Grays Harbor health officials try to counter vaccine myths

Fears that the COVID-19 shot causes infertility are running rampant, they say.

By Dan Hammock / The Daily World

Public health officials in Grays Harbor County say fears about the COVID-19 vaccine’s effects on reproductive health are keeping some people from getting the vaccine.

“We are seeing a pattern of misinformation concerning men and women of reproductive health ages and COVID vaccinations,” said Maranatha Hay, Grays Harbor County Public Health information officer.

On May 17, a public health nurse began asking all Family Planning clients who come into the clinic if they would like a COVID vaccination, following guidance from the Washington Department of Health to offer individuals a COVID vaccine during their visit in order to ensure accessibility for those unvaccinated.

“Out of the 36 women of reproductive health age, two women indicated they were fully vaccinated and were encouraged to share their experience with family and friends who were unvaccinated,” Hay said. “However, one woman related that her friends would not be getting the vaccine because they heard it causes infertility.”

Most of the remaining responses for not getting vaccinated had the same reasoning: they heard it causes infertility, they were afraid they would be unable to conceive, and that the vaccine had not been around long enough to trust that it would not impede ability to conceive when they desired to do so.

Several clients also indicated being scared of side effects.

“At least 80% indicated the above concerns as a reason to decline vaccination,” Hay said. “This tells me that young women, especially women who have not had children yet in Grays Harbor County, are very concerned about this,” Hay said.

She said what’s happening here in the county is also happening across the nation.

“This is misinformation that is widespread and catching fire throughout the country. There is no evidence at this time suggesting that the vaccines cause infertility, and there isn’t any reason to suspect that the vaccines could cause infertility.”

Women who are pregnant should also get the vaccine, Hay said, for their own health as well as the health of the child.

“We have also heard concerns that if you are pregnant you should not/are unable to receive the vaccine. This is not true,” she said.

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