There’s been a lot of genuine misinformation and confusion – from both sides of the argument – about the extent of safety concerns of the covid vaccine in pregnancy.
While anybody with any level of capacity for rational thought knows by now that there is, and never was, any need for women to get vaccinated before or during pregnancy, many still assume that the vaccine likely does no harm to them.
So Professor Norman Fenton has fact-checked the official narrative that “covid vaccines are safe for pregnant women.”
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This important article not only clears up a lot of the misinformation and confusion around covid vaccination and pregnancy but also shows that there was enough information from Pfizer in June 2021 for regulators to know it should have stopped allowing the vaccine to be given to pregnant women then:
Pfizer and the regulators had data by June 2021 showing a serious safety signal for miscarriage. They not only ignored it but suppressed access to the documents.
There is an undeniable safety signal for around a doubling of miscarriage rates following administration of mRNA vaccines in pregnancy. The regulators had this information at the time they approved the drugs.
… there are three pieces of information that have come to my attention this week and I need to briefly go over them to show you that the mRNA gene therapy vaccines have had a huge pregnancy safety signal since the beginning of the rollout that should have stopped it in its tracks, but it didn’t.The miscarriage of medicine, Dr. Ah Kahn Syed, 28 February 2023
Those who continue to push hard for vaccinating pregnant women claim that, irrespective of any safety signals that might have been present in the Pfizer trial data, there have been multiple large-scale observational studies since that demonstrate safety. However, these studies are generally flawed in one way or another. For example, in March 2022 we identified a fundamental problem with the UKHSA data that was suggesting no safety concern – in this a bias was introduced from the fact that women vaccinated prior to pregnancy were included in “no doses in pregnancy.” Here is a short video we produced at the time explaining the bias:
But there is an even more fundamental bias that confounds all the published observational studies claiming the vaccine is safe, or in some cases even beneficial, in pregnancy. The problem is that the vaccinated women in those studies primarily had their vaccines in the later stages of pregnancy when they had already passed the most dangerous (first trimester) period for miscarriages. In other words, these studies are subject to survivor bias. A very simple graphical explanation of this bias is demonstrated here:
THIS video by Retsef Levi provides a very thorough explanation of the problem explaining why these so-called reassuring studies are anything but.
And never forget the curious case of the spike in neonatal deaths in Scotland in 2021-22. The “experts” ruled out any possible link to the vaccination programme …but did so “without checking” the vaccination status of the mothers who lost their babies:
Public health experts ruled out any link between spikes in neonatal deaths and the Covid vaccine without checking whether any of the infants’ mothers had received the jag during pregnancy.Covid Scotland: Vaccines ruled out in neonatal deaths spike, The Herald Scotland, 9 October 2022
Judging by the Public Health Scotland (“PHS”) statement it seems more likely they did check – it would be incomprehensible if they did not – and refused to reveal that information as it “had the potential to be used to harm vaccine confidence at this critical time”:
In a statement, PHS added that there was also a risk that “identifying the vaccination status of the mothers, even at aggregate level, would result in harm to those individuals and others close to them, through actual or perceived judgement of the effects of their personal vaccination decision.”
Furthermore “the outcomes of such analysis, whilst being uninformative for public health decision making, had the potential to be used to harm vaccine confidence at this critical time.”
The decision came to light after the Herald on Sunday obtained internal emails and reports under freedom of information tracking the PHS response, with one email dated November 24, 2021, stating: “We do not have any plans to examine maternal vaccination status, as there is no public health reason to do so.”Covid Scotland: Vaccines ruled out in neonatal deaths spike, The Herald Scotland, 9 October 2022
Verdict: The covid vaccines were approved without any safety data on pregnant women and as soon as such data were available to Pfizer, they knew it was not safe. The many observational studies claiming safety simply reveal the embarrassing incompetence – and/or conflict of interests – of their authors.
About the Author
Norman Fenton retired as Full Professor in December 2022 and is now Professor Emeritus of Risk at Queen Mary University of London and a Director of Agena, a company that specialises in artificial intelligence and Bayesian probabilistic reasoning. He has published 7 books and over 400 peer-reviewed articles. His work covers multiple domains including especially law and forensics, and health. He has been an expert witness in major criminal and civil cases. Since 2020 he has been active in analysing data related to Covid risk.
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