With all the hype and noise surrounding the politics and medicine of the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J jabs, it’s time to put together a concise discussion of how vaccines work, focusing on the Fauci Ouchy. I will try to stick purely to the science, leaving out issues of masking, social distancing, lockdowns, and so on. Those are related epidemiology, but don’t explain vaccine function and design. So, without further ado…
The concept of a vaccine had been folk wisdom for centuries, but no scientific basis was understood. In the eighteenth century, smallpox killed up to twenty percent of the population. Several investigators began a practice called variolation.
Physicians made small cuts in healthy people, and then put material from smallpox blisters in the cuts. This killed two or three percent of patients, but on balance, that was still a reduction in the death toll. George Washington used it to protect the bulk of his army, even though he lost some soldiers with the practice.
In 1796, using the common knowledge that milkmaids who got cowpox were immune from smallpox, Edward Jenner showed the world that infection with this mild disease created immunity to a killer.
And this is the first principle of vaccination. Responsible physicians use a “crippled” form of a virus to induce immunity without causing other harm. Done properly, severe side effects are extremely rare.
Understanding how this works is key to our discussion. We’re all familiar with this picture of the COVID-19 virus.
It has a large number of surface features called “antigens.” There are four major ones: the spike (S), envelope (E), membrane (M), and nucleocapsid (N). When a person is exposed to COVID-19, the virus enters cells, hijacks cellular machinery, and replicates itself, allowing the process to repeat itself.
Once a person is exposed to the virus, his immune system develops antibodies to the S, E, M, and N antigens. T-cells are keyed to all of them as well. Because immunity from infection develops to all four antigens, it is much more robust and longer lasting than the shots.
Since COVID-19 is thought to be a serious threat, it should be beneficial to short circuit the process by introducing antigens to create immunity without causing the disease or side effects. Indeed, a perfect vaccine would do this. For example, the polio vaccine is close, and uses “crippled” viruses in a way that should prevent the disease, but even it still causes about three cases of polio per million doses given.
The Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is relatively traditional. It uses a crippled adenovirus that has the Alpha variant S antigen added. The Pfizer and Moderna products are different. They use the patient’s own cellular machinery to make the Alpha S antigen by injecting messenger RNA. So all three vaccines ultimately produce only the Alpha Spike protein antigen. Your immune system then creates T-cell and antibody immunity to just the Alpha Spike protein. They don’t confer immunity to any of the other three antigens.
This creates a serious problem on two fronts. First, because the shot gives immunity to the Spike protein of the Alpha variant of COVID-19, it does a pretty good job of shutting down the Alpha variant. But viruses are constantly mutating. Just think of how many strains of flu there are. Each year we get a new set, and vaccine makers have to guess at which ones to mix in this year’s cocktail. When the vaccine shut down a lot of the Alpha variant, other variants got through and multiplied. This is the superbug problem.
The Delta variant popped up in India and soon spread around the world. Now we have Lambda and Mu variants showing up. Their largest difference from Alpha is in the spike protein. By killing off the Alpha variant, only mutations that are less well controlled by Alpha Spike immunity survive. It’s the exact problem with overuse of antibiotics. There, only the bacteria that aren’t affected by the antibiotics are left. Here, only the variants that aren’t beaten by the shot survive.
With COVID-19, if the other three antigens were included in the vaccine, we’d have robust immunity, and no boosters would be required, since the shot would produce roughly the same response as an illness would. Instead, we are seeing new illnesses arise that are less and less responsive to the Fauci Ouchy. But the booster that’s being promoted is only for the Alpha Spike protein, and thus is doomed to be poorly effective against new variants.
The second problem is proving to be far more serious. The shot was (and is still being) promoted as very safe, with minimal side effects. This is, unfortunately, false. I won’t go into the litany of deaths and severe disabilities that come from the vaccine. Those are well documented (here, here, and here). For our purposes, we need to understand one simple fact. The Spike protein is the disease causing agent in COVID-19. It causes inflammation in blood vessels leading to clots, and that inflammation later on causes the “cytokine storm” that kills people. We can visualize the progress of the disease like this.
Early on, while the Spike protein is doing its dirt, there’s lots of virus around. That’s when we get immediate deaths, clots causing strokes, myocarditis in young men, and all those other bad things. It’s only later on, when the virus is already gone, that the patient’s immune system goes completely haywire (that “cytokine storm”) and more really bad things happen.
All of these side effects could be completely avoided by making a vaccine using a different viral protein (or three) that stimulates immunity. But the Alpha Spike protein that the vaccine uses is the problem. In short, the current vaccination program is actually giving people a case of COVID. Because it doesn’t continue replicating like a live virus, it’s usually short and mild, but in some people it’s deadly. And it can’t produce the long-lasting robust immunity that exposure to all four antigens creates.
Another key feature of the vaccines is that they are humoral (blood) immunity to an airborne virus.
COVID-19 viruses enter the body through the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs. There they encounter the pneumocytes, attach to their ACE2 receptors and get inside. They multiply, and release lots more viruses. Most of those new viruses will go back into the alveoli, where they can be breathed out to infect someone else.
This happens before any viruses get into the bloodstream (red arrows) to encounter antibodies and killer T-cells. That means that an immunized person can still get infected and shed enough virus to infect someone else. Vaccines can’t stop that. Notice I didn’t say “won’t.” I said “can’t,” as in, “there’s no possibility.”
It’s only after viruses are released across the alveolar basement membrane into the bloodstream that antibodies and killer T-cells can get to work. If you’re immune, then the viruses will get wiped up quickly and you won’t get sick. But you still got infected. And you can share it with someone else. The vaccine won’t ever change that.
There are huge problems with the vaccine program as currently promoted.
- First, instead of being low risk, it’s the highest risk that could possibly be engineered, since it’s based on giving you the active disease causing agent.
- Second, it cannot prevent you from getting infected and passing the disease on to someone else.
- Third, the use of the vaccine is literally causing variants that vaccine immunity is less effective against to emerge.
- Fourth, the booster regimen is targeted against a Spike protein that isn’t around much anymore. And it predisposes to something bad called Antibody Dependent Enhancement that we’ll have to discuss another time.
In short, the entire Spike protein based vaccination program is bad medicine. It is making us sick. We need a different vaccine without it. (Or none at all.) And until that arrives, we need ready access to drugs to treat COVID-19 at home, before that cytokine storm puts one of our feet on the banana peel.
Fortunately, there are over a dozen good protocols, but for most of us, we won’t be able to get them until the government gets out of the way.
Ted Noel MD is a retired Anesthesiologist/Intensivist who posts on social media as DoctorTed and @vidzette.