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New research suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine may cause women to have an irregular menstrual cycle.
A recent study published by Science Advances found that 42 percent of women bled more heavily after vaccination. While 44 percent of women reported no change, 14 percent said they experienced a lighter period.
Some vaccine recipients, who were considered nonmenstruating, like individuals post-menopause, experienced unexpected bleeding following their COVID shot.
The survey was conducted on over 39,000 people between the ages of 18 to 80 years old. Many respondents were fully vaccinated with either Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson or Novavax.
While the authors behind the study said their aim was simply to provide information for future studies and not to establish cause and effect, Candace Tingen, a program director with the gynecologic health at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, argued that it may be time to investigate more behind the hidden side effect.
“Before the vaccinations came out, I would say our knowledge on the subject of the connection between immunization and menstrual changes, in general, was nil,” Tingen told NBC News, noting how women were never asked about changes to their cycles during previous COVID-19 trials.
“It was really this lack of information that I think caused confusion, fear and perhaps vaccine hesitancy,” she added.
Katherine M.N. Lee, a co-author connected to the study, claimed that overall, menstruation is understudied when it’s not relevant to pregnancy.
“It gets ignored because of the structure of science. There are very few senior people in science and medicine who are not white men. It’s just not something they are thinking about as part of their lived experience,” said Lee.
BA. 5 Variant is spiking across the United States
The news comes as COVID-19 appears to be spiking across the United States again due to the rising BA. 5 Variant. Health officials are encouraging Americans to boost up against the new variant, which now accounts for nearly 65 percent of coronavirus strains across the U.S.
The unique variant, which shares similarities to its close cousin BA.4, contains three genetic mutations found in its spike protein that can evade immunity provided by vaccines. It can also reinfect those who have previously fallen ill with COVID. While hospitalizations remain relatively low compared to when COVID was at its peak, patients needing intensive care have risen by 23 percent over the past two weeks, according to NewsOne. The 7-day moving average for daily cases has also skyrocketed, up to 123, 365 this week alone.
During a briefing on Tuesday, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, urged immuno-comprised Americans 50 and older to get boosted. Cases appear to be rising among the demographic.
“If you’ve not gotten a shot in 2022, first of all, getting one now protects you for the rest of the summer, into the fall. Second, it does not preclude you from being able to get a bivalent vaccine in the fall,” he added.