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Why experts are calling on ESPN’s Allison Williams for her COVID-19 vaccine and fertility statement


ESPN reporter Alison Williams shocked fans when she shared that she won’t be covering college football games because of her company’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. (Photo by Matthew Wisinski / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Longtime ESPN reporter Alison Williams shocked fans last week when she shared that she won’t be covering college football games because of her company’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate. Williams, who has been with ESPN since 2011, shared that she is trying to have another child and is concerned about how the vaccine will affect her fertility.

The Walt Disney Company, which owns ESPN, announced In July all US workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning to work.

“While my job is incredibly important to me, my most important role is as a mother,” she wrote. “During our family planning with our doctor as well as a fertility specialist, I have decided not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at this time while my husband and I are trying for a second child.”

Williams said it was a “profoundly difficult decision” and “not something I take lightly.”

“I understand that vaccines are essential in our effort to end this pandemic, although it is not in my best interest to have a vaccine at this time,” she continued. “After much prayer and deliberation, I have decided that I should put my family and personal health first. I will miss being on edge and am grateful for the support of my ESPN family. I hope that I When can I return to the sport and the job I love.”

Comments on Williams’ post were flooded with messages from people who said the COVID-19 vaccine does not affect fertility, including many doctors. An ob-gyn Dr. Jane Gunter, who had this to say: “The vaccine does not affect fertility and literally fertility experts recommend during-work COVID-19 vaccination for infertility for anyone who is without It’s vaccination. It’s safe and life saving.”

“Sorry, your judgment is wrong. Point blank,” wrote Urologist Dr Ashley Winter. “Vaccination has not been shown to have any negative effect on fertility. Please do not spread false information. You are resigning from your job for a non-evidence based reason. Please state this in your statement.”

“Where is the data? There are no good peer-reviewed studies on fertility being negatively affected by vaccines,” tweeted Dr. Nathaniel Walsh, a general surgeon in Wesley Chapel, Florida. “Plus, by choosing not to get vaccinated, you are not doing everything possible to protect your family. Stay safe and healthy.”

Others shared their stories of fertility after vaccination. “If you get COVID during this [you’re] are pregnant and you haven’t been vaccinated, it could cause serious harm to you and your baby,” a person wrote. “Being pregnant puts you at more serious risk. It’s not worth it. My wife had no problems for a few months after she got vaccinated.”

“My wife got vaccinated and she got pregnant two months later. Perfect [healthy] without any problems,” other said. “Many of my friends got vaccinated while pregnant. And they had far better outcomes than people who were unvaccinated and caught the virus.”

But many who responded to these comments said there is no evidence that vaccines will not affect fertility. Experts tell Yahoo Life that this is not true.

Dr Michael Cackovich, maternal-fetal medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, told Yahoo Life that the idea that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility is a “myth.”

“No vaccine has ever been shown to cause infertility in either men or women,” he says.

Where did the idea that the COVID-19 vaccine affect fertility?

There are some possible sources. The idea that the COVID-19 vaccine affects fertility came from a social media post That said the spike protein on SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, was similar to another spike protein called syncytin-1, Cackovic says.

“The syncytin-1 protein is involved in the development and attachment of the placenta during pregnancy,” explains Cackovic. The Post falsely alleged that the vaccine would cause a woman’s body to make antibodies to syncytin-1, affecting her fertility. The truth is that the two spike proteins are completely separate and distinct, and COVID-19 The vaccine will not create antibodies against syncytin-1.”

Not only that, Cackovich says, “there’s really no direct evidence that a problem with syncytin-1 actually causes infertility.”

There have also been reports that some vaccinated women had irregular menstrual cycles after vaccination, Dr. Barry Witt, Medical Director win fertility, tells Yahoo Life. But, he says, “there’s nothing in vaccines that can explain this, and experts suggest that stress is more likely to cause these menstrual irregularities.”

Still, says Witt, “these disruptions are transient and resolve quickly, so they are unlikely to have a significant impact on fertility.”

Major ob-gyn and fertility organizations support vaccines

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention support COVID-19 vaccination for women who are pregnant and trying to conceive. “The organizations’ recommendations in support of vaccination during pregnancy reflect evidence demonstrating the safe use of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy from thousands of reporting individuals over the past several months, as well as related to the current low vaccination rate and increased risk of vaccination during pregnancy.” cases,” said ACOG and ASRM joint statement Released in July.

ASRM also said January statement that “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for women who are considering pregnancy or who are pregnant to reduce the risk to themselves and their pregnancy.”

NS CDC It has a page on its website dedicated to women who are trying to conceive, noting that “vaccination is recommended for those who are trying to become pregnant now or may become pregnant in the future.” Maybe, as well as their partners.”

The CDC notes that there is “no evidence” that the vaccine affects fertility and even recent studies of pregnancy success rates in women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) as evidence. cites. that Study, which was published in June, analyzed data from women who had been vaccinated against COVID-19, had antibodies to a previous COVID-19 infection and no antibodies to a recent infection or vaccine, and found that There was no difference in pregnancy. Success rates among the three groups.

Dr. Jane Frederick, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist HRC Fertility, tells Yahoo Life that getting vaccinated is very important for women trying to conceive. “When you’re pregnant, you’re more likely to get respiratory viruses in general,” she says. “With COVID, it is as if you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes or obesity when you are pregnant. I have seen more and more unvaccinated patients go to ICU with complications of COVID who could have been prevented if we had vaccinated them earlier they became ill.”

Frederick says pregnant women who get COVID-19 are also more likely to have a premature birth. “If you’re trying to help yourself and your health, and you’re hoping to give your baby the best chance of going full term, I recommend getting vaccinated,” she says. .

A COVID-19 infection can also affect a man’s fertility, which is why vaccinations are urged for men who are trying to conceive, Witt says. “Studies have not linked vaccines to problems with erectile performance or sperm count or quality. But COVID-19 can cause problems in these areas,” he says. “Some recent studies have suggested that the SARS-COV-2 virus may be present in testicular tissue and cause inflammation of the testes with a consequent loss in sperm production in 10 to 20 percent of men who become infected. Semen from COVID – 19 patients showed that about 40 percent of them had reduced sperm count and 60 percent had increased white blood cells in semen. There are also studies that show that survivors of COVID-19 suffer from erectile dysfunction Suffering can occur. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can prevent infection and resultant male fertility problems.”

Frederick says he feels it is his “duty” to inform his patients about the importance of getting the vaccine. “I ask them to read literature, I give them brochures and all the information I have,” she says. “I tell them not to get carried away by rumour – go away from science.”

Frederick says he is particularly concerned with the Delta version being widely circulated in the country. “This is a completely different COVID from what we saw back in January,” she says. “It scares me even more. And after that, there will be more types. It’s really better to get vaccinated.” Cacovich agrees. “The best thing a mother can do for her child and family is to protect herself with vaccinations,” he says.

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