do not determine causality. The US CDC still recommends COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women.
  • Why we fact-checked this: This was flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking tool as potentially misleading. According to the tool, the post on Instagram has been viewed around 500 times in the past 24 hours.
Complete details

According to an Instagram post on November 24 by the account “crg_globalresearch” data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reveal that there are 50 times more ectopic pregnancies following COVID-19 vaccination than for all vaccines in the past 30 years.

This was flagged by Facebook’s fact-checking tool as potentially misleading. According to the tool, the post on Instagram has been viewed around 500 times in the past 24 hours. The tool said the post is circulating in the Philippines.

This post is missing context.

VAERS, which is co-managed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is used to detect possible safety problems.

However, the system is not designed to determine whether a vaccine is the reason for a health problem. Thus, even though ectopic pregnancies are reported to VAERS in relation to the COVID-19 vaccines, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the vaccines caused the ectopic pregnancies.

A disclaimer on the VAERS website says that the data from the reports may include incomplete, inaccurate, coincidental, or unverifiable information. And since they are voluntary – anyone can report adverse events to the system – they can be subject to bias. This limits how the data can be used scientifically.

As of Monday, November 29, both the CDC and the WHO still recommend COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women. The CDC says that the benefits of being vaccinated against COVID-19 outweigh the potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.

Moreover, the preliminary findings of a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on April 21 found that there were “no obvious safety signals” among pregnant women who received mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. A larger study would need to be conducted, the researchers said, to determine maternal, pregnancy, and infant outcomes.

Rappler had also previously fact-checked the claim in the post that the COVID-19 vaccines are “experimental.” – Vernise Tantuco/Rappler.com

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