More than 30,000 reports of menstrual irregularities and vaginal bleeding had been made, as of Sept. 2, to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) Yellow Card Scheme — the UK system for collecting and monitoring adverse reactions following COVID vaccines.
Reports of adverse reactions include heavier-than-usual periods, delayed periods and unexpected vaginal bleeding. Most women who reported a change to their period after vaccination found it returned to normal the following cycle, according to the author of the editorial, Dr. Victoria Male, a reproductive specialist at Imperial College in London.
To date, none of the COVID vaccine manufacturers list any issues pertinent to menstrual health as a side effect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common side effects of COVID vaccines include: pain at the site of vaccination, tiredness, fatigue and fever.
Male called for further investigation into potential effects of COVID vaccines on menstrual health — but said the problem lies with the body’s immune response, not the vaccine.
According to the most recent data from the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) — the primary government-funded system for reporting adverse vaccine reactions in the U.S. — between Dec. 14, 2020 and Sept. 10, 2021, there have been 8,793 total reports of menstrual disorders after vaccination with a COVID vaccine.
In an interview with Medical News Today, Dr. Sarah Gray — a general practitioner who for 15 years who ran a specialist women’s health clinic for the UK’s National Health Service — said:
“The control of menstrual bleeding is complex with potential effects from the brain, ovaries and uterus itself. It is plausible that the effects of [SARS-CoV-2] infection or vaccination on the immune system could affect this control pathway, and any research would be greatly valued.”
Dr. Kathryn Clancy, assistant professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said she is involved in similar research into acute immune activation and menstrual repair mechanisms.
“I am dismayed that the research design of [COVID] vaccine trials makes it impossible at this time to actually explore this relationship, and hope drug and vaccine manufacturers in the future take these considerations into account,” Clancy said.
Palevsky — who is part of an independent research group collecting data from unvaccinated women who experienced menstrual changes after being around others who recently received COVID vaccines — said a necessary study would examine the contents of the injection, and assess the chemical natures of these contents and their effects on human physiology and women’s reproductive systems.
Palevsky said he believes the spike protein could play a role in the menstrual irregularities women are reporting, along with “other factors we may not know because no one is doing the appropriate research.”