In the past year, as fears around the coronavirus pandemic grew, so did misinformation. The internet and other media platforms were flooded with myths and false information, with a recent COVID-19 myth circulating on social media platforms that there is a link between vaccines and erectile dysfunction.
Despite this being one of the more recently cited reasons for vaccine hesitancy – that COVID-19 vaccines could affect male fertility – the truth is there is no evidence to this effect. Instead, research has shown that the virus that causes COVID-19 poses a risk for both disorders.
Adding to the misinformation are utterances by celebrities, such as a recent tweet posted by superstar rapper Nicki Minaj about COVID-19 vaccines that caused a stir across the globe. The rapper made claims about the side effects of the vaccine, saying that when a friend of her cousin got the jab, his testicles swelled up and he became impotent.
My cousin in Trinidad won’t get the vaccine cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it & make sure you’re comfortable with ur decision, not bullied
— Nicki Minaj (@NICKIMINAJ) September 13, 2021
Taking all claims seriously
Quick to debunk this COVID-19 myth was Trinidad’s health minister, Terrence Deyalsingh, who said that officials “take all claims seriously”.
“As we stand now, there is absolutely no reported side effect or adverse event of testicular swelling in Trinidad … and none that we know of anywhere in the world,” he said during a press conference.
While researchers have conducted little research on how the virus and vaccines affect the male reproductive system, recent investigations by physicians and researchers at the University of Miami uncover a clear links between COVID-19 infection and men’s sexual health.
Ranjith Ramasamy, the Director of the Reproductive Urology Program at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, and his team analysed the autopsy tissues of the testicles of six men who died of COVID-19 infections. The study found that the COVID-19 virus appeared in the tissues of one of the men and a decreased numbers of sperm appeared in three. Another patient, who beat COVID-19, had a testis biopsy about three months after his COVID-19 infection cleared up. The biopsy showed the coronavirus was still in his testicles.
‘Vaccines are safe’
According to Ramasamy, his team discovered that COVID-19 affects the penis. The team analysed the penile tissue from two men receiving penile implants, which showed the virus was present seven to nine months after their COVID-19 diagnosis. One of the men had mild COVID-19 symptoms, while the other had been hospitalised, but both men developed serve erectile dysfunction due to the infection reducing blood supply to the penis. This suggests that even with minor COVID-19 cases, the virus can cause severe erectile dysfunction after recovery.
The team conducted additional research that showed that the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines appear safe for the male reproductive system. The team collected semen samples of 45 men between 18 years old and older, before receiving either the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine and again more than 70 days after receiving their second dose.
“This, then, is another reason to get the vaccinations – to preserve male fertility and sexual function,” said Ramasamy.
According to the Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for everyone 12 years of age and older, including people who are trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future, as well as their partners.
There is no evidence that shows that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men. – Health-e News