NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Vaccine hesitancy among young couples looking to start a family is rooted in fear that the vaccine causes infertility.

Dr. James Hildreth, President and CEO of Meharry Medical College, said that fear is simply unfounded.

“We need to stamp that out because it’s not true. And I think it’s causing a lot of hesitation among young women,” said Dr. Hildreth.

Dr. Hildreth said posts on social media have further fueled misinformation that the COVID-19 vaccines negatively impact the ability to conceive.

“If you look at the biology of these vaccines, and how they work, there’s really no scientific evidence whatsoever that these vaccines will be capable of causing infertility. They don’t damage DNA. They don’t do harm to egg cells or sperm cells,” said Dr. Hildreth.

The CDC released a statement that reads in part: “There is currently no evidence that any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems. If you are trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Dr. Hildreth said the hard evidence, from vaccine trials, further proves the shot is safe.

“As a matter of fact, in at least one or two of the vaccine trials women became pregnant after receiving the vaccine which tells us that certainly, the vaccines didn’t cause infertility,” explained Dr. Hildreth.

As the pace of vaccinations slows in Middle Tennessee, he’s encouraged all local leaders to speak up and dispel rumors.

“Lots and lots of people in the state, including myself, have tremendous respect for our Governor. I think it’s incumbent upon him, myself, and everyone else to do all we can to answer the questions needed so people feel safe enough to receive a vaccine,” said Dr. Hildreth.