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Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone June 1, 2023

The European Union has not warned pregnant women to avoid COVID-19 vaccines

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  • The European Union has not warned pregnant women to avoid COVID-19 vaccines because of fertility and miscarriage risks.

  • The European Medicines Agency, which regulates drug safety in the EU, said on its website that studies have shown the vaccines do not increase risks of pregnancy complications, such as miscarriages.

  • An agency task force said in October 2022 that there’s no evidence that heavy menstrual bleeding, a possible side effect of the vaccines, have any effect on reproduction and fertility.

Growing evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe for women to take before and during pregnancy. But some social media users are incorrectly warning that health agencies say pregnant women should not get them.

"BREAKING: The European Union is now warning pregnant women not to get the COVID-19 vaccine due to the possibility of infertility and miscarriage," read the text of a tweet shared in a screenshot on a May 31 Instagram post.

The Instagram post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The original tweet shared in the Instagram post had more than 1.8 million Twitter views as of June 1. But there is no evidence that the EU has warned pregnant women against taking the vaccines.

We checked the website and social feeds of the European Medicines Agency, which evaluates, supervises and monitors the safety of medicines in the EU, and could find nothing warning pregnant women against taking the COVID-19 vaccines. We also found no news articles about it in searches of Google and the Nexis database.

A page on the agency’s website about the COVID-19 vaccines encouraged the opposite, saying pregnant women should get vaccinated, as the benefits outweigh any risks of adverse events. Here’s some of what it had to say about the COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy:

  • "Several studies have shown that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines do not cause complications of pregnancy in expectant mothers or their babies."

  • "Studies have not shown any signs that these COVID-19 vaccines increase the risk of complications of pregnancy, miscarriage, premature birth or harm to the unborn baby.

It also linked to another page with its latest safety data on the vaccines during pregnancy, dated Jan. 18, 2022. 

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That page said an agency task force reviewed several studies involving 65,000 pregnancies at different stages. "The review did not find any sign of an increased risk of pregnancy complications, miscarriages, preterm births or adverse effects in the unborn babies following mRNA COVID-19 vaccination," it said. 

We looked closely at the original tweet, which did not provide any link to an EU warning and a threaded tweet below it, which shared a screenshot from a European Medicines Agency webpage. The tweet characterized the screenshot as showing "an admission that COVID-19 vaccinations can have an adverse effect on the fertility of women."

The screenshot correctly shows that the agency’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee in October 2022 recommended that heavy menstrual bleeding be added to the product information of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines as a side effect of "unknown frequency."

But the screenshot leaves out key context from the same page that reiterates the vaccines’safety for pregnant women and says the menstrual side effects have no negative consequences for reproduction and fertility.

It reads:

  • "There is no evidence to suggest the menstrual disorders experienced by some people have any impact on reproduction and fertility. Available data provides reassurance about the use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines before and during pregnancy. A review carried out by EMA’s Emergency Task Force showed that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines do not cause pregnancy complications for expectant mothers and their babies, and they are as effective at reducing the risk of (hospitalization) and deaths in pregnant people as they are in non-pregnant people."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also said there are no increased safety risks for pregnant women or their babies from the vaccines.

Our ruling

An Instagram post claimed that the EU issued a warning to pregnant women to avoid taking the COVID-19 vaccines because of the risk of infertility and miscarriage.

No such warning was issued, and the European Medicines Agency, which regulates the safety of medicines in the EU, including vaccines, has repeatedly said the vaccines are safe for pregnant women and that there is no risk to fertility or pregnancies.

The claim is False.

Our Sources

Instagram post, May 31, 2023 (live, archived)

Twitter thread, May 31, 2023 (live, archived)

European Medicines Agency, "COVID-19 vaccines: key facts ," accessed June 1, 2023

European Medicines Agency, "Meeting highlights from the Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) 24 - 27 October 2022  (see: Comirnaty and Spikevax: heavy menstrual bleeding added as a side effect)," Oct. 28, 2022

European Medicines Agency, "COVID-19: latest safety data provide reassurance about use of mRNA vaccines during pregnancy," Jan. 18, 2022

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding," accessed June 1, 2023

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The European Union has not warned pregnant women to avoid COVID-19 vaccines

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