Vancouver’s health authority recently took the time to quash wild rumours and conspiracy theories regarding alleged stillbirths caused by vaccination against the coronavirus (COVID-19).
As the conspiracy theory goes, vaccination against COVID-19 causes stillbirths when administered to pregnant women. The theory appears to have originated from three doulas reporting that 13 stillborn babies had died in the span of 24 hours at Lions Gate Hospital. (A doula is a trained companion to women giving birth but not a health care professional.) The theory was perpetrated at a small anti-vaccine rally held outside the North Vancouver RCMP detachment on Remembrance Day 2021 and was spread by extreme right-wing media.
Speakers at the rally included Vancouver-based Dr. Daniel Nagase who claims to have administered Ivermectin to patients in Alberta sick with COVID-19. Another was retired family doctor Mel Bruchet, who calls COVID-19 a "hoax" in the video. According to the website of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., Bruchet has resigned his medical licence.
Vancouver Coastal Health’s response
On Tuesday, Nov. 23, Vancouver Coastal Health used Twitter - and science - to totally dismantle the rumours.
“There is no truth to this claim and the individuals spreading this false information have no affiliation to either LGH or VCH,” the health authority stated. “There has been no notable change to the incidence of stillbirths in the VCH region throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This type of disinformation adds unnecessary stress to expecting parents who have received a COVID-19 vaccine, on health-care staff who must reassure their patients, and on the health-care system, as resources are stretched further during the ongoing pandemic response.”
VCH went on to state that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and recommended for both mother and fetus.
"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Nov. 19 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that implementing evidence-based COVID-19 prevention strategies including vaccination, is critical to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on stillbirths," VCH wrote.
VCH pointed to other recent studies confirming the same, including one published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine which found no evidence of an increased risk for early pregnancy loss after COVID-19 vaccination.