Ina notorious case of fake news reported in Nature News, Adams misinterpreted aCDC-funded study with allegations that it confirmed a link between flu vaccineand spontaneous abortion (SAB). According to the author, women who hadmiscarriages between 2010 and 2012 were more likely to have been injected withthe anti-flu vaccine for protection against swine flu (1). In addition to thefalse reporting of the scientific facts, Adams claimed that the CDC was afraudulent pro-vaccine group, perhaps in an attempt to augment his argumentsagainst the vaccine.Firstly,the article spreading the false information relies on non-scientificinterpretations of the phenomena under discussion. That is, the author gives abiased opinion about the issue by quoting evidence from non-scientificmaterials that also have questionable authorship.
In one of the authentic,published scientific studies on this phenomenon, Donahue et al. investigatedthe potential association between flu vaccine administered between 2010 and2012 and SAB (2). The study is important because Donahue et al. collected thedata within the same season as alleged in the false article. The authors usedan experimental case-controlled study methodology in which the cases had SABwhile the controls had live births or stillbirths within this period. Theydefined exposure as vaccination with an inactivated form of the vaccine for upto 28 days before the SAB.
Theresearchers found an association between SAB and flu vaccination in the first28 days, but significant association existed only in women who received thevaccine the previous season (2). Admittedly,the study has several limitations, which could have led to biasedinterpretations. One of the limitations of the study was the usage of smallsamples of women who received the vaccines in previous years, a potentialsource of biased results.
Moreover, the focus of the study was not theestimation of the risk of SAB after flu vaccination; rather, it involvedestimating the odds ratio of vaccination among women who miscarried compared tothose who did not miscarry (2). In conclusion, the authors could not find acausal relationship between repeated flu vaccinations and SAB. Essentially, these findings demonstrate thescientific facts regarding the association between SAB and flu vaccines. Thefindings are congruent with earlier studies, which did not find an associationbetween the vaccine and adverse fetal outcomes or pregnancy complications (3)or an increased risk of pre-term or small for gestational age (4), which canpredict miscarriage. These findings are contrary to the opinions promoted byAdams and the Nature News about the effect of vaccines on miscarriages.Overall,while flu vaccines can indeed raise safety concerns, one can only consider thereported link between inactivated flu vaccination and miscarriage as ascientific misinformation because it goes contrary to existing scientificevidence. Any association between the vaccine and SAB should demonstrate acausal relationship established through scientific methods and interpretationsas opposed to personal opinions.
Works Cited1. Adams, Mike. “CDC-funded study confirmsflu shots linked to spontaneous abortions…vaccine experts rush to explain awaythe findings.” Natural News, 3 Sept. 2017,https://www.naturalnews.
com/2017-09-13-cdc-funded-study-confirms-flu-shots-linked-to-spontaneous-abortions-vaccine-experts-rush-to-explain-away-the-findings.html#(22 January 2018).2. Donahue, G. James, Kieke, A. Burney, King,P. Jennifer, DeStefano, Frank, Mascola, A.
Maria, Irving, A. Stephanie,Cheetham, T. Craig, Glanz, M. Jackson, L. A., Klein, N. P., Naleway, A.
L.,Weintraub, E., & Belongia, A.
Edward. “Association of spontaneous abortionwith receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine containing H1N1 pdm09 in 2010-11and 2011-12.” Vaccine, vol. 35, no.40, 2017, pp. 5314-5322.
3. Irving, S. A., Kieke, B. A.
, Donahue, G.James, Mascola, J. G., Baggs, J., DeStefano, F., Cheetham, T. C.
, Jackson, L. A.,Naleway, A. L., Glanz, J. M.
, & Belongia, A. Edward. “Trivalent inactivatedinfluenza vaccine and spontaneous abortion.” Obstetrics and Gynecology vol.
121, no. 1, 2013, pp. 159-165.
4. Nordin, D. James, Kharbanda, O. Elyse,Benitez, V. Gabriela, Lipkind, H. Vellozzi, Claudia, & DeStefano, F.”Maternal influenza vaccine and risks for preterm or small for gestational agebirth.
” The Journal of Pediatrics, vol.164, no. 5, 2014, pp. 1051-1057.