And here we go again, another COVID-19 vaccine myth – you shouldn’t have unprotected sex after vaccination. I once thought that the HPV vaccine was the most hated by anti-vaxxers, but I think the COVID-19 vaccines are moving to the top of the list.
Before I get into the details, let’s go for the spoiler alert – there are reasons to not have unprotected sex, but getting the COVID-19 vaccine is not one of them.
Like all anti-vaccine myths, it results from scientific amateurism from people trying to use anything to end vaccinations and spread diseases. It’s so frustrating, but it deserves a debunking.
No unprotected sex with Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine?
So where did this ridiculous myth come from?
Well, it does have that tiny bit of “truth,” that makes it appear that one should not have unprotected sex with the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer. This microscopic kernel of truth can be found in the clinical trial documents that Pfizer must file with the FDA before clinical trials begin.
Of course, these statements were copy-pasted into a variety of memes by the anti-vaccine mob. It was so predictable, but it betrays their lack of understanding of how clinical trials are done.
Usually, these memes claim that “Page 132 of Pfizer vaccine” says to avoid unprotected sex to avoid conception due to “genetic manipulation.” The only “truth” of this nonsense is that it is on “page 132,” and it does mention that the participants in the trial “must agree to use a male condom when engaging in any activity that allows for the passage of ejaculate to another person.”
Before we debunk this laughable myth, it’s important to understand that these kinds of documents are used in all vaccine, drug, and device clinical trials. They lay out all of the inclusion and exclusion criteria, which makes certain that those who are included in the clinical trials do not introduce variables that could make the results hard to interpret.
In this case, Pfizer added a section that stated that men who received their COVID-19 vaccine should not engage in unprotected sex. This statement is NOT in any of the listed cautions or safety instructions for the Pfizer vaccine that recently received an emergency use authorization. This is not a legitimate concern with the vaccine.
I have already demolished the ridiculous myth that the mRNA vaccines cause changes to one’s DNA. That’s not how mRNA works – these molecules tell ribosomes in the cell to produce the antigenic S-protein from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They cannot get into the nucleus of the cell, where DNA resides, and they simply cannot change the DNA.
So why did Pfizer add this statement?
It is fair to ask why Pfizer included such a statement with their clinical trial. I will try to explain.
Basically, this is a boilerplate warning. However, it does not mean that researchers believe that there is a potential of a reproductive risk from these drugs, and this Pfizer vaccine.
This is an extensive recommendation that can be found for nearly every clinical trial of new pharmaceuticals (such as vaccines) that have an unknown reproductive risk. The National Institutes of Health has developed a set of recommendations for clinical trials that include drugs of unknown reproductive risk. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial followed these recommendations.
Specifically, this Pfizer clinical trial document recommended that male participants take measures, such as using a condom, for 28 days after the last vaccine dose. Pfizer states that this time period “corresponds to the time needed to eliminate reproductive safety risk” of the vaccine.
And in case you’re wondering, the same “page 132” of the Pfizer COVID-19 clinical trial document made the same unprotected sex recommendations for women.
And this language in a clinical trial document does not serve as evidence that the vaccine causes infertility or harms pregnant women or the developing fetus. These claims have been debunked because there’s no science that supports this belief. This document also does not support the anti-vax claims.
The CDC currently recommends that pregnant women in high-risk groups, such as healthcare workers, can receive the vaccine safely. In fact, as I have written recently, the CDC stated that:
…experts believe that mRNA vaccines are unlikely to pose a risk to the pregnant person or the fetus. However, the potential risks of mRNA vaccines to the pregnant person and the fetus are unknown because these vaccines have not been studied in pregnant people.
What we have here is a desperate and laughable attempt by the anti-vaccine crowd to discredit and disparage the new COVID-19 vaccines by claiming something nefarious because of the recommendation against unprotected sex during the clinical trials. There are many good reasons for protected sex, but it has nothing at all to do with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
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