Fact Check: MIT Scientist Does NOT Prove COVID-19 Vaccine Has Possible Long-Term Side Effects

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: MIT Scientist Does NOT Prove COVID-19 Vaccine Has Possible Long-Term Side Effects Bad Science

Did an MIT scientist prove that the COVID-19 vaccines have possible long-term side effects? No, that's not true: The "scientist" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a computer scientist who offered no proof that the COVID-19 vaccines have possible side effects when she appeared on Laura Ingraham's FOX News show but instead repeated multiple false claims about spike proteins and how vaccines work. Stephanie Seneff is well known for posting misinformation regarding COVID and the vaccines.

The claim appeared as a video (archived here) published by Laura Ingraham on Facebook on January 14, 2022, under the title, "MIT scientist's warning for parents about the COVID vaccine." It opened:

My next guest, a very well-respected MIT scientist, recently gave a presentation warning of the possible long-term side effects of the covid vaccines.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2022-01-18 at 21.04.11.png

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jan 19 21:39:34 2022 UTC)

Seneff is a senior research scientist at the MIT computer science and artificial intelligence lab. She is not a medical doctor or epidemiologist and has not been conducting COVID research studies in a medical laboratory. Her previous preprint studies -- preprints have not been peer reviewed -- have been widely criticized as flawed, as Reuters reported in August 2021.

Ingraham cites Seneff's paper, titled, "Worse Than the Disease? Reviewing Some Possible Unintended Consequences of the mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19," which was printed in the International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice and Research. This journal is not included in the National Library of Medicine, the largest index of journals of medical science in the world.


(Source: Screenshot taken on Wed Jan 19 21:58:34 2022 UTC)

Ingraham says:

She wrote, 'Through the prion-like action of the spike protein, we will likely see an alarming increase in several major neurodegenerative diseases... with increasing...prevalence in younger and younger populations.'

Ingraham continues:

This is absolutely terrifying to a lay person to hear as this push for vaccines and boosters and new boosters and multiple boosters for our younger population continue. What do we need to know?

Seneff replies:

I first of all think it's outrageous to be giving vaccines to young people because they don't have a risk of, a very very low risk of dying from COVID. So they don't get a benefit and when you look at the potential harm from these vaccines it just doesn't make any sense. And certainly repeated boosters is just going to be very devastating I think in the long term.

Seneff offers no proof that there are "possible long-term side effects of the COVID vaccines," and instead repeats debunked claims about vaccines.

At 1:30 in the video she says:

The vaccine gets injected into the arm, the muscles cells get very upset. They bring in a whole bunch of troops. The immune cells come in, take up the vaccine themselves. They take up the nanoparticles. They start making spike protein. The particles basically get your cells to produce lots and lots of spike protein in a hurry. Spike is the most toxic part of the virus. These immune cells then rush into the lymph system.

Many of them end up in the spleen, which is where you want them to be to produce the antibodies, that's the goal. So, they've designed it and they're very happy to see that they end up in the spleen making lots of spike protein and then invoking an immune response that produces antibodies by the B cells. But the problem is that those centers in the spleen are really the center place where Parkinson's disease develops and probably many other neurodegenerative diseases. But for Parkinson's it has been very well laid out that you get prion-like proteins even from infections in the gut. Immune cells take them to the spleen to those germinal centers and then they start spewing out exosomes, these are little lipid particles that are released by the cell unloading that toxic protein and shipping it along the vagus nerve to the brain. This is sort of well known with respect to Parkinson's disease, so that's the model I'm using. It feels to me like that is a perfect set-up.

Lead Stories has previously debunked multiple claims regarding toxic spike proteins, which you can find here.

This article published by Lead Stories in November 2021 debunks the claim that spike proteins stay in the body and travel to other organs.

The University of Nebraska Medical Center writes that spike proteins stay in the body for a few weeks at most:

Vaccines generally work by introducing a piece of a virus or bacteria into your body so you can develop long-lasting immunity to the pathogen. While the piece introduced by the vaccine rapidly fades away, your body's immune system remembers what it saw. When it encounters the virus or bacteria in the real world it mounts a strong immune response preventing or decreasing the severity of infection.

Some have expressed concern that the spike protein or other parts of the mRNA vaccines build up in the body, particularly in the ovaries or the brain. ... There is no evidence that any mRNA or protein accumulates in any organ.

"There is no evidence to suggest the COVID-19 Vaccine causes prion disease," a Pfizer spokesperson told Lead Stories in an April 2021 article.

At 2:51 in the video, Ingraham interrupts Seneff and asks her opinion on giving the COVID vaccine to children: "Any parent who's been pressured into giving a child this vaccination, what do you say to them tonight?" Seneff replies, "They should do everything they can to avoid it, absolutely everything they can," but offers no proof or evidence of why children should not have the vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains why it is recommended that children should get a COVID vaccine:

Help Protect Your Child, Your Family, and Others

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect children ages 5 years and older from getting COVID-19.
Vaccinating children can help protect family members, including siblings who are not eligible for vaccination and family members who may be at increased risk of getting very sick if they are infected.
Vaccination can also help keep children from getting seriously sick even if they do get COVID-19.
Vaccinating children ages 5 years and older can help keep them in school and help them safely participate in sports, playdates, and other group activities."

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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.

  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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