Fact Check: COVID Vaccines Do NOT Create Spike Protein Buildup In Brain, Lung, Heart, Bone Marrow, Sex Organs

Fact Check

  • by: Dean Miller
Fact Check: COVID Vaccines Do NOT Create Spike Protein Buildup In Brain, Lung, Heart, Bone Marrow, Sex Organs Evidence-Free

Do COVID-19 vaccines cause patients to suffer by triggering them to produce spike proteins throughout the body, including the brain, lung, heart, bone marrow and reproductive organs? No, that's not true: The claim was made without citation to peer-reviewed, independently confirmed research, raw data or checkable specific examples. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared the vaccines safe, citing multiple professional science studies that the risk of facing COVID without immunity far outweighs the risk of rare side effects. Multiple vaccine experts say the spike proteins don't spread out and attack organs, mostly staying where they are injected.

The claim appeared in a January 24, 2022, article published by thegatewaypundit.com titled "EXCLUSIVE | Dr. Peter McCullough Urges Stand against 'Genetic Vaccines' That Cause Body To Produce Spike Proteins In The Brain, Lung, the Heart, Bone marrow, Reproductive organs." (revised since, but original archived here) which opened:

Dr. Peter McCullough, an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist and a leader in the medical response to the COVID-19 disaster throughout the pandemic, urged the public to abstain from Covid vaccination. Those who have already been received a dose or two of the experimental mRNA shots will dramatically increase the risk of suffering from its...

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EXCLUSIVE | Dr. Peter McCullough Urges Stand against 'Genetic Vaccines' That Cause Body To Produce Spike Proteins In The Brain, Lung, the Heart, Bone marrow, Reproductive organs.

Dr. Peter McCullough, an internist, cardiologist, epidemiologist and a leader in the medical response to the COVID-19 disaster throughout the pandemic, urged the public to abstain from Covid vaccination. Those who have already been received a dose or two of the experimental mRNA shots will dramatically increase the risk of suffering from its...

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines deliver lipid-encased mRNA blueprints to the cells where they are injected, usually in the upper arm muscle, according to the CDC. The mRNA does not penetrate the cell nucleus, where DNA is stored. Instead, the mRNA directs the cells to produce spike proteins, which are characteristic of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The immune system attacks them, training to respond if the patient is later infected with whole SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

Derek Lowe, a Ph.D. chemist who leads vaccine development projects and writes about vaccine development for the journal Science, wrote in his May 2021 column that spike proteins are mostly attacked by antigens or demolished in the liver and don't get widely distributed in the body:

Some of the vaccine dose is going to make it into the bloodstream, of course. But keep in mind, when the mRNA or adenovirus particles do hit cells outside of the liver or the site of injection, they're still causing them to express Spike protein anchored on their surfaces, not dumping it into the circulation.

Here's the EMA briefing document for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine - on pages 46 and 47, you can read the results of distribution studies ... In the first hours, there's also some circulating in the plasma. But almost all of that ended up in the liver, and no other tissue was much over 1% of the total. That's exactly what you'd expect, and what you see with drug dosing in general: your entire blood volume goes sluicing through the liver again and again, because that's what the liver is for.

In a January 27, 2022, email to Lead Stories, Professor Deborah Fuller of the University of Washington wrote that it is false to suggest spike proteins are toxic and that they leave the injection site and accumulate in various organs:

There is no evidence that the miniscule amount of Spike protein produced by the mRNA vaccines is toxic and there is no evidence that it ... accumulates in tissues. In fact, the studies that have been done to date show that only very, very small amounts are produced and rapidly eliminated from the body ...the protein quickly disappears after initiating the immune response.

Fuller is head of a vaccine lab at the University of Washington, location of the first U.S. outbreak, where doctors and researchers have studied the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID since 2020. A Ph.D. in microbiology who has worked on COVID vaccine candidates, she says the mRNA approach is so effective and safe, not vaccinating children with it is a mistake. In the January 27 email, Fuller wrote:

The benefits of children receiving the vaccine far outweigh the risks of not receiving it. With any vaccine or medical intervention, there is the potential for rare adverse effects ... When taken together, the benefits of vaccinating children to prevent COVID-19 infection far outweigh the risks of a rare vaccine associated adverse event.

The doctor making declarations about organ damage, Peter A. McCullough, M.D., is not a vaccinologist nor an immunologist. Baylor University Medical Center, where he was a cardiologist, fired him when he became a major spreader of COVID misinformation and filed a million-dollar suit against him for using the university's name when making claims like this about COVID vaccines.

Although experts in the same field sometimes disagree, medical science discourages people from asserting expertise outside their field. Unlike Fuller and Lowe, McCullough is not trained in vaccine development or immunology. His online resume lists his specialty as coronary artery disease and his board certification as cardiology. Searching his publishing history on ORCID (a system that tracks each researcher's output), Lead Stories found 25 pieces of published research in cardiology, but none on the topic of spike proteins, nor the mechanisms by which mRNA vaccines work. Lead Stories found no McCullough-authored studies on vaccinology or immunology in the catalog of the National Library of Medicine, which provides the world's largest index of medical science journals.

The Journal of the American Medical Association in September 2021 published a study of the health records of 6.2 million mRNA vaccine recipients, finding event rates for 23 serious health outcomes were not significantly higher in vaccinated persons up to three weeks after vaccination.

The CDC's assurance of COVID vaccine safety, which rests on that and similar peer-reviewed research, is as follows:

  • COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe -- much safer than getting COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19 and limiting the spread of the virus that causes it.
  • Millions of people in the United States have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can.

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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.


  Dean Miller

Lead Stories Managing Editor Dean Miller has edited daily and weekly newspapers, worked as a reporter for more than a decade and is co-author of two non-fiction books. After a Harvard Nieman Fellowship, he served as Director of Stony Brook University's Center for News Literacy for six years, then as Senior Vice President/Content at Connecticut Public Broadcasting. Most recently, he wrote the twice-weekly "Save the Free Press" column for The Seattle Times. 

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