Fact-check: No, vaccinated women didn't suffer 13 stillbirths over 24 hours at a B.C. hospital
Online rumours claiming that vaccinated pregnant women suffered 13 stillbirths over a period of just 24 hours at a North Vancouver, B.C., hospital are false, health officials have confirmed.
The baseless claim about a sudden spike in stillborn deaths at Lions Gate Hospital has been credited to three unnamed doulas – misspelled as "dulas" by one online publication – and began circulating earlier this month.
An email spreading the falsehood mischaracterizes the COVID-19 vaccine as an "experimental injection," and suggests the media has purposely buried the story.
In fact, news organizations haven't reported on a sudden increase in stillbirths at Lions Gate Hospital because there hasn't been an increase.
Vancouver Coastal Health, which oversees the hospital, categorically denied the rumours on social media Tuesday.
"There is no truth to this claim and the individuals spreading this false information have no affiliation to either Lions Gate Hospital or Vancouver Coastal Health," the health authority wrote.
"There has been no notable change to the incidence of stillbirths in the VCH region throughout the COVID-19 pandemic."
Vancouver Coastal Health also pointed to multiple reports and studies supporting the use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant women, including one published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that reviewed approximately 1.25 million delivery hospitalizations from the beginning of the pandemic to September.
That report, released just last week, supports what B.C. health officials have said repeatedly: that the real risk for pregnant women isn't the vaccine, but catching COVID-19 while unvaccinated.
"Pregnant women are at increased risk for severe COVID-19–related illness, and COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes and maternal and neonatal complications," the report reads.
In online documents for expecting mothers, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control notes that other vaccines – such as those for tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis and influenza – are commonly and safely administered to women who are either pregnant or breastfeeding.
It also asserts there are "currently no known serious risks (such as an increased risk of miscarriage or possible birth defects) when getting a COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant."
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada supports COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant women, as does the National Advisory Committee on Immunization.