National Institutes of Health to Study Impact of COVID-19 Vaccine on Menstruation

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Although it is officially considered to be misinformation to assert that the COVID-19 vaccine might cause adverse effects in pregnant women or women of childbearing age, the National Institutes of Health is now funding research into a possible connection between the vaccine and disruptions in the female reproductive system.

The agency has awarded $1.67 million to five institutions to research the potential connection between changes in women’s menstrual cycles and the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Some women have reported experiencing irregular or missing menstrual periods, bleeding that is heavier than usual, and other menstrual changes after receiving COVID-19 vaccines,” the NIH wrote in a news release.

“The new awards support research to determine whether such changes may be linked to COVID-19 vaccination itself and how long the changes last,” it continued. “Researchers also will seek to clarify the mechanisms underlying potential vaccine-related menstrual changes.”

The grants, which are funded by the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, have been awarded to researchers at Boston University, Harvard Medical School, Johns Hopkins, Michigan State University, and Oregon Health and Science University.

“These rigorous scientific studies will improve our understanding of the potential effects of COVID-19 vaccines on menstruation, giving people who menstruate more information about what to expect after vaccination and potentially reducing vaccine hesitancy,” said Diana W. Bianchi, director of the NICHFD.

The research will build on existing studies as well as leverage data from menstrual tracking apps. One of the projects will specifically examine adolescents.

“Researchers will assess the prevalence and severity of post-vaccination changes to menstrual characteristics including flow, cycle length, pain and other symptoms,” the news release stated. “These analyses will account for other factors that can affect menstruation—such as stress, medications and exercise—to determine whether the changes are attributable to vaccination.”

In June, the NIH began research into the antibody responses in pregnant women who are vaccinated and their babies as well as “assess vaccine safety and evaluate the transfer of vaccine-induced antibodies to infants across the placenta and through breast milk.”

Federal health agencies maintain that there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine can impact fertility and that it is safe for everyone, including pregnant and menstruating women, over the age of 12. The NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) both strongly recommend that pregnant women get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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