A widely shared blog post has claimed to have calculated an increase in miscarriages in the United Kingdom “as a result of” expectant mothers getting a COVID-19 vaccine. The UK’s medicines regulator told Reuters there is no evidence to support this claim, and says the figures used in the blog have been taken out of context.
The headline of the post, published on March 21, reads: “Number of women to lose their unborn child after having the Covid vaccine increases by 366% in just six weeks.” It goes on to say the writers are “saddened and shocked” to report on “unborn and newborn children to lose their lives as a result of the mothers receiving one of the Covid-19 vaccines…” (here).
The article cites data taken from weekly reports by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)’s Yellow Card scheme that monitors possible side effects of vaccines (here). It notes that six miscarriages occurred after a COVID-19 vaccination between Dec. 9 and Jan. 24. This figure increases to 28 between Jan. 24 and March 7. This is 22 miscarriages being added to the total, or a rise of 366.6%, according to the writers.
“Just six weeks separate the first and seventh report, and the shocking increase in the number of women losing their unborn and newborn child in that time due to having either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is appalling,” the blog adds.
The post has since been shared repeatedly across social media (here , here , here and here) with users leaving comments such as: “Foolish women...heart-breaking” (here) and: “Every one of those women should be charged with murder!!” (here), suggesting they believe COVID-19 vaccines play a role in miscarriages.
However, these figures have been taken out of context, having failed to mention the overall increase in the number of vaccines being administered. This, according to experts speaking to Reuters, must then be compared to the expected frequency of miscarriages occurring in the UK.
When putting the figures into context, the MHRA told Reuters: “There is no pattern to suggest an elevated risk of miscarriage related to exposure to the COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy. The numbers of people who have received a 1st dose COVID-19 vaccination increased from 1,340,043 to 4,322,791 for the same time frame. At least half of these would be expected to be women, so the number of women of child-bearing age (taking the vaccine) is estimated to have increased from 665,424 to 2,146,866 for the same time frame.”
“Sadly, miscarriage is estimated to occur in about 1 in 4 pregnancies (equal to 25 in 100) in the UK (outside of the pandemic) and most occur in the first 12 weeks (first trimester) of pregnancy, so some miscarriages would be expected to occur following vaccination purely by chance.”
The MHRA added that it was closely monitoring a small number of miscarriage reports following vaccine exposure in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, but said there was “no pattern” to suggest an increased risk. Guidance published by the Association of Reproductive and Clinical Scientists and the British Fertility Society in February said there was “absolutely no evidence” that COVID-19 vaccines affect the fertility of women or men, and rallied against “blatant misinformation” circulating online (here).
Meanwhile, the blog post said that a stillbirth had also occurred after the expectant mother received the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, adding: “Shockingly this has not been labelled as a fatality.” The MHRA has challenged this claim.
It told Reuters that some events can be reported incorrectly and confirmed that “no actual stillbirths” have been reported to the agency to date. The MHRA then contextualised one report of a baby born prematurely after the mother was given a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, saying premature births occur in around eight in 100 births in the UK. Therefore, some would be expected to occur following vaccination “purely by chance”.
Finally, the blog questioned the change of government advice from not recommending a COVID-19 vaccine to pregnant women to saying the jab should only be considered if the benefits outweigh the risks.
In response, the MHRA said: “Our initial advice for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was that pregnancy should be excluded before vaccination in women of childbearing age and avoided for at least 2 months after the second dose of vaccine. Following new data from pre-clinical studies, this advice no longer applies. This data did not identify any evidence for concern for use of the vaccine in pregnancy.”
The agency clarified that, although current advice does not routinely recommend COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant women due to limited data, the available information does not raise safety concerns. This means individuals at a high risk of consequences from COVID-19 could discuss getting vaccinated with a doctor.
Details of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines’ regulatory approval can be found on the government website here and here .
Missing context. There is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 vaccines increase the risk of miscarriage. Data cited in the blog post has missed crucial context related to the overall number of vaccinations administered in the time frame, along with the number of miscarriages expected to occur among the population.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.