Lara Prendergast, executive editor at The Spectator magazine, wrote a column this week telling how the coronavirus vaccine affected her period. She wonders what else might be going on that we’re not aware of yet.
It’s fashionable to talk about periods. Books on the subject, with glossy red and pink covers, are bestsellers. They have sassy titles like Period Power: A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement and Period:Twelve Voices Tell the Bloody Truth. The Periodical is a podcast for ‘everyone who bleeds, and their friends’. And this being our ultra-capitalist world, you can obviously buy a T-shirt, notebook or phone cover with a period-related slogan slapped across it. ‘Anything you can do, I can do bleeding’ is one mantra.
I admit to having not engaged much with this world. My period has always seemed to me a private matter, of no interest to anybody else and only vague interest to myself. I feel a little uncomfortable bringing the subject to the pages of The Spectator. I do so because I was interested to read that British women have made 30,304 reports of changes to their periods after having received a Covid vaccine. I realised I am one of them.
I will spare the details but suffice to say that after I had my first jab of Pfizer in late May, my cycle was flung off course. I did consider reporting it to the MHRA’s Yellow Card scheme, through which people can voluntarily report any suspected side effect from the jabs, but confess I felt silly to worry. It wasn’t exactly a blood clot or a heart murmur. When I had my second dose, the man in the booth asked whether I had experienced any side effects. I mentioned the changes to my period. He logged it on my file, said it would be flagged to the MHRA scheme and a minute later a doctor rushed in to reassure me there was ‘no reason to be concerned that the Covid jab would affect my fertility’. I hadn’t asked if there was.
I wanted to ask how he could be so certain, given these vaccines are very new. But I was concerned that would make me sound loopy. Goody two-jabs that I am, I didn’t want a black mark next to my NHS number. So instead we moved the discussion on, landing on London’s best pasta restaurants. ‘Trullo is lovely,’ I said to the two men. ‘Do you know it?’ A minute later, I’d had my second jab and after the obligatory 15-minute please-don’t-faint wait, headed back across Westminster Bridge to the Spectator office.
Millions of British women have been jabbed, so 30,304 reports will be a tiny proportion: a negligible number, you might say. But it doesn’t seem negligible if you’re one of those women. I imagine many will keep a record of their cycle, perhaps in their diary or on an app, and will have noticed a change. In the US, one research survey tracking menstrual changes brought on by the Covid jabs received 140,000 responses. The two biological anthropologists conducting the research said they had expected to receive around 500 when they launched their survey.
The real number of cases in the UK is possibly quite a bit higher than 30,304. But it is awkward talking about what the jab has done to our periods. Friends tell me they’ve also been affected and nope, they didn’t report it either. Nobody wants to be thought of as hysterical. Emotional. A tad neurotic. So instead these conversations are going on discreetly, on WhatsApp chats, on internet threads, in hushed tones. Who wants to be accused of being a dreaded ‘anti-vaxxer’?
If you vaccinate an entire population, even rare side effects will add up to thousands of people. Is it so wrong to talk about this? And if the jabs are affecting so many women’s periods, who knows what else might be going on. Medical trials on pregnant women were banned following the thalidomide scandal of the 1960s. I suppose we can only hope and trust that Carrie and the midwives are right to advise all pregnant women that the risks of Covid are noticeably greater than the risks of the vaccine.
Yeah, it’s a little too late for you now, Lara, but at least you’re helping women ask more questions about the sinister vaxx scheme.
Women have been complaining about the vaxx affecting their periods for some time now, but they’re not being taking seriously.
As a rule of thumb, you should never take a woman seriously. But this is the exception that proves the rule. Women love social consensus, and social consensus told them to take the vaxx. If they’re vaxxed and raising concerns about it, it sounds like a good idea to listen to what they have to say.
How were menstrual changes not listed as side effects of the covid vaccine? I’ve had easy Periods my entire life and my last period almost made me pass out cause of the pain. There needs to be more research on this and people need to be more informed on how to handle it.
— C (@minimalismbitch) August 12, 2021
1st shot: felt a little tired for a few hours the next day. Arm hurt a bit for two days.
2nd shot: same as the first one.
My periods after each shot were weird; hurt a lot more but bled a lot less. Could have also been stress tho.
Overall no problems here ? https://t.co/Yssw3r5dxP
— Servant Serah (@ServantSerah) August 11, 2021
Not sure if any of my other mutuals experienced this but after I got the vaccine my period turned into hell. GET VACCINATED EITHER WAY. But I just wish I had known this before getting vaccinated so I could be prepared lmaoooo. Being a girl is not fair a lot of the time.
— lex (@Alexissdagreatt) August 15, 2021