By Sola Ogundipe
A new study in the US has found there is no risk to a man’s sperm from having any of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines.
The research, carried out at the University of Miami Health System, revealed that men may suffer a slight lowering of their sperm count for a few weeks as a possible side-effect but no more than they would following a viral infection.
“People should not be concerned. The vaccines are very safe,” said Co-author Ranjith Ramasay who had received over 500 emails from concerned men.
Having tracked 45 men aged between 18 and 50, who had received the Moderna, Pzifer vaccine, and the mRNA vaccines, Ramasay concluded that there was no significant decline in their sperm count after 70 days.
He said that even though the numbers in the research were small, the researchers were confident they can generalise to the rest of the population.
He added that they were also confident that the Johnson and Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are yet to be authorised would also not affect sperm counts.
“We are pretty confident, ” he avowed.
Men were reported to be refusing to have the vaccine due to fears over trying to conceive, with many citing social media as their source of information.
Previously, studies said men who have recovered from COVID-19 may be at risk of developing low sperm count in the short-term.
Researchers from the University of Florence in Italy, analyzed semen samples from 43 men ages 30 to 65 about one month after they had recovered from COVID-19.
They found that 25 percent of the men had low sperm count, and nearly 20 percent had azoospermia, or the total absence of sperm in semen.
It’s much higher than the prevalence of azoospermia in the general population worldwide, which is around 1 percent, according to John’s Hopkins School of Medicine.
Also, participants with serious COVID-19 infections — those who were hospitalized or admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) — were more likely to have azoospermia after their infection, compared with those who faced less serious infections, according to one study.
However, the researchers stress their study doesn’t prove that the COVID-19 virus harms sperm. They didn’t measure the men’s sperm counts before their infections, so can’t say for sure if the counts declined post-infection.