Was a Brisbane doctor really sacked after revealing a link between vaccines and miscarriages?

Was a Brisbane doctor really sacked after revealing a link between vaccines and miscarriages?

CheckMate is a weekly newsletter from RMIT FactLab which recaps the latest in the world of fact checking and misinformation, drawing on the work of FactLab and its sister organisation, RMIT ABC Fact Check.

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CheckMate August 12, 2022

Good morning,

This week, CheckMate investigates whether COVID-19 vaccines have caused a surge in miscarriages which authorities sought to hide.

We also bring you a spicy take on astronomy, and debunk claims that monkeypox is actually vaccine-induced “super shingles”.

‘No evidence’ COVID-19 vaccines cause miscarriage, despite Queensland doctor claim

Was a Brisbane doctor really sacked after revealing a link between vaccines and miscarriages?
The peak body for obstetricians and gynaecologists strongly advises pregnant women to get vaccinated against COVID-19.(Reuters: Hannah Beier)

Viral posts about the risk of miscarriage after COVID-19 vaccination have lit up social media, sparked by claims that a Brisbane doctor was sacked in an effort to cover up his findings.

“Dr Luke McLindon, fertility specialist at Brisbane’s Mater hospital has collected data which reveals a disturbing 74 per cent miscarriage post inject[ion],” read one widely shared tweet.

“In an attempt to silence him he was fired last Friday!!”

Telegram, too, was flooded with claims that Dr McLindon “just got sacked on Friday for not getting the jab and for trying to release his data on miscarriages”.

So, what’s the story?

According to a spokeswoman for Mater Health, which runs the hospital where Dr McLindon worked, the obstetrician and gynaecologist “no longer practises at Mater and has not done so since November last year”.

She added: “Mater has not observed any change in the rate of miscarriage over the last five years or specifically since the introduction of COVID-19 vaccinations.”

Other experts also poured cold water on the suggestion that COVID-19 vaccines were unsafe during pregnancy.

Shaun Brennecke, who leads the Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and the Pregnancy Research Centre at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital, told CheckMate via email that the published data “indicate that such vaccination does NOT increase the risk of or cause miscarriage”.

As evidence, he pointed to the numerous peer-reviewed articles in respected medical journals, whose studies “include many tens of thousands of pregnancies in all, and come from many countries (USA, Norway, China, Switzerland, Romania, etc)”.

“Miscarriage is unfortunately a relatively common pregnancy problem, occurring in approximately 25 per cent of all pregnancies, so there will be cases of women experiencing miscarriage around the time of receiving their COVID vaccination,” Professor Brennecke said.

“However, this association is coincidental, not causal, given the published data indicate the risk of miscarriage is similar in both vaccinated and unvaccinated women.”

According to an unverified online article, which purportedly quotes “a colleague” of Dr McLindon, the data behind the 74 per cent figure was based on a sample of 38 “high-risk” pregnancies.

Critically, though, these numbers have not been published in a formal study or subject to the scrutiny of peer review.

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