Are spike proteins from COVID-19 vaccines being shed from vaccinated children and infecting unvaccinated ones? No, that's not true: There is no publicly available evidence the Pfizer mRNA COVID-19 vaccine causes vaccinated persons to cast off excess spike proteins. The vaccines teach the body to make the distinctive spike proteins, which the immune system then attacks, preparing itself to ward off COVID if the person is exposed. The mRNA can only enter the body through a dose given by injection; it can't be passed between people. The shots are not infectious.
The article appealing for participants to take part in a "Citizen's Study" on newly vaccinated children appeared on the website of the Home Vaccine Education Network (archived here) in November 2021 under the title "Shedding in the Schools." It opens:
Shedding in the Schools
A Citizen's Study to Investigate if the vaccines of newly vaccinated students are affecting others
This is what the website looked like on November 18, 2021:
(Source: Home Vaccine Education Network website screenshot taken on Thurs Nov 18 17:19:52 2021 UTC)
The article lays out the group's concerns and reasons behind their Citizen's Study:
As 5 to 11 year old children are now being vaccinated while schools are in full session, there may be multiple newly vaccinated children sitting in closed classrooms for hours with unvaccinated kids. The kids' dose of vaccine is smaller, and formulated differently than the adult dose, and kids are different than adults. Will kids shed the vaccine? Will the shedding be significant enough to affect other kids in the classroom?
We are initiating a citizens' trial on November 8, 2021 to get information quickly to help keep all kids safe.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use in children 5 to 11 on October 29, 2021. It was given emergency use authorization for adolescents 12 to 17 on May 10, 2021. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID vaccines are safe and recommended for everyone age 5 and above.
According to the CDC, people who get a COVID shot cannot shed or release vaccine components. The agency's Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines web page, updated November 12, 2021, says:
Do any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States shed or release any of their components?
No. Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus. mRNA and viral vector vaccines are the two types of currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines available.
That point was echoed in a statement, emailed to Lead Stories on November 9, 2021, by a Pfizer spokesperson. It read:
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is a synthetic mRNA vaccine and does not contain any virus particles. Because there is no virus produced in the body, no shedding occurs.
In a May 2021 email to Lead Stories, Pfizer's spokesperson wrote that the vaccine cannot be inhaled and can only enter the human body through an administered dose.
The Home Vaccine Education Network article also cites a position statement from America's Frontline Doctors, an anti-vaccine activist organization, highlighting what it says are thousands of "post-vaccination complications" reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), which is co-sponsored by the CDC and the FDA.
Lead Stories has debunked several claims that misuse VAERS.
Anyone with internet access can add a report to the VAERS list of reports. The public access link to it expressly warns against unwarranted conclusions based on VAERS material because the list only provides a tally of unverified notes about any health event people experience after they are vaccinated.
The list itself cannot be used to prove or quantify, since all it shows is a chronological correlation, not the causal link that would be more difficult to establish. It's the equivalent of a police precinct's running "blotter" reports that may serve as a starting point for police work, not an endpoint.
VAERS website warnings include:
When evaluating data from VAERS, it is important to note that for any reported event, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established. Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.
The Home Vaccine Education Network cites a third concern in the article. It claims:
A newly vaccinated person can have a lot of spike protein in circulation. A published study on SARS-CoV-2 [COVID-19] infection showed that sweat glands express viral spike protein.
The linked study does discuss COVID and sweat glands, but it has nothing to do with vaccination. The November 13, 2020, study, "Infection of human sweat glands by SARS-CoV-2," is an investigation of people infected with the virus.
The Home Vaccine Education Network website includes this disclaimer:
The authors of this site are not medical doctors. The text, images and products offered here are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as official medical advice, nor can they substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional. We wish to be very clear that it is critical that you are responsible for your own medical decisions. The authors for this site are not responsible for how anything written here is used or mis-used by others.
The website page links to the site for Physicians for Informed Consent, a vaccine-skeptical group that Lead Stories has written about here.