Your Covid-19 questions answered

Does the vaccine have an effect on growth or puberty?

25 October 2021 - 07:03
The vaccination of children between 12 and 17 years began on Wednesday last week.
The vaccination of children between 12 and 17 years began on Wednesday last week.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE/ SOWETAN

As children between the ages of 12 and 17 years join the queue to get the Covid-19 vaccine, questions have been raised about its effects on growth and puberty.

The vaccination of children began on Wednesday last week, with children receiving one dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Health department spokesperson Foster Mohale told TimesLIVE more than 13,000 children have received a dose of the vaccine and 6,900 had registered to get vaccinated via the electronic vaccination data system (EVDS) system by Thursday.

General medical practitioner Dr Sheri Fanaroff said there is no biological reason nor proof the vaccine can interfere with the progression of puberty or growth.

“There is also no biological mechanism whereby hormones associated with puberty can affect immune responses to Covid-19 vaccines,” she said.

She said for the vaccine to interfere with development, it would need access to the child’s DNA.

“The Pfizer vaccine does not contain live coronavirus. It is composed of mRNA nucleic acids found naturally in our bodies) that does not enter the nucleus of our cells where DNA is kept. The mRNA teaches the body to make protective antibodies and then disintegrates very quickly,” she explained.

She noted the vaccines can cause an irregular menstrual cycle, and slightly heavier periods in some females, but said this is thought to be an immune response and should only last for a month or two.

Scientific evidence has shown there is no reason to suspect Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility and the ability to conceive, despite such rumours being shared online.

“There is no plausible reason — no medical or scientific mechanism — for this vaccine to interact with a woman’s reproductive organs or have any interaction with an egg that has been released or fertilised,” said MU Health Care family doctor Laura Morris.

Albert Hsu, reproductive endocrinologist at MU Health Care, said there are no credible scientific theories for how the vaccine may cause infertility.

“Statements linking Covid-19 vaccines to female infertility are speculative at best,” he said.


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