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• There was not a surge of stillbirths at Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver among women who had been vaccinated for COVID-19.
• Trials, studies and safety data have shown that COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy.
• A COVID-19 diagnosis, rather than the vaccine for the virus, is associated with an increased risk of stillbirth.
A viral article, headlined, "Sudden Surge in Stillbirths and Menstrual Changes," says that a Nov. 11 rally outside Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver was "to call attention to an unthinkable tragedy: 13 babies were reportedly stillborn at the hospital in a period of 24 hours. All of their mothers had received a COVID-19 injection."
The article, which appeared on a website called Fox 26 News Henry, was shared in a Facebook post and was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
There was not a surge of stillbirths at Lions Gate Hospital. The company that operates the facility, Vancouver Coastal Health, said in a tweet that the information is false and "there has been no notable change to the incidence of stillbirths in the VCH region throughout the COVID-19 pandemic."
In fact, the seven hospitals operated by Vancouver Coastal Health reported only four stillbirths between April and August 2021, according to Global News.
Trials, studies and safety data have shown that COVID-19 vaccines are safe during pregnancy. The COVID-19 virus itself, rather than vaccines to protect against it, poses a risk to pregnant women.
Pregnant women have a higher risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19, and "a COVID-19 diagnosis documented during the delivery hospitalization was associated with an increased risk for stillbirth in the United States," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
According to CBC News and Global News, the rumors fueling these claims can be traced to video clips from an Nov. 11 anti-vaccination rally. The video clips feature two doctors, Daniel Nagase and Mel Bruchet, who are also named in the viral article as having "started an official investigation" into the supposed stillbirths. Nagase says in the video that Bruchet said a number of doulas told him there had been 13 stillbirths in a 24-hour period at Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver.
Bruchet has referred to COVID-19 as a hoax and, according to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, has resigned his medical license. Nagase, a licensed family physician, said he was to have been fired from an Alberta hospital for using ivermectin, an anti-parasitic drug, to treat patients with COVID-19, CBC News reported.
Vancouver Coastal Health said in its tweet, "there is no truth to this claim and the individuals spreading this false information have no affiliation to either LGH or VCH."
It’s unclear who publishes Fox 26 News Henry, the site where the viral article appeared. Its contact information appears to be fabricated, with an address of "12345 North Main Street,
New York, NY 555555." All articles on the site include the same byline but appear to be sourced from other sites.
The viral article includes a "source link" at the end, to Mercola.com. That site is operated by Joseph Mercola, whom the New York Times called "the most influential spreader of coronavirus misinformation online." Mercola.com appears to have published the same story about Lions Gate Hospital, though the viral article does not link directly to it.
Other sites known for spreading misinformation, such as Gateway Pundit, also were sharing the false story about Lions Gate Hospital.
An article says at Lions Gate Hospital in Vancouver, "13 babies were reportedly stillborn at the hospital in a period of 24 hours. All of their mothers had received a COVID-19 injection."
There was not a surge of stillbirths at Lions Gate Hospital. Vancouver Coastal Health, which operates Lions Gate and six other hospitals, said the information is false. The company saw only four stillbirths reported among its seven facilities between April and August 2021.
We rate this claim False.
CBC News, "False claims of stillbirths among vaccinated mothers at B.C. hospital slammed as harmful disinformation," Nov. 24, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Risk for Stillbirth Among Women With and Without COVID-19 at Delivery Hospitalization — United States, March 2020–September 2021," Nov. 26, 2021
Fox26, "Sudden Surge in Stillbirths and Menstrual Changes," Nov. 30, 2021
Gateway Pundit, "Doctor Warns Stillbirths Are Rampant Among Fully Vaccinated Mothers, Launches Investigation," Dec. 11, 2021
Global News, "Fact check: COVID-19 vaccines are not causing a rise in stillbirths in Canada," Nov. 25, 2021
Mercola.com, "Sudden Surge in Stillbirths and Menstrual Changes," accessed Dec. 13. 2021
New York Times, "The Most Influential Spreader of Coronavirus Misinformation Online," July 24, 2021
PolitiFact, "Claim about COVID-19 vaccines and miscarriages based on flawed reading of study," Aug. 24, 2021
PolitiFact, "COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy: Why scientists and doctors say it's safe," Aug. 16, 2021
PolitiFact, "Social media post misrepresents preliminary data on miscarriages and COVID-19 vaccines," July 9, 2021
Twitter post, Nov. 24, 2021
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