Claim: COVID-19 vaccines cause stillbirths
Source: Viral WhatsApp video
Researched by Gifty Tracy Aminu
Do COVID-19 vaccines cause stillbirths?
That is the claim being made in a video circulating on the popular messaging platform, WhatsApp which shows a woman, identified as Dr Daniel Nagase, a family doctor, who alleges that COVID-19 vaccines are causing stillbirths in fully vaccinated pregnant women.
The video, tagged as “forwarded many times” is captioned “stillbirths are exploding across Canada in fully vaccinated mothers,” and comes with the logo of Bright Light News displayed at the bottom left-hand corner.
The 1 minute and 20 seconds long video also shows a screenshot of an article published on November 16, 2021, with the headline “13 stillborn deaths in 24 hours at Lions Gate Hospital Vancouver British Columbia.”
A baby who dies after 28 weeks of pregnancy, but before or during birth, is classified as a stillbirth and there are nearly 2 million stillbirths every year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
This fact-check report will seek to verify:
- Whether COVID-19 vaccines cause stillbirths.
- Whether Lions Gate Hospital Vancouver has recorded cases of stillbirths in vaccinated pregnant women.
The Programme Manager for the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) at the Ghana Health Service, Dr Kwame Amponsa-Achiano, said “from all the data we have it doesn’t show any risk when it comes to stillbirth,” when contacted by GhanaFact.
The Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ministry of Health (MoH), at a press briefing on January 19, 2022, confirmed that pregnant women could now take the vaccine – after a similar decision involving children was taken in November 2021 – to help in efforts to defeat the virus.
Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the claim said “so far, many pregnant women have gotten a COVID-19 vaccine safely. The first published data shows that pregnancy outcomes among women who were vaccinated during pregnancy match outcomes of the general population,” when contacted by GhanaFact.
The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization recommends that pregnant women should get vaccinated, especially women who are older or have another condition that lowers their immunity.
“COVID-19 infection during pregnancy can be dangerous for both mom and baby. It is better to get vaccinated than getting COVID-19 during pregnancy,” the WHO Africa Infodemic Response Alliance(AIRA) emphasized.
Vancouver Coastal Health debunk
“Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), is aware of rumours and disinformation spreading on social media regarding stillbirths at Lions Gate Hospital (LGH) as a result of mothers having been vaccinated against COVID-19. There is no truth to this claim and the individuals spreading this false information have no affiliation to either LGH or VCH. There has been no notable change to the incidence of stillbirths in the VCH region throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Vancouver Coastal Health said in a tweet.
Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is aware of rumours and disinformation spreading on social media regarding stillbirths at Lions Gate Hospital (LGH) as a result of mothers having been vaccinated against COVID-19.
— Vancouver Coastal Health (@VCHhealthcare) November 24, 2021
The hospital also expressed worry about the impact the claim would have on the country’s vaccination exercise.
“This type of disinformation adds unnecessary stress to expecting parents who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, on health-care staff who must reassure their patients, and on the health-care system, as resources are stretched further during the ongoing pandemic response.”
Highlighting the safety of COVID-19 vaccines, Vancouver Coastal Health said COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended for both mother and fetus.
Therefore, the claim is rated FALSE.