A woman gets inoculated with a dose of Covishield vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus at the BKC Jumbo vaccination centre in Mumbai on May 2, 2021, on the second day of India's vaccination drive to all adults. (Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP)

False posts claim a woman's menstrual cycle affects efficacy of Covid-19 vaccination

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Facebook posts circulating online in India claim women should avoid receiving the Covid-19 vaccine on specific dates during their menstrual cycle. The claim is false, health experts said. Vaccine manufacturers in India have not warned that a woman's menstrual cycle affects the efficacy or safety of Covid-19 vaccines.

The claim was published here on Facebook on April 24, 2021.

The post features an image with text that reads: “A Reminder for all Women”.

“Vaccination is starting from May 1st for above 18, For Girls, it’s very important to check periods and take vaccination (sic).

“Don’t take the vaccine before and after 5 days of your periods because immunity will be very less during periods. Dosage of vaccine first decreases immunity later it builds immunity so, there is a high risk of attack for one who vaccinated during periods (sic). 

“Share With Your Sister/Friend/Family/Girlfriend. Don’t Feel Shame to share!!!”

The message, which was also shared here and here, surfaced online as India expanded its vaccination drive to all adults from May 1, 2021, despite shortages of shots in some states.

The claim is false.

The World Health Organization's Southeast Asia office told AFP: "This claim is incorrect. There is no scientific basis to that statement".

India’s public information department also debunked the claim here on Twitter on April 24, 2021.

“#Fake post circulating on social media claims that women should not take #COVID19Vaccine 5 days before and after their menstrual cycle. Don't fall for rumours!” the tweet reads.

Doctors in India also said the claim has no scientific basis.

“A lot of patients messaging me asking if it’s safe/ effective to take the vaccine during their period. Some silly WhatsApp rumour has spooked everyone. Your period has no effect on the vaccine efficacy,” tweeted Dr Munjaal Kapadia, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Namaha Specialised Healthcare Hospital in Mumbai.

“Myth: COVID Vaccine will cause female/male infertility or don’t take it around periods or other reproductive fears… Fact: It’s Nonsense. There is no scientific data to suggest this,” posted Dr Faheem Younus, chief of infectious disease at the University of Maryland Medical System.

India has two vaccines approved by the government, Covaxin and Covishield. Neither vaccine manufacturer warns a woman's menstrual cycle will affect a vaccine's efficacy.