COVID-19, flu, smoking damage reproduction, but not vaccines, Ohio health officials say

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Doctors focused their attention on dispelling myths about fertility and the COVID-19 vaccine during a news conference on Monday.

Ohio Department of Health’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff hosted the conference via Zoom and was joined by Dr. Lisa Egbert, an OBGYN from Paragon Women’s Care in Dayton, and Dr. Neel Parekh, a urologist from the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Vanderhoff began explaining three points about the vaccines:

  • They don’t have live virus and cannot give you COVID-19
  • COVID-19 vaccine does not contain other substances
  • The vaccine cannot change your DNA

Moreover, he said, there is a misunderstanding of M-RNA. There is no interference in your DNA. Dr. Parekh explained more about that.

“It’s important to know that messenger RNA is different than DNA, both physically and chemically. MRNA’s role is to create a protein, and so in this case the protein for COVID, and it is not a live virus. The body quickly destroys the M-RNA strand and develops and immunity to it,” Parekh said. “What we do know is that viruses like COVID or the flu, smoking: those in fact can affect the DNA fragmentation of the sperm, which can impair fertility, but not the vaccine.”

Dr. Egbert focused on women’s reproductive health as to whether the vaccine can hurt a pregnancy or prevent one in the future.

“Those beliefs are unfounded and there’s not scientific evidence nor is there a scientific pathway for there to be any ill effects toward fertility at the time of vaccination or future fertility,” Egbert said. “What it will do is protect you from COVID during pregnancy. There is significant increase morbidity to both mom and baby if you have COVID during your pregnancy.”

As for a woman’s monthly cycle, Dr. Egbert pointed to that being mostly effected by worry.

“Women have variations I menstrual cycles for various reasons including stress,” Egbert said. “Please try to relax and don’t worry about things, you can effect your own cycle just by thinking about it.”

Dr. Vanderhoff concluded by explaining a little about the emergency approval process.

“Here in America, we are blessed to have the Cadillac of vaccines,” said Dr. Vanderhoff. “The emergency use process was really just a model that allowed a wider distribution of the standard FDA quote approval. It’s really regulatory structure question, not an issue of safety or going through all of the necessary safety steps.”

Dr. Parekh addressed the CDC’s current trial looking at the effect on sperm.

“Right now, the CDC is performing a clinical trial looking at the effect of the vaccine on two sperm parameters: the concentration and the motility,” said Dr. Parekh. “We don’t have the results of that study yet and should have them by the end of the month.”

Both Dr. Parekh and Egbert said they had no preference for their patients to get any particular vaccine.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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