Fact Check: Video About COVID-19 Vaccines, mRNA and Cytokine Storms Is Hodgepodge Of Disproven Claims

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Video About COVID-19 Vaccines, mRNA and Cytokine Storms Is Hodgepodge Of Disproven Claims Vaccines Work

Does a video about COVID-19 vaccines contain only factual and proven statements? No, that's not true: It's a hodgepodge of disproven claims. Among the recycled allegations are that antibodies will cause the messenger RNA (mRNA) to replicate indefinitely, that they will destroy your lungs and trigger cytokine storms, an overreaction of the immune system. None have been proven to be true, and all have previously been debunked by independent experts.

The video (archived here), published on BitChute on April 5, 2021, was titled "WHAT THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT THE VACCINES." The video was posted by Charlie Ward, a prolific conspiracy theorist, but featured direct-to-camera commentary from an unidentified woman. She says:

In summary, there are three ways that the vaccine will cause damage to the body. No.1, the antibody to the spike protein is going to loosely bind to the messenger RNA and drag it inside of your cell through a Trojan-horse mechanism, and make it start replicating on and on and on ... No. 2, the antibody to the spike protein is going to destroy your lungs. No. 3, the antibody to the spike protein is going to shut off the type 2 anti-inflammatory macrophages.

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WHAT THEY DON'T TELL YOU ABOUT THE VACCINES

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The narrator's claims are almost identical to claims made by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny in a different video published earlier this year. See our debunk of that video here.

For that story, we reached out to Dr. Douglas Drevets, an infectious disease specialist at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center. In an email to Lead Stories, dated February 18, 2021, he said about Tenpenny:

[S]he really does not understand how the mRNA vaccines work. For example, she states that after injection, the mRNA replicates - which it does not - and that we make an antibody against the mRNA - which we do not, and that anti-spike protein antibodies will bind to the lung and damage it - which they do not.

In the new video, at 7 minutes, 53 seconds, the narrator claims:

The antibody that comes in response to the spike protein that's in the COVID vaccine, do you know what it does? It kills the type two macrophages, so the body is literally in a constant state of high inflammation, creating a cytokine storm.

There's no evidence that's true. Prof. Timothy Brewer, a UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine infectious disease researcher who also treats COVID patients, told Lead Stories for a February 11, 2021, debunk that his literature search found no reports of a surge of lethal "cytokine storm" deaths caused by mRNA vaccines.

At 11 minutes, 38 seconds, the narrator, whose credentials are not provided, discusses the AstraZeneca vaccine, claiming that it contains the "DNA of an aborted child." She said:

Is it possible then that our DNA, our genetic structure, may be modified?

Lead Stories has addressed both of those claims before. There's no evidence MRC-5 cells, which are replications of lung tissue cells taken from an aborted male fetus in 1966, are in the vaccine itself. Also, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines gene therapy as modification of a person's genes to treat or cure disease, which is not what mRNA vaccination does. See our debunks of those claims here and here.

Around the 12-minute mark, the narrator starts making allegations about the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna. She says that it's "not a vaccine" and, later, that it's "purely experimental."

Neither statement is true.

As we've previously reported, both the Pfizer and Moderna injections are correctly called vaccines, per the definition of vaccine from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). See our story here. Also, given that both shots have been field tested and given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the FDA, they are no longer experimental, as we reported here.

At 17 minutes, 38 seconds, the narrator says about the vaccines:

It's not going to prevent death or prevent hospitalization, or prevent you from being contagious or prevent you from getting other symptoms of COVID, so explain to me: Why should we put this experimental drug into our bodies, knowing the risks are so high and the benefits are so small?

Those statements are also false. All the vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19, according to the CDC.

Of course, that doesn't mean it's impossible to contract the disease after being vaccinated, but getting the shot dramatically lowers your chances. Vaccination also helps protect people from getting severely ill with COVID-19, if they still get the virus, and it may also help protect those around them by reducing the amount of virus they cough or breathe out. The CDC recommends that people get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they become eligible.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.


  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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