Even during normal times, menstruation is a favourite topic around which misinformation storm troopers on social media weave hare-brained myths.
The pandemic seems to have provided them with a more fertile ground going by the awful theories being peddled linking menstruation and vaccination on social media. Getting vaccinated during menstruation can lead to excessive bleeding and unusually acute pain, says one such story.
The campaign seems to have gained some traction going by the anxious calls received at the helpline being run by the Women and Child Development Department.
Taking the matter seriously, the department has embarked on a poster campaign debunking these myths. The posters among other things seek to reinforce that vaccination during menstruation is as safe as any time, neither will it reduce immunity or lead to excessive bleeding.
“We have also asked our 33,500 anganwadi workers to clarify the matter to the ones swayed by such misinformation campaign through calls since anganwadis remain closed now. However, they have been asked to do it judiciously as we don’t want to inadvertently help increase the reach of misinformation, which is now largely confined to social media,” T.A. Anupama, Director, Women and Child Development Department.
Swapna Bhasker, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Ernakulam General Hospital, said that linking vaccination and menstruation was completely devoid of any scientific or medical basis. She said that the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India has issued a circular debunking the myths.
“Such claims (side effects of vaccination during menstruation) are completely unscientific. There is no physiological, endocrine, or immunological basis affecting vaccination cycle. Women can take the vaccine on any day of the menstrual cycle including the days of the periods. There is no scientific basis for delaying or avoiding vaccination for this reason,” the release said.
M.G. Sivadas, nodal officer for immunisation in Ernakulam district where test positivity rate has exceeded 30%, said the Union Health Ministry itself has debunked the myth. “In fact, even those allergic to certain drugs should go for vaccination as it can only boost one’s immunisation. The bottom line is whether you risk vaccination owing to some unscientific myths or risk getting infected with this dreaded virus and die gasping for breath,” he said.