Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?

Table of Contents

Originally Published January 3, 2021 (Last updated: 4/3/21)

This is in response to a recent interview with the famous vaccine conspiracy theorist who started it all, Dr. Andrew Wakefield (sent to me by some friends of mine – Link):

Dr. Wakefield’s arguments against mRNA vaccines:

DR. WAKEFIELD WARNS “THIS IS NOT A VACCINE, IT IS IRREVERSIBLE GENETIC MODIFICATION”

 

Will the mRNA vaccines cause “Irreversible Genetic Modification”?

To start with, the title of the video is very misleading since it claims “Irreversible Genetic Modification” – if one takes an mRNA vaccine. Now, I understand the importance of a good title to get people to watch your video, but that title is simply false when it comes to the mRNA vaccines. These mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna do not alter human DNA or genetics at all – not even close.

For more information about the mechanism, safety, and effectiveness of these modern mRNA vaccines, I strongly recommend the excellent MedCram interview (December 16, 2020) with Dr. Shane Crotty (virologist and professor in the Vaccine Discovery Division at La Jolla Institute for Immunology – Link).

mRNA vaccines aren’t true vaccines?

Then Wakefield starts off with the nonsense claim that because the mRNA doesn’t produce the immune response directly (only the resulting protein that is produced by the cell’s machinery that decodes the mRNA sequence does that) that the mRNA vaccines “aren’t true vaccines”.

What? How is this a reasonable argument? How does the fact that there’s an extra step involved in producing the vaccine’s protein-based antigen(s) within the human body somehow mean that the final result isn’t a true vaccine? By any rational standard, the mRNA vaccines are true vaccines in every sense of the word since they end up educating the human immune system to recognize a specific type of viral protein antigen which then causes this now educated immune system to specifically target the COVID-19 virus prior to an actual infection by the live virus. That’s what vaccines do…

Do mRNA vaccines increase the risk of autoimmunity?

Then, Wakefield asks, “What could possibly go wrong?” – based on the claim that the cells producing a foreign protein to which the body will mount an immune response is called, “an autoimmune disease”. Now that certainly is a scary thought! Who wants to get an autoimmune disease?! I certainly don’t! Yet, I have already had the first round of the mRNA Pfizer vaccine. Why would I do this to myself? Why would I expose myself to some kind of autoimmune disease or disorder where I get my body to attack itself?

Well, this claim for producing an autoimmune disease might be a concern for those who don’t clearly understand the mechanism in play. What happens is that the mRNA in the vaccine enters the cytoplasm of some of the cells in one’s body. The nuclei of these cells are not entered by the mRNA sequences. The DNA is not altered at all. The mRNA in the cytoplasm then codes for a small piece of the COVID-19 virus – a portion of the spike protein. This protein, once produced, is exported from the cell and is then presented to the cells that make up the immune system. The immune system is then activated to recognize this particular protein sequence as something “foreign”. This means that, in the future, this immune system will more rapidly and effectively be able to attack the actual live virus if the body is ever infected by it. The cells that produce this foreign protein are not attacked because they do not express this viral protein on their own surfaces.  This is important because some of the earlier attempts at a SARS vaccine (back in 2002-2004) showed ADE effects (antibody-dependent enhancement with increased immune-mediated inflammation and lung damage following vaccination) in mouse models. However, mouse immunogenicity studies with the current COVID-19 vaccine candidates did not show these effects. This has been why the modern mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 have taken care to put the viral spike protein (coded for by the mRNA vaccines) into its “prefusion” conformation. The worry has been that if antibodies are generated to this viral “spike protein” after it has had a chance to bind to human cells (post-fusion conformation), that this would give a better chance for non-neutralizing antibodies to arise (and thus provide a better chance for unwanted inflammation of ADE to develop). This is also the reason for the emphasis on detecting neutralizing antibody titers along the way as well since a high proportion of neutralizing antibodies is a safeguard against the antibody-driven enhancement of disease. (Dr. Derek Lowe, December 18, 2020). Unfortunately for vaccine developers, spike proteins are liable to spring from their stubby prefusion shape into their elongated postfusion form on a hair-trigger.

Fortuitously, Graham and a former postdoc, Jason McLellan, devised a solution to this problem before the pandemic. Through a bit of structural biology and persistent protein engineering, McLellan discovered that adding two prolines—the most rigid of the 20 amino acids—to a key joint of a vaccine’s spike protein could stabilize the structure’s prefusion shape. This 2P mutation worked in preclinical studies of Graham and Moderna’s MERS vaccine, so they applied it to Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine. (Link; see also: Link)

 

Also, the mRNA sequences only produce the viral spike protein for a short time. So, the actual risk for the development of autoimmunity is very minimal here – no more so than with any other type of protein-based vaccine and no more so than getting infected by the full live COVID-19 virus. The mRNA sequence itself is then rapidly degraded within the cytoplasm of the cells that it entered. It doesn’t last very long at all. It’s a very temporary sticky-note message, so to speak, that self-degrades after the message is read a few times.

More extensive details on this can be reviewed here: (Link)

Do mRNA Vaccines increase the risk for anaphylactic reactions?

But what about Wakefield’s claim that there have been anaphylactic responses to these mRNA vaccines, as well as deaths? That certainly sounds serious, but it really isn’t if one understands what is really happening here. First off, the handful of cases of anaphylactic reactions to the mRNA vaccines, out of the millions given so far (a rate of around 1 in 100,000), have been to the lipids used to carry the mRNA. They are not based on some kind of autoimmune disease or condition produced by the vaccine. There are simply people who are at increased risk of anaphylaxis when exposed to certain fats or “lipids”. This is where severe nut allergies come from, for example. Between 2 and 10 children per 1,000 in the United States and the United Kingdom have anaphylactic responses to peanut/tree nuts – “with the prevalence of allergy to nuts being higher in adults (1.6%) than in children (0.6%)” (Link). This is a much much higher rate than the allergic responses to the mRNA vaccines so far at around 1 in 100,000. Yet, no one says that nuts are bad or poisonous for most people – only for those who are known to react in this way to nuts and other proteins or lipids to which they happen to be allergic. Also, the deaths that have been observed after the mRNA vaccines have been given have been no greater than the death rates noted in the regular population at large. Even during the vaccine testing phase, during the double-blinded trials, of the six people who died during this period, four of them were given the placebo (normal saline injection), not the actual vaccine. So, these claims of Wakefield are red herrings to create fear in people that is simply not related to the actual vaccines.

The very real risks to the mRNA vaccines:

Death from immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP):

Now, there are also other situations where vaccines really do increase the risk of certain conditions, some of which can be deadly.  Consider, for a recent example, the 56-year-old medical doctor (Dr. Gregory Michael) who recently died in Florida two weeks following vaccination (December 18, 2020) with the mRNA Pfizer vaccine. He died of an autoimmune condition known as Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP). While investigations into this particular case are ongoing, there is a known risk of ITP with getting the COVID-19 live viral infection itself – up to 45 reported cases so far:

“Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) can occur secondary to COVID-19 infections. A systematic approach is essential to diagnose new-onset ITP after excluding several concomitant factors or conditions that can cause thrombocytopenia in COVID-19. ITP has been found to be more common in elderly and moderate-to-severe COVID-19 patients. Several reports of ITP in asymptomatic COVID-19 patients underscore the need for COVID-19 testing in newly diagnosed patients with ITP amid this pandemic… In this review, 38 patients [of the 45 new-onset ITP cases described] (84.5%) had severe thrombocytopenia (platelet count < 20 × 109/L). Intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) was found in 4 patients, with one patient reportedly [dying] of it. The incidence of thrombocytopenia in patients with COVID-19 has been variable across studies. Mild thrombocytopenia has been observed in up to one-third of these patients, with even higher rate in patients with severe disease (57.7%) compared with nonsevere disease (31.6%)… Clinicians should also take note of several reports of ITP in COVID-19 patients in post-recovery period (21%).” – Bhattacharjee and Banerjee, September 2020

In this light, consider that there are some other vaccines that are known to increase the rate of ITP over background levels (the incidence of ITP in adults is approximately 6.6 cases per 100,000 per year). For example, the rate of ITP following MMR vaccination is about 1 to 4 additional cases for every 100,000 vaccines given (above background levels). However, the rate of thrombocytopenia following natural infection with rubella or measles is even higher, anywhere from 6 to 1200 cases, above background levels, for every 100,000 infected individuals (Neunert, ITP Support Association, Accessed January 2021). So, even given that the mRNA vaccines end up slightly increasing one’s risk for ITP, it’s not like one can completely avoid an increased risk of ITP during a pandemic where the actual viral infection has a much higher risk of ITP (not to mention the many other potential short and long-term complications). Again, while there are some real risks to vaccines, these risks, overall, are minimal compared to the risks of getting infected by the live virus.

Deaths in Norway following mRNA vaccinations:

The same is true for the recently reported situation in Norway where 23 very frail nursing home patients (all over 80 years of age) died following vaccination with either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines (Elson, Jan. 15, 2021). It is somewhat difficult to determine a link in this particular population between the vaccine and any other potential cause of death – since around 400 nursing home residents die in Norway every week (out of a total of some 40,000 nursing home residents, all of which have now been vaccinated). However, at this point, it is not ruled out that adverse reactions occurring within the first days following vaccination (such as fever and nausea) may contribute to a more serious course and fatal outcome in patients with severe underlying disease and general frailty.

“It may be a coincidence, but we aren’t sure,” Steinar Madsen, medical director of the Norwegian Medicines Agency (NOMA), told The BMJ. “There is no certain connection between these deaths and the vaccine.” (Link)

Steinar Madsen went on to say, “We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients.” (Link)

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said concluded that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.” (Link) Consider this also in the light that more than 30% of nursing home residents are likely to die if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs. So, weighing the risks and benefits of taking the vaccine vs. being exposed to a potential COVID-19 outbreak seems to weigh heavily in favor of taking the vaccine – with the exception, perhaps, of those who are already very frail.

Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS):

But what about the thousands of reports of vaccine injuries kept on the database known as VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System)? Surely then, most scientists and medical professionals have a long history of seriously downplaying the risks of vaccines.  It is not therefore only reasonable to conclude that the same thing will be true for the mRNA vaccines as well?

Inevitably, in the course of speaking with parents who want to support their decision not to vaccinate their children, or even themselves, you will be asked to go and read the VAERS database’s record of thousands upon thousands of vaccine injuries. Why might this be?  After all, the VAERS database, maintained by the CDC after all, is a good thing as far as mainstream medical science is concerned.  Why then is it so prominent in the arguments of those so opposed to vaccines?  Well, it’s because they don’t understand what VAERS really is and what the data contained in this database really means.

VAERS is the place where doctors, patients, and really anyone else can report what they suspect to be side effects of a vaccination. The CDC and the FDA co-sponsor this database, and they use it to monitor possible vaccine side effects. When certain patterns or clusters of similar reports appear, public health officials investigate these events and make appropriate recommendations. For example, in 1999, VAERS caught a higher than expected incidence of intussusception—a bowel disorder—following the administration of RotaShield, a rotavirus vaccine. Epidemiological studies confirmed the heightened risk of this side effect, and the vaccine was pulled from the market.

In this sense, VAERS is invaluable. It gives public health officials the information they need in order to keep our immunization program as safe as possible. As a parent, I take comfort in the fact that VAERS exists and that people who know how to analyze the data are on top of it.

However, VAERS is a passive reporting system. This means that anyone can report anything to it. There is no go-between. It’s almost like an online forum or message board; anyone can post and no one vets the claims. As such, a report in VAERS does not prove that any adverse event was actually caused by vaccines. In fact, it doesn’t even prove that any reported adverse event actually existed. One of the more well-known examples of how any report makes it into VAERS was Dr. James Laidler’s report that the influenza vaccine turned him into the Incredible Hulk. He inspired Kevin Leitch from Left Brain Right Brain to report a similar Wonder Woman adverse event.
Continued at: Link

DNA Modification?

Yet, Wakefield goes on to explain that genetic modifications, where actual pieces of the DNA sequences of a living organism are manipulated, almost always have unintended consequences. Again, while true, this is yet another red herring used to misdirect the minds of people and create fear when such things are not being done by the mRNA vaccines at all – not even close. Again, the actual mRNA vaccines do not affect the genetics of a person.

Double-blinded placebo-controlled trials:

In short, these mRNA vaccines have been extensively tested by double-blinded scientific studies on 70,000 people and showed themselves to be very safe and up to 95% effective in blocking the COVID-19 infection. That’s extraordinary given the actual risks of the COVID-19 pandemic in this country and around the world. This pandemic is a real pandemic that has killed around 1 in 1000 people already in this country. And, it kills the elderly at an exponentially higher rate than it kills the young (up to 15% of those over the age of 75, and up to 30% in a nursing home setting). There was also a study showing that 30% of young student-athletes developed heart damage linked to COVID-19, with 15% showing active inflammation of the heart known as myocarditis – even following otherwise mild symptoms associated with the COVID-19 infection (Rajpal, 2020). So, elderly people aren’t the only ones at serious risk from a COVID-19 infection. Young, otherwise healthy, people are also at risk. In comparison, the safety and effectiveness of the mRNA vaccines are miraculous gifts in comparison to the risks we take, as individuals and as a country, to continued exposure to the live viral infection itself.

Wakefield: a famous deceptive conspiracy theorist:

As an aside, Andrew Wakefield is a famous anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist who started off the modern fear of vaccines for many with his fraudulent Lancet paper published in 1998 claiming that childhood autism spectrum disorder was related to the MMR vaccine. He deliberately falsified data in this paper. And, we now have abundant evidence that vaccines do not increase the risk of autism. Maternal health during pregnancy is, however, known to be a risk factor. In fact, a recent paper showed that a maternal lack of vitamin D is linked to autism, especially the increased rate of autism in boys as compared to girls (Link).

Dr. Sherri Tenpenny:

There’s a new YouTube video going around like wildfire among conspiracy theorists where Dr. Sherri Tenpenny (osteopathic physician and anti-vaccination activist) is being interviewed (Shot in the Dark), claiming that the vaccines against COVID-19 are extremely dangerous, evidently much more dangerous than getting the live viral infection itself!

The problem is that Dr. Sherri Tenpenny is a well-known anti-vaxx conspiracy theorist who has no idea what she’s talking about when it comes to the mRNA vaccines (and many other topics as well). These vaccines have been extensively tested more than most medications and vaccines are tested before being brought to the market in this country (via double-blinded placebo-controlled trials on both humans and animals) and have now been given to millions of people, and have proven themselves to be both very safe and very effective.

Antibody-Dependent Enhancement:

The big fear that she talks about in this interview, called “antibody-dependent enhancement” (ADE), is well-known and has been clearly overcome. Dr. Tenpenny doesn’t seem to understand the concept behind the phrases she’s using because if ADE were really any kind of problem at all, we would have seen it in spades by now since ADE increases the severity of an infection rather than reducing it. If the mRNA vaccines were actually increasing rather than decreasing the virulence of a COVID-19 infection, we would certainly know it now that millions have been vaccinated around the world. Yet, this just hasn’t happened in either the vaccine trials or in the general rollout of the vaccines. Clearly then, Tenpenny doesn’t seem to understand the basic concept of ADE. For more information on the very interesting story as to the science behind how this was done, see:  Link

Polyethylene Glycol and Anaphylactic Reactions:

As far as PEG (polyethylene glycol – one of the few ingredients in the mRNA vaccines) causing anaphylactic shock, yes, in some rare cases some people, who usually have known risks for anaphylactic reactions, do have allergic reactions to PEG. However, it isn’t common and the risk is minimal here. We don’t stop eating nuts just because some people are allergic to nuts… right?

Spike Proteins Bind to DNA:

Tenpenny’s claim that the spike protein can “bind to your DNA” is completely false. The spike protein produced by decoding the mRNA sequence never makes it inside the nucleus of the cells and therefore does not bind to or affect a person’s DNA.

Antibodies to Spike Proteins and Autoimmunity:

As far as the “anti-spike antibody” causing “direct adverse effects on your tissues”, this hasn’t turned out to be true in either the testing phase of the vaccine and the subsequent follow-up of these volunteers nor in those who have been vaccinated since the rollout of the mRNA vaccines to the general public. Also, by the way, how in the world is getting infected by the full virus, with its spike proteins and all of its other proteins, any safer than exposing one’s immune system to a tiny piece of the virus to educate the immune system?

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine:

As far as her claims on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, her claims are completely wrong. She says that the fully-formed spike protein is put inside an adenovirus, which is then inserted inside your cell, along with proteins from fetal tissue. None of this is true. The J&J vaccine is based on DNA, which then codes for the spike protein once it is inside a cell. While the adenovirus is grown on fetal cell cultures that have been in existence for decades (not used for the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines since no viral vector is needed), none of the culture cells or proteins is included in the vaccine. No pre-formed proteins, none of the spike proteins or any other proteins, are injected with the vaccine here. The spike proteins are produced after the DNA that is inserted into human cells is then decoded into mRNA, which is in turn decoded to produce the viral spike proteins at that time. She simply doesn’t know how this vaccine works at all.

VAERS:

As far as the deaths she claims to be associated with the vaccine, this is based on VAERS. VAERS is a self-reporting system, maintained by the CDC, of all possible events that might happen after a vaccine is given without necessarily being caused by the vaccine. Of course, the CDC is not saying that thousands have been killed by the vaccines. That’s not what the VAERS data is suggesting – not at all! While there are certainly risks to the vaccines against COVID-19 there are only a handful of cases of serious harm or death that were likely to be the direct result of the vaccine. Meanwhile, more than 2000 people are dying, per day, from the COVID-19 virus and over 500,000 have been killed in just one year. For more information on VAERS and how it works and what it’s really used for: Link

More on Autoimmunity:

As far as Tenpenny’s claim for a risk of autoimmunity, again, these risks are extremely minimal compared to getting infected by the COVID-19 virus itself. There have been a handful of causes of autoimmune thrombocytopenia (where the body attacks its own platelets) associated with the mRNA vaccines. The risk appears to be about 1 in a million. However, the risk of ITP is much much higher for those infected by the live COVID-19 virus (about 40-50 times higher). So, while there’s just no avoiding all risk, the vaccines are far far less risky than getting infected by the live virus. (Link)

Tenpenny also mentions a paper published in January 2021 (including scientists from Loma Linda University) discussing the possibility of the development of autoimmune conditions following vaccination. While the authors of this paper did find some cross-reactivity to antibodies against the spike protein of COVID-19 and various human tissue proteins, their main concern for autoimmune conditions was for those susceptible individuals who were infected by the live virus where far more cross-reacting antigens were detected. So, again, the risk for the development of autoimmune conditions is far far higher for those infected by the live virus compared to those who are vaccinated against it. And, the risk is even lower for the mRNA vaccines because the resulting spike protein has been modified to reduce the risk for both “antibody-dependent enhancement” of the COVID-19 infection as well as to reduce the risk for autoimmune conditions. This is why, in light of the relative risks involved, the authors of this paper concluded by saying, “We hope that the recently approved human monoclonal antibodies and vaccines can prevent the many extra-pulmonary manifestations and other disorders brought about by COVID-19, and eventually help bring an end to this pandemic.” (Link)

In this line, consider the following explanation as to the risk of vaccine-associated autoimmunity from M. De Martino, E. Chiappini, and L. Galli (2013):

Information regarding a positive relationship between vaccines and autoimmunity is generally based on anecdotal cases or uncontrolled observational studies. In most cases autoantibody positivity is transient and not followed by any clinical consequences. The short and selflimiting course of autoimmune response implies first a generally benign prognosis reflecting the transient nature of the immunological mechanisms involved and, secondly, that autoimmunity does not necessarily cause an autoimmune disease (II). A healthy immune system has sufficient fail-safe mechanisms to ensure that autoimmune responses rarely develop into an autoimmune disease…

Molecular mimicry with host islet cell epitopes has been related to enteroviruses, cytomegalovirus, rotavirus, and rubella infections. However, large studies did not support a causal relationship between childhood vaccination against polioviruses, rubella virus or rotavirus and type I diabetes.

The relative risk ofGuillain-Barre syndrome after swine influenza vaccine in 1976-1977 was 7.6 within 5 weeks after vaccination. However, subsequent influenza vaccines led to no significant increase in the development of the syndrome. In addition, the frequency of Guillain-Barre syndrome after natural influenza infection is 10-fold greater than the frequency after vaccination (one additional case per I million people vaccinated), without taking into account other severe influenza and influenza-related complications.

Idiopathic thrombocytopenia is a confirmed adverse effect arising after measles-mumpsrubella vaccination. However, its frequency is one in 30,000 vaccinated children, whereas the risk of thrombocytopenia after rubella is one in 3,000 and one in 6,000 after measles. Thus, the balance is largely in favour ofthe vaccine and not ofinfections which are the target of vaccines…

Without doubt, some individuals develop autoimmune diseases following vaccines but they are very rare. For the overwhelming majority of people (estimated at considerably over 99.99%) vaccines carry no risk of autoimmune disease (37) whereas vaccines do save lives or save the quality oflives. (Link)

The same thing is likely true of the mRNA vaccines.  While there is always a risk to taking any vaccine, including the mRNA vaccines, the risks are truly minimal when compared to getting infected with the live viral infection – COVID-19 in this case.

Risk of Permanent Injury:

Tenpenny ends by saying that being vaccinated against COVID-19 is “the mark” that puts a person at permanent risk of illness and even death. Again, that’s absolute nonsense. She just doesn’t understand how these vaccines work or that getting infected by the actual live virus is what actually puts a person at significant risk of permanent life-long injury and a much higher risk of death.

Dr. Ryan Cole:

On 4 March 2021, pathologist Ryan Cole gave a speech to lawmakers at the Idaho State Capitol Building citing numerous concerns he has about the mRNA vaccines (Link). And, since he is a pathologist like me, it hits a bit closer to home than usual I suppose. 

While I agree with Dr. Cole that the use of vitamin D is important for a healthy immune system, I don’t agree with him on pretty much anything else he says in this video.

We are in a serious pandemic and it’s not over yet despite the claims of Dr. Cole to the contrary – especially with numerous new variants coming on the scene. Also, the mRNA vaccines are not “gene modifiers” or “experimental” in how they fundamentally work. They’ve been around for over 30 years and we know very well how they work. Sure, they’ve just recently been authorized to be used as vaccines against COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean that they are unknown or are “experimental” in nature as most people understand that term. mRNA vaccines were extensively tested via double-blinded placebo-controlled trials in both humans and animals and were found to be both very safe and very effective – and this safety and effectiveness continues on after the trials now that millions of people around the world have now been vaccinated with the mRNA vaccines.

mRNA Vaccines Kill Animals:

Now, Dr. Cole’s claim that the mRNA vaccines “killed all animals in the animal trials of the past” is at least partially true. This potential problem for various vaccines became known decades ago. For example, a study done in 1990 with cats immunized with a vaccine expressing the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) S protein on a recombinant poxvirus vector died earlier than control animals when challenged with FIPV. A similar problem happened in 2012 during attempts to produce a vaccine against the MERS-CoV virus. The reason for this is an effect called, “antibody-dependent enhancement” (ADE) where the immune response ends up making a subsequent viral infection worse, not better. This initial problem wasn’t due to the mRNA nature of the vaccines so much as it was due to the initial type of proteins being produced which resulted in ADE. This is a well-known problem for vaccines in general, not just the mRNA vaccines and it is also a problem for actual bacterial and viral infections where no vaccines are involved. So, it’s not as though this potential problem hasn’t been known for a long time now or that it is some kind of solid barrier to the development of successful vaccines. The fact of the matter is that the ADE problem has been overcome by the current mRNA vaccines via the stabilization of the viral “spike protein” that is coded for by the mRNA in the vaccines. This stabilized spike protein teaches the human immune system to fight off the actual COVID-19 viral infection without the problem of ADE. This lack of ADE was first established in animal studies:

Here we show that immunization with the SARS-CoV-2 RBD elicits a robust neutralizing antibody response in rodents, comparable to 100 µg/ml of ACE2-Ig, a potent SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibitor. Importantly, anti-sera from immunized animals did not mediate antibodydependent enhancement (ADE) of S-protein-mediated entry under conditions in which Zika virus ADE was readily observed. These data suggest that an RBD-based vaccine for SARSCoV-2 could be safe and effective.

Quinlan, B.D.; Mou, H.; Zhang, L.; Guo, Y.; He, W.; Ojha, A.; Parcells, M.S.; Luo, G.; Li, W.; Zhong, G.; et al. The SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain elicits a potent neutralizing response without antibody-dependent enhancement. bioRxiv 2020. (Link)

And, no ADE has been identified in human trials either. Also, if ADE were really a problem in humans given the modern mRNA vaccines, we would certainly know about it by now. (Link, Link, Link)

Ivermectin vs. Vaccines:

As far as Dr. Cole’s claim that Ivermectin is the wonder-drug cure-all for those infected by COVID-19, without any real risk, I wish this were true, but so far the evidence doesn’t support this conclusion. The mRNA vaccines remain the best solution for bringing this very real and very harmful pandemic to an end. As an aside, while ivermectin is a relatively “safe” drug, it isn’t without its risks.

“Between the years 2003 and 2017, the total average population treated [with Ivermectin] was around 15,552,588 among which 945 cases of SAE [severe adverse effects] were registered in DR Congo, i.e. 6 cases of SAE for 100,000 persons treated per year. 55 deaths related to post-CDTI SAE were recorded, which represents 5.8% of all cases of SAE.” (Link).

Now Cole’s claim that ivermectin kills the coronavirus in 99.9% of petri dish studies is actually true. The problem here is that it would have to be given to humans in a dose 100 times the safe dosage level for humans… which seems like just a bit of a problem. Relatively speaking, then, the mRNA vaccines are just as safe or safer than ivermectin and actually have the potential to end this COVID-19 pandemic, while ivermectin, unfortunately, hasn’t been able to show this potential.

mRNA Vaccines and Infertility:

Dr. Cole goes on to suggest that the mRNA vaccines may produce infertility. This concern stems from information that a protein called syncytin-1, which is found in the placenta in mammals, shares similar genetic instruction with part of the COVID-19 spike protein. It is postulated that if the vaccine causes the body to produce antibodies against the spike protein, it will also cause it to produce antibodies to syncytin-1, leading to infertility. Currently, there is no evidence to support this theory. Neither COVID-19 mRNA vaccines contain syncytin-1, nor does the mRNA used in the vaccines encode for syncytin-1. In addition, the spike protein formed as a result of vaccination (with either COVID-19 mRNA vaccines) and syncytin-1 is structurally very dissimilar. No data indicate the antibodies formed as a result of COVID-19 mRNA vaccination target syncytin-1. Cole’s story of a woman miscarrying “right after getting an mRNA vaccine” also doesn’t make much sense given that there wouldn’t be enough time to form antibodies to the spike protein “right after” being vaccinated. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of all pregnancies spontaneously miscarry for various reasons. Cole’s claim that the mRNA vaccines may end up “causing cancer” is in the same boat. There is absolutely no evidence to even suggest such a risk. In short, such claims are nothing but scare tactics based on thin air.

Masks don’t work:

As far as Dr. Cole’s claim that mask-wearing is “useless” for slowing the spread of the virus, that’s also mistaken. While not 100% effective, mask-wearing does in fact slow the spread of the virus, especially from an infected person to other people since it reduces the number of virus-laden respiratory droplets in the air around the infected person. There is also some fairly good evidence that mask-wearing has some protective value when it comes to reducing a person from virus exposure when exposed to someone who is infected with COVID-19, including reduced viral loads and symptoms if infected since fewer viral particles are likely to be inhaled (unless the close contact is prolonged in an enclosed space since the viral load will increase, despite mask-wearing, over time, due to the aerosolization of the virus). Dr. Cole’s claim that the mRNA vaccines do not prevent transmission of the virus is also not true. The mRNA vaccines have now been shown not only to dramatically reduced hospitalizations and deaths, but also to significantly reduce the rate of transmission as well…

90% of Deaths in those over 70 Years Old:

Cole’s claim that 90% of deaths in Idaho came from those over 70 years of age isn’t accurate. According to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, those aged 70 years old and above comprise about 80% of COVID-19-related deaths (Figure 1. Number of COVID-19-related deaths in the state of Idaho, stratified by age. Data extracted on 2 April 2021 from the Idaho Division of Public Health.).

 

Long-Haulers Syndrome:

Sure, while most people who get COVID-19 do survive, a certain proportion of survivors struggle with long-term health problems, which researchers have termed “Long COVID” or “Long-Haulers”. Among some of the documented effects are shortness of breath, fatigue, and an inability to focus or think clearly (“brain fog”). These can considerably affect a person’s quality of life. And, this isn’t an uncommon problem that’s limited to older people.  Even young people who are very healthy, such as young athletes, often come down with long-term symptoms – even after mild cases of COVID-19.

About 33% of COVID-19 patients who were never sick enough to require hospitalization continue to complain months later of symptoms like fatigue, loss of smell or taste and “brain fog,” University of Washington (UW) researchers found.

“We were surprised to have one-third of people with mild illness still experiencing symptoms,” said lead researcher Jennifer Logue. She’s a research scientist with the UW department of medicine’s division of allergy and infectious diseases, in Seattle. “If you contract coronavirus, there’s a good chance you could experience a lingering effect.”…

The potential to suffer long-term symptoms from COVID-19 infection increased slightly with age, Logue’s team found. About 27% of patients between 18 and 39 years of age reported persistent symptoms, compared with 30% of those between 40 and 64, and 43% of those aged 65 and older, the findings showed.

Thompson, WebMD, 2/19/2021

Perhaps ironically, evidence is coming to light suggesting that the mRNA vaccines might help those who have long-term symptoms following a COVID-19 infection. There are several leading theories for why vaccines could alleviate the symptoms of long COVID: It’s possible the vaccine clears up leftover virus or fragments, interrupts a damaging autoimmune response, or in some other way “resets” the immune system.

“It’s all biologically plausible and importantly should be easy to test,” says Dr. Steven Deeks of the University of California, San Francisco, who is also studying the long-term impacts of the coronavirus on some patients…

Another possible reason that some patients improve comes from the understanding of long COVID as an autoimmune condition, in which the body’s immune cells end up damaging its own tissues.

A vaccine could hypothetically kick into gear the “innate immune system” and “dampen the symptoms,” but only temporarily, says Iwasaki, who has studied the role of harmful proteins, called autoantibodies, in COVID-19.

This self-destructive immune response happens in a subset of COVID-19 patients while they are ill, and the autoantibodies produced can circulate for months later. But it’s not yet clear how that may contribute to long COVID, says John Wherry, director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Another theory is that the infection has “miswired” the immune system in some other way and caused chronic inflammation, perhaps like chronic fatigue syndrome, Wherry says. In that scenario, the vaccination might somehow “reset” the immune system.

Will Stone, NPR, 3/31/2021

See also good video addressing the claims of Dr. Cole in fair detail: Link 

Professor Dolores Cahill:

Prof. Cahill is a Molecular Geneticist who has turned conspiracy theorist over the COVID-19 pandemic and the mRNA vaccines.  Because of her public promotion of these conspiracy theories, she was asked (June 13, 2020) to resign from a leading European Union scientific committee – particularly in response to an hour-long interview with a popular alt-right activist on May 10th, which has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, Prof Dolores Cahill promised to “debunk the narrative” of the pandemic. (Link). She has since been featured in a number of other videos claiming, among other things, that people will begin dying in droves “in a few months” following the mRNA vaccine – based on prior animal studies that showed lethal results from something called “antibody-dependent enhancement” (Link).

Antibody-Dependent Enhancement:

Dr. Cahill’s claim that animal studies have shown that the mRNA vaccines enhance disease and result in the deaths of many or all of the animals studied have nothing to do with the modern mRNA vaccines produced against COVID-19.  These claims are based on studies done 30 years ago.  For example, a study done in 1990 with cats immunized with a vaccine expressing the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) S protein on a recombinant pox virus vector died earlier than control animals when challenged with FIPV.  The reason for this is an effect called, “antibody-dependent enhancement” (ADE) where the immune response ends up making a subsequent viral infection worse, not better.
Vennema, H. et al. Early death after feline infectious peritonitis virus challenge due to recombinant vaccinia virus immunization. J. Virol. 64, 1407–1409 (1990).
This situation is well-known now and is called, “vaccine-associated disease enhancement” (VADE).  The first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines also had a similar problem.  Among the 20 infants who received the FI-RSV vaccine, 16 required hospitalization, including two who subsequently died, whereas only one of the 21 participants in the control group was hospitalized.
However, over time, a series of very fortunate discoveries allowed scientists to stabilize the target proteins produced by the mRNA vaccines so that they would produce a good immune response while also avoiding the problem of ADE – resulting in a vaccine that is very effective as well as very safe.
As far as the claim that:
“2.5% of people over the age of 80 will experience adverse events where people cannot work or live life normally… with up to 80% having “life-limiting reactions or die when they come across mRNA again. For others (not elderly) it could be half of the people who could be severely harmed.”

That’s also just not true. There were 70,000 people in the mRNA vaccine trials, and these dire predictions just didn’t happen. Now, there are millions who have been vaccinated and such predictions still haven’t happened. The most common side effects from the vaccine are local soreness and some local swelling, with some people experiencing fever and chills over the course of a couple days – with subsequent full recovery.  That’s it.  Now, there is a risk of allergic reactions (almost all of which have involved women for some reason).  However, most of these reactions were in those who were already known to have severe allergic reactions.  The same thing can be said for eating things like peanuts, for example.  However, no one says that peanuts therefore should not be eaten by most people. Also, the mRNA vaccines will not induce such allergies over the long term. That also just doesn’t happen.

As far as the risk of autoimmune disorders, such risks are extremely rare with the mRNA vaccines, but are, in fact, much much more common when it comes to getting infected by the COVID-19 virus.

mRNA Vaccines will result in eventual organ failure:

“Normally, because the mRNA is in every cell of their body, it’s almost unstoppable.  It destroys the heart, or the spleen, or the lungs, or the liver because the mRNA is expressing the protein in every cell.”
Again, there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim.  It just doesn’t happen.  The mRNA from the vaccine is only locally taken into the cells where it was injected. It only exists in those localized cells for a day or so while it is used to make a small protein sequence from the COVID-19 virus (the spike protein).  Then, the mRNA is completely degraded so that none of it remains.  The immune system does not respond to the mRNA at all, so it will not attack mRNA in the future – or we’d all be dead since every cell in our body produces mRNA sequences every day.

The mRNA Vaccines will make older people very tired and exhausted:

“The energy the immune system requires to boost your immune system will make the older person very tired and exhausted.”

Again, not true.  If it were true, the older people wouldn’t be able to survive at all since even older people are exposed to foreign antigens every day that their immune systems have to learn to deal with.  That’s what the immune system was created to do – to detect foreign antigens as foreign and learn to adapt so that such antigens can be remembered and recognized more quickly in the future.

Multiple types of mRNA sequences in the vaccines:

“I am concerned that there are maybe multiple mRNAs in this vaccine, not just something for coronavirus.  If it is influenza or other viruses, we would be priming these people to other natural (cold and flu) viruses that are circulating.”

Again, not true. We know the type of mRNA in the Pfizer and Modern vaccines, for example.  It’s a single type of mRNA sequence specifically designed to code for a small protein part of the COVID-19 virus, the spike protein.  There are no other mRNA sequences in these vaccines to code for flu viruses or any other type of virus.

Moderna mRNA vaccine caused unexpected allergic reactions:

“Health officials withdrew one lot (41L20A) of the RNA vaccine.”

There was a cluster of 10 allergic reactions to the Modern vaccine of a particular lot in San Diego.  However, no other such allergic reaction clusters were identified despite this particular lot being widely used in many other locations.  So, the reason for this particular cluster of reactions doesn’t seem to be clearly related to the vaccine itself – perhaps being the result of something used in that particular location (such as the types of syringes used or some other local issue).

Deaths reported following mRNA Pfizer vaccination:

“Then again, news agencies report of 33 deaths among 48,000+ people age 75 and over following immunization with the Pfizer COVID-19 RNA vaccine.”
The deaths reported in Norway (and in Germany as well) in frail, elderly, nursing home patients, were not above the number of deaths usually expected within this population.  On average, 400 of these patients die every week in Norway.  So, it is only expected that quite a number of people will die from normal causes shortly after vaccination – or even if someone just waved a hand over their shoulder without giving them a vaccine at all.  In fact, the death rates for those elderly who received the vaccine was reduced compared to those who did not (Link).

mRNA can be converted to DNA and change one’s genetics:

“Merle Nass MD, calls attention to the fact messenger RNA (or any RNA) can potentially be converted to DNA in the presence of the enzyme reverse transcriptase. That DNA could then become linked to your native DNA.  There is the possibility of vaccine-RNA being converted to DNA and then permanently inserted into our DNA.  (Resveratrol, a red wine molecule, by virtue of its ability to inhibit reverse transcriptase, could put a halt to this potential biogenetic hazard.)”
No. This is not a possibility. The mRNA from the vaccine does not go into the nucleus at all or get converted by reverse transcriptase into DNA anyway in the cell.  This is not like a retrovirus like the HIV virus which does convert its RNA into DNA and then inserts itself into the human DNA of the cells that it infects.  The mRNA of the vaccine does not work that way at all.  This fear simply isn’t based on an accurate understanding of the cell biology involved.

Vitamins A and D, Zinc, and Resveratrol can block the effects of COVID-19:

“It would be wise for people undergoing any vaccination to supplement their diet with vitamins A and D, zinc and resveratrol which normalize the immune response, especially individuals that have experienced allergic reactions or are allergy prone.”
While Vitamin D, in particular, is very important for effective immune system function, unfortunately, it’s just not enough as one gets older.  For those who are older than 60, the innate immune system just doesn’t function well enough, not even with the help of vitamin D, to significantly reduce the risks from a COVID-19 infection.
In short, the risks of getting the COVID-19 viral infection are far far …. far higher, in every way, compared to the risks of getting the mRNA vaccine.  For more information on this see: Link

Dr. Lee Merritt:

Dr. Merritt is an orthopedic surgeon and the former president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).  Her recent interview (January 28, 2021) with Alex Newman (NewAmericanMag) entitled, “Warfare 5.0, COVID19, mRNA “Vaccines” & Hydroxychloroquine Suppression” was quite conspiratorial in nature, with quite a number of false and misleading statements about the COVID-19 pandemic and the mRNA vaccines.

99.991% chance of surviving COVID-19 without doing anything:

For example, she states that there is 99.991% chance of surviving without doing anything – very similar to a regular flu season for most people. That’s just not true, and it gets exponentially less and less true as you get older with a death rate of over 15% for those over the age of 70 (see image). The all-cause death rate for 2020 is also far above expected because of this pandemic we’re in (Link). This just isn’t a regular flu-type situation we’re in.
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Lethal mRNA animal studies:

As far as the mRNA vaccines, she claims that they aren’t vaccines and that experiments carried out with animals have all resulted in the death of the experimental animals – via “immune enhancement” or “antibody-dependent enhancement” (ADE). Well, this isn’t true either for the modern mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. The protein sequences produced by the mRNA vaccines work just like any other standard vaccine when to comes to educating the adaptive immune system. And, the animal studies that were performed were just as successful and safe as they were in humans. Of the 70,000 human volunteers for the mRNA vaccine trials, there were six deaths during the trial period. Four of these six people who died were given the saline injection placebo. And, since the mRNA vaccines have been given to millions of people there hasn’t been an increased death rate in any population or demographic over the usual or expected death rates.
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Now, to be fair, studies done 30 years ago that Dr. Merritt would remember, did show some problems for various vaccines regarding ADE. For example, a study done in 1990 with cats immunized with a vaccine expressing the feline infectious peritonitis virus (FIPV) S protein on a recombinant pox virus vector died earlier than control animals when challenged with FIPV. The reason for this is an effect called, “antibody-dependent enhancement” (ADE) where the immune response ends up making a subsequent viral infection worse, not better.
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Vennema, H. et al. Early death after feline infectious peritonitis virus challenge due to recombinant vaccinia virus immunization. J. Virol. 64, 1407–1409 (1990).
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This situation is well-known now and is called, “vaccine-associated disease enhancement” (VADE). The first respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines also had a similar problem. Among the 20 infants who received the FI-RSV vaccine, 16 required hospitalization, including two who subsequently died, whereas only one of the 21 participants in the control group was hospitalized (Link).
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However, over time, a series of very fortunate discoveries allowed scientists to stabilize the target proteins produced by the mRNA vaccines so that they would produce a good immune response while also avoiding the problem of ADE – resulting in a vaccine that is very effective as well as very safe. The subsequent human and animal studies on these modern mRNA vaccines against COVID-19, in particular, showed them to be highly effective and very safe – without having any VADE problems at all.
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For more details regarding the backstory to the development of safe and effective mRNA vaccines, see: Link

Vitamins, Zinc, Quercetin, Ivermectin, and Masks:

Dr. Merritt claims that NAC, vitamins C and D, zinc, selenium, quercetin, and ivermectin, and the like, are all that are needed to effectively deal with this pandemic. While some of these things are certainly helpful, they just aren’t enough – especially as one gets older. She claims that masks don’t work even though they have been shown to be very helpful in reducing the transmission of the virus from those who are infected (who may not be showing symptoms yet) to other people, by reducing respiratory droplet transmission.

Why a few well-trained doctors and scientists promote conspiracy theories:

Not all doctors are created equal. There’s a wide range of knowledge when it comes to understanding cellular biology, virology and organic chemistry — even among medical doctors who actually made it through medical school. It’s just not an easy topic to keep up with or to remember after a course in medical school – since it is so detailed and intricate. It is interesting, then, that the vast majority of doctors and scientists who specialize in cellular biology, virology and biochemistry, who actually understand the details of what is going on with vaccines and viruses within the body and within the cell, in particular, are strongly in favor of these mRNA vaccines. Only a relatively small handful of scientists and medical doctors take on these conspiracy theories and promote arguments that have no real basis in current medical knowledge or science.
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So, when it comes to someone like Lee Merritt who trained as an orthopedic surgeon. Her last serious exposure to topics like organic chemistry, cell biology, and virology was before many if not most of the key modern concepts and discoveries were made. I’m not saying that she’s being deliberately dishonest or deceptive here. However, I am saying that she just doesn’t know what she’s talking about on these topics. She uses her MD credentials to gain credibility with those who don’t understand how specialized medicine is, thinking that she simply must know what she’s talking about, when, in reality, she just doesn’t know.
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The same is true for other anti-vaxx conspiracy theorists who are also “MDs” – like Dr. Andrew Wakefield, Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, Dr. Simone Gold, and a number of others who are presenting the same kind of sensational misinformation and conspiracy theories. The pediatric specialist who told you that vaccines cause autism also doesn’t understand the science. This particular claim comes directly from a 1998 Lancet paper published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. This paper caused a sensation with the claim that vaccines increase the risk for autism in children. So, this claim was extensively researched and found to be false. It was also discovered that Wakefield deliberately falsified data in his own paper to support his claims. So, this paper was withdrawn by Lancet and Wakefield lost his credentials as well.

Dr. Judy Mikovits:

XMRV and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

In 2009, biologist Judy Mikovits, who was then the research director of the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-focused Whittemore Peterson Institute (WPI), published a paper on what she and many others thought to be a major scientific breakthrough in the prestigious journal Science. Her team alleged to have demonstrated an association between a newly discovered retrovirus called “xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus” (XMRV) and the poorly understood condition known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), suggesting a potential viral cause for CFS.

The paper received substantial international coverage. However, as with so many other potentially groundbreaking studies, nobody — including many of the same researchers involved with the original study — was able to replicate its results. Numerous attempts failed to replicate the study, and the research itself came under increasing scrutiny for sloppy methods and its reliance on misleading or manufactured figures.

On 1 July 2011, Science’s editors issued a “statement of concern” about the paper. On 14 October 2011, the authors issued a partial retraction of their paper that touched on issues with some of their figures. Finally, on 23 December 2011, the editors of Science retracted the paper in full. Interestingly, a blogger posted a figure from a 2009 paper that Mikovits co-authored in Science alongside one that Mikovits used in a recent presentation. The two figures, which are used to describe different results, look identical, except for the labeling (i.e., she was falsifying her data).

Mikovits, following the publication of her since-retracted paper, has since made a series of unsupported claims that XMRV virus was the cause of myriad other medical maladies, including autism and cancer, and that XMRV in humans could have its origins in mouse cells used in the vaccine production process — a notion that has been exhaustively discredited.

Much of the material Mikovits used to make her point was also retracted, including a 2006 paper that alleged to show XMRV was present in human prostate cancer cells but actually produced erroneous results due to laboratory contamination.An exhaustive body of work, which includes some of the same researchers involved in the original 2009 paper, has discredited any link between XMRV and disease.

“The bottom line is we found no evidence of infection with XMRV … These results refute any correlation between these agents and disease,” said co-author Ian Lipkin of Columbia University in a press release.

Since 2016, science has reached the consensus view that the XMRV detected in these various studies was a laboratory contaminant that affected the research cell lines used by the scientists conducting those studies, and that it was not a virus that had been transmitted to humans in any way.

As noted above, Mikovits’ controversial paper did not demonstrate that XMRV “came out of the lab into humans via contaminated blood and vaccines”; rather, it speculated such after seemingly demonstrating a (now discredited) association between XMRV and CFS.

“So in 2011 another AIDS researcher in a journal called Frontiers in Microbiology wrote a paper that really cost me a lot. I didn’t know he was gonna write this paper but it basically said, ‘The most likely way that these murine leukemia virus related viruses, these types of viruses entered humans was through vaccines.'” (Mikovits’ Statement)

That paper, which referenced two other now-retracted papers in its abstract, only presented the vaccine scenario speculatively as a potential route for humans to acquire XMRV (Kuyl, 2011):

“The novel human retrovirus xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV) is arguably the most controversial virus of this moment. After its original discovery in prostate cancer tissue from North American patients [paper retracted], it was subsequently detected in individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome from the same continent [paper retracted]. However, most other research groups, mainly from Europe, reported negative results … The detection of integrated XMRV proviruses in prostate cancer tissue [paper retracted] proves it to be a genuine virus that replicates in human cells, leaving the question: how did XMRV enter the human population? We will discuss two possible routes: either via direct virus transmission from mouse to human … or via the use of mouse-related products by humans, including vaccines. We hypothesize that mouse cells or human cell lines used for vaccine production could have been contaminated with a replicating variant of the XMRV precursors encoded by the mouse genome.”

That study did conclude by opining that the “most likely mode of XMRV transmission points to mouse-derived biological products” and stating that the authors hoped the study would “spur further discussion and help to resolve the many remaining XMRV questions.” But in a paper published just five months later titled “XMRV: Not a Mousy Virus” (Kuyl, 2001), those same authors walked back claims of XMRV’s prevalence (and even its existence as a true human virus) based on results which called earlier laboratory methods into question:

“XMRV was discovered in 2006 in tumor tissue from patients with prostate cancer [paper retracted] with a viral genome sequence highly similar to that of mouse xenotropic retroviruses. Sequence analysis suggested that XMRV is a novel recombinant derived from two fragmented endogenous murine viruses integrated in the mouse genome. XMRV was subsequently detected in other prostate cancer tissues and in blood from patients with CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) [paper retracted]. However, most other studies failed to replicate these findings, especially outside the USA, suggesting either that the virus has a limited geographical spread, or that positive results were due to contamination of biological reagents or human samples with mouse DNA. Four recent papers indeed show that murine DNA sequences can be detected virtually everywhere, and that extreme care should be taken when amplifying XMRV sequences. These results certainly put into serious doubt some of the high prevalence results and proposed disease associations that could not be confirmed by others.”

Further research determined that all XMRV samples detected in these studies stemmed from a contaminated cell line affecting all the labs performing these studies, that it did not cause disease, and that it did not enter the population via vaccines or blood transfusions:
“Molecular biologists traced the development of XMRV to a recombination event in a laboratory mouse that likely occurred circa 1993. The virus was propagated via cell lines derived from a tumor present in this mouse and spread through contamination of laboratory samples. Well-controlled experiments showed that detection of XMRV was due to contaminated samples and was not a marker of or a causal factor in prostate cancer or CFS.” (Johnson, 2016)
Therefore, Mikovits’ speculative claims linking her research to vaccine science, drawing the ire of “Big Pharma” and the “Deep State”, and her subsequent arrest are not rooted in science or reality. But although she may have lost the support of the scientific community, she appears to have found a new home in the conspiracy world.
“In the United States of America … everything’s censored,” Mikovits said on the website of a man who guest hosts Alex Jones’ Infowars conspiracy ranting, “so to look at things like Natural News, to come to meetings like The Truth About Cancer, I was just floored today because today was the first time I was treated like a human being who had knowledge for a very long time.”

XMRV and COVID-19 Vaccines:

Clearly then, Dr. Mikovits has not given up on her claims that XMRV is responsible for numerous human cancers and diseases.  She now even claims that XMRV will make COVID-19 vaccines lethal.
Mikovits’ hypothesis is that those who are most susceptible to severe neurological side effects and death from the COVID-19 vaccines are those who have previously been injected with XMRVs, borrelia, babesia, mycoplasma, through contaminated vaccines, resulting in chronic disease. (Her book, “Plague of Corruption,” details the science and history of XMRVs.

“Yes, absolutely,” she says. “That’s one of our hypotheses. But also, anyone with an inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, chronic Lyme disease, anybody with an acquired immune deficiency from any pathogens and environmental toxins.

Those are the people who will be killed, murdered, by this vaccine, and Anthony Fauci knows it … I can’t even sleep [because of] how evil this is. This is so deadly, I can’t scream it loud enough from the rooftops.”

Judy Mikovits Discusses Sars-COV2 Vaccination, January 31, 2021 (with analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola)

Again, however, there simply is no evidence for XMRVs causing anything as shown above.  The claims of Dr. Mikovits simply have no scientific or otherwise rational support from the weight of empirical evidence.

mRNA Vaccines do not degrade:

So, just how long will the synthetic RNA in COVID-19 vaccines be maintained within your body, causing your cells to produce this aberrant protein? “Mikovits believes it will escape degradation for months, years, maybe even for life in some cases.” (Link).  Again, however, this claim is completely opposed to the known mechanisms of mRNA decay within the body – lasting no more than a few days at most.

mRNA Vaccines proved lethal in animal studies:

Mikovits claims that, “All of this is eerily reminiscent of previous attempts to create a coronavirus vaccine, all of which failed due to the vaccines causing paradoxical immune reactions, or antibody-dependent immune enhancement. While the animals appeared to have antibodies against the virus, and should theoretically have been protected, when they were exposed to wild coronavirus, they got severely ill and most died.” (Link)

However, as noted above, the ADE problems with vaccines some 30 years ago have been solved. No such ADE problems have been since in any of the human or animal trials for the modern mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.  And, no such ADE features have been since these vaccines have been given to millions of people either.

Flu shots and masks increase risk of COVID-19:

She is also mistaken that the flu vaccine increases one’s risk of COVID-19. That original claim has been falsified (Link). I also think she’s mistaken that the wearing of masks increases the risk of COVID-19 since there is pretty good evidence that wearing masks actually reduces transmission rates.

Claim that Bill Gates and Anthony Fauci are evil:

In particular, her claims that Fauci and Gates are evil men behind some government conspiracy to harm millions of people to make money are nonsense. I don’t necessarily agree with all of their ideas, but it seems pretty clear to me that their motives are good and that they are actually trying to help people, not harm them.

Ellen White on vaccines and anti-government conspiracy theories:

Anyway, it seems to me that as Christians, at the very least, we should try to be as even-handed and honest with the evidence that is available to us and avoid sensationalism and conspiracy theories as much as possible – particularly those directed against governments and those individuals in positions of authority. This will only add to our credibility when things really hit the fan in this world. For Seventh-day Adventists in particular, the advice of Ellen White along these lines comes across as very wise:

Our work is not to make a raid on the Government but to prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. The fewer attacks we make on authorities and powers, the more work will we do for God. Let Seventh-day Adventists do nothing that will mark them as lawless and disobedient… Let them keep all inconsistency out of their lives. Our work is to proclaim the truth, leaving the issues with the Lord. Do all in your power to reflect the light, but do not speak words that will irritate or provoke. MS 117a, 1901

Decided proclamations are to be made. But in regard to this line of work, I am instructed to say to our people: Be guarded. In bearing the message, make no personal thrusts at other Churches, not even the Roman Catholic Church. Angels of God see in the different denominations many who can be reached only by the greatest caution. Therefore let us be careful of our words. Let not our ministers follow their own impulses in denouncing and exposing the “mysteries of iniquity” [2 Thessalonians 2:7]. Upon these themes silence is eloquence. Many are deceived. Speak the truth in tones and words of love. Let Christ Jesus be exalted. Keep to the affirmative of truth. Never leave the straight path God has marked out for the purpose of giving someone a thrust. That thrust may do much harm and no good. It may quench conviction in many minds. – EGW, Ms 6, 1902

Ellen White also took the smallpox vaccine herself, as did her son William White – and she recommended it to her companions as well. She did this even though she knew that vaccines were risky (much more risky in her day as compared to modern vaccines). Yet, despite what she knew about the risks of vaccines in her day (her own son had been sicked by a vaccine when she had him vaccinated against some other disease as a child – Link), she and her son William both took and promoted the taking of the smallpox vaccine. Why? Because, the known risks of the vaccine were a whole lot less than the known risks of getting exposed to the smallpox virus. That’s why. The same thing is true today. The risks of the mRNA vaccines are a whole lot less than the known risks of being exposed to the live COVID-19 virus. Beyond this, it is quite clear that Ellen White was not fundamentally opposed to vaccines or she would not have consented, originally, to have her son William get a vaccine as a child – or offer no objection to him getting the smallpox vaccine as an adult despite the bad experience he had with his childhood vaccination.

Here’s what Ellen White’s personal secretary for 13 years (and husband to her first granddaughter Ella – daughter of William White), D. E. Robinson, wrote about Mrs. White taking the smallpox vaccine (seated at the bottom left in the photo):

You will be interested to know, however, that at a time when there was an epidemic of smallpox in the vicinity, she herself was vaccinated and urged her helpers, those connected with her, to be vaccinated. In taking this step Sister White recognized the fact that it has been proven that vaccination either renders one immune from smallpox or greatly lightens its effects if one does come down with it. She also recognized the danger of their exposing others if they failed to take this precaution. – Signed D. E. Robinson, 2 SM 303.5 – 2SM 303.6

Another letter along these lines was written by Arthur L. White (grandson of Ellen White), quoting the above passage written by D. E. Robinson. Arthur White was working at the Ellen White Estates (or “Publications” at the time) and pointed out that Robinson, in the above passage, was responding in a letter (dated June 12, 1931) to the Ellen White Estate in answer to “an inquiry received”. Arthur White then goes on to add, “At another time, speaking of Mrs. White’s attitude toward this question, Elder Robinson wrote:”

“Though fully aware of the practice of vaccination during an epidemic of smallpox, she expressed no disapproval of it either as a preventative or a remedy. Members of her own family were vaccinated and with her approval.” (D. E. Robinson as quoted by Arthur L. White, January 19, 1956)

 

Response from Adventists opposed to vaccines:

In response, consider a video put out by Timothy Perenich (a chiropractor) who is opposed to vaccines in general (or a video by Andrew Michell citing the same argument). For example, Perenich claims that the decline and eventual eradication of smallpox “had little to do with high vaccination rates.” (Link).  Of course, the vast majority of scientists and medical historians strongly disagree with this conclusion – and for very good reason.  During the 18th century, smallpox killed an estimated 400,000 Europeans each year.  Around 1 in 13 of those living in London would die of smallpox. It was responsible for a third of all cases of blindness. Between 20% and 60% of all those infected—and over 80% of all infected children—died from the disease. During the 20th century, it is estimated that smallpox was responsible for 300–500 million deaths. In the early 1950s an estimated 50 million cases of smallpox occurred in the world each year. As recently as 1967, the World Health Organization estimated that 15 million people contracted the disease and that two million died in that year. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the WHO certified the global eradication of smallpox in December 1979 (Link). 

Sure, the initial vaccine against smallpox, developed by Edward Jenner, had some significant risks, to include the risk of infection by some fairly virulent bacteria – such as “syphilis, scabies, herpes, trismus (lockjaw), and tuberculosis.” In fact, the smallpox vaccine was one of the more dangerous vaccines ever given – having the highest rate of serious side effects and the risk of death among all vaccines. In the past, about 1 person for every 1000 people vaccinated for smallpox for the first time experienced serious reactions/complications. Even by 1969 studies showed that out of every one million people vaccinated at least one will die due to vaccine complications. It is for this reason that:

“Scientists call it [the smallpox vaccine] the most dangerous vaccine known to man.” (David Kohn, The Most Dangerous Vaccine, CBS News, 2002)

However, the risks from being infected by smallpox during the lifetime of Ellen White were so high and so severe, with a death rate of around 30% of all those infected, that the benefits of the vaccine significantly outweighed the relatively high risks of the vaccine. Of course, these benefits and risks would have been well-known to Ellen White. This is true even in the light of the best available treatment of her day.  For example, during a smallpox epidemic in 1870, Dr. Merritt Gardner Kellogg “gave water (hydrotherapy) and dietary treatments to his patients, of whom ten out of eleven survived. This earned him a high reputation.” (Link).  Certainly, a 9% death rate is better than a 30% death rate, but it still isn’t great. The benefits of the smallpox vaccine would still be more than worth it – especially during an outbreak.

Yet, Perenich argues that D. E. Robinson was mistaken in his claim that Ellen White ever supported or took the smallpox vaccine (Link). Perenich argues that if this claim were true that Robinson would have mentioned it earlier in an earlier letter he wrote about vaccines. He also cites the letter by William White describing a time when he was vaccinated for smallpox (Link). He notes that while William and his associates were vaccinated for smallpox without any apparent objection from his mother, Ellen White, that William does not specifically say that his mother was also vaccinated – only that the topic of vaccines was “perplexing” to her because of some problems he had had when he was vaccinated as a child.

Personally, I simply disagree with the conclusions of Timothy Perenich (a chiropractor who doesn’t really understand the reasons or mechanisms for modern vaccines). I think that the testimony of D. E. Robinson (Ellen White’s secretary for 13 years and married to her granddaughter Ella), along with the testimony of William White (her son) that he and his associates were in fact vaccinated against smallpox without any objection from Ellen White, is very good evidence that she was not opposed to vaccines by this point in her life (though she certainly had misgivings earlier on, given the bad outcome experienced by Willi when he was a child) and was, in fact, vaccinated herself during an outbreak of smallpox. The very fact that William was vaccinated as a child shows that Ellen White was never fundamentally opposed to the concept of vaccines, or she would never have allowed him to be vaccinated as a child, nor would she have been supportive of his vaccination against smallpox as an adult – along with the others in their group.

Another letter along these lines was written by Arthur L. White (grandson of Ellen White), quoting the passage written by D. E. Robinson. Arthur White was working at the Ellen White Estates (or “Publications” at the time) and pointed out that Robinson, in the passage where he said that Ellen White was vaccinated for smallpox, was responding in a letter (dated June 12, 1931) to the Ellen White Estate in answer to “an inquiry received”. Arthur White then goes on to add, “At another time, speaking of Mrs. White’s attitude toward this question, Elder Robinson wrote:

“Though fully aware of the practice of vaccination during an epidemic of smallpox, she expressed no disapproval of it either as a preventative or a remedy. Members of her own family were vaccinated and with her approval.” (D. E. Robinson as quoted by Arthur L. White, January 19, 1956 – Link)

In any case, I see no rational reason to accuse Robinson of lying here. Ellen White was a very reasonable woman who took advantage of many of the reasonable advances of medical science in her own day. She advised missionaries to use the drug quinine to fight malarial infections when in infested regions of the world and recommended the use of anesthesia during surgery – and even had radiation therapy to resolve a skin lesion on her face.

In short, Ellen White accepted and even took advantage of many of the advances of modern medicine, in her day, that she felt were more helpful than harmful – even though she understood some of the risks involved. And, I’m very confident that she would be perfectly fine taking the mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 if she were alive today – since this vaccine is highly effective and far far safer than the smallpox vaccine that she and William took. She also lost two sons and a husband to infections that modern medicine could have cured. If she had had access to these medications, I have no doubt that she would have given them to her husband and children to save their lives.

Now sure, if you’re young and healthy and have a great diet and exercise program, your odds of dying from a COVID-19 infection are relatively low. A healthy lifestyle is certainly an advantage. That much is true. However, the advantage that a healthy lifestyle gives to the immune system is in regard to the innate immune system. It doesn’t help the adaptive immune system at all. And, the innate immune system gets weaker and weaker, exponentially so, as one gets older and older – despite the healthiest of lifestyles. You simply can’t avoid the ravages of aging on the body and on the immune system. Even the healthiest person with the most perfect of lifestyles will age and eventually die. However, there are other ways to help the immune system as one gets older – specifically in regard to educating the adaptive immune system. How does one educate the adaptive immune system? Well, exposure to foreign antigens helps the adaptive immune system to learn what to attack in the future. What is the safest way to educate the adaptive immune system when it comes to more dangerous bacteria and viruses? Vaccination is the safest way to do this – educating the adaptive immune system without having to experience the actual illness. This is especially helpful for older individuals during this particular pandemic who are most susceptible to it due to their advanced age and loss of the effectiveness of their innate immune systems because of their age.  And, if you’re healthy enough to survive the actual bacterial or viral infection, you’re more than healthy enough to do even better with the vaccine – helping not only yourself do better, but those around you as well.

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Dr. Sean Pitman is a pathologist, with subspecialties in anatomic, clinical, and hematopathology, currently working in N. California.

Article’s Last Update: April 3, 2021

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