By Marina Zhang
A recent study on the immune effects of Pfizer’s COVID-19 mRNA vaccine has scientists raising concerns over vaccine-acquired immune deficiencies.
Vaccine-acquired immune deficiency syndrome (VAIDS) is a new colloquial term coined by researchers and health practitioners since the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. Though not recognized as a medical condition, some experts believe the COVID-19 vaccines may impair or suppress immune responses.
While the new study does not use the term VAIDS, the researchers recognized “a general decrease in cytokine and chemokine responses” to bacteria, fungi, and non-COVID viruses in children after COVID-19 vaccination.
“Our findings suggest SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination could alter the immune response to other pathogens, which cause both vaccine-preventable and non-vaccine-preventable diseases,” the authors of the paper published in Frontiers in Immunology wrote.
“This is particularly relevant in children as they: have extensive exposure to microbes at daycare, school, and social occasions; are often encountering these microbes for the first time; and receive multiple vaccines as part of routine childhood vaccination schedules.”
The researchers from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, took blood samples of 29 children, both prevaccination and after two Pfizer mRNA doses.
They found that blood samples postvaccination had a lower cytokine response to non-COVID pathogens compared to prevaccination. This reduced immune response was particularly persistent for non-COVID viruses. Blood samples taken at six months showed some children still had low responses for hepatitis B virus proteins and proteins that mimic a viral infection; however, cytokine responses had increased for bacterial exposures.
Immune responses to COVID-19 proteins—including spike proteins and their S1 and S2 subunits—and nucleocapsid proteins remained high after vaccination.
Professor Retsef Levi, specializing in risk management and health systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) that the study “adds to cumulative evidence suggesting adverse immune alteration” by COVID-19 vaccination. Family physician Dr. Syed Haider and immunologist and computational biologist Jessica Rose both connected the study’s findings to VAIDS.
Marc Veldhoen, an immunologist specializing in T-cell responses and the head of a laboratory at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Portugal, challenged the study’s findings.
In an X thread, Mr. Veldhoen highlighted flaws in the study, including the lack of controls, meaning children who were not vaccinated, to compare against the subject group on their innate immune responses to other pathogens.
“Without a non-vaccinated control group, at least another vaccine control group (to claim specificity), much larger numbers of subjects, and cellular composition data, [the study authors’] conclusion is speculation, and unlikely to hold,” Mr. Veldhoen wrote.
Accumulation of Studies Suggesting Decreased Immunity After Vaccination
The study is one of many suggesting declined immune response after COVID-19 vaccination.
A preprint study in 16 adults inoculated with the Pfizer mRNA vaccines had similar findings of a reduced innate immune response in participants exposed to pathogenic fungi. The same paper also found long-term changes in innate immune cells.
The Epoch Times reported on a January study out of Germany that showed multiple mRNA vaccinations induce a “class switch” in the type of antibodies formed against the spike protein and other COVID-19 proteins.
Boosted individuals have increased IgG subclass 4 (IgG4) antibodies, which are less effective than other subtypes of IgG antibodies.
“The development of more IgG4 than usual is unhealthy and riskier for people if they encounter the real virus later, as COVID-19 can develop into a rather severe disease, especially for people with chronic conditions,” professor Sean Lin from the Biomedical Science Department at Feitian College wrote in the previous Epoch Times article. “If the body begins to treat the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine like a boy crying wolf, then what if the real virus comes knocking at the door?”
Research out of the Cleveland Clinic and Indiana has also shown that vaccinated people are at a higher risk of infection than unvaccinated people who survived a prior infection. The preprint paper also showed that each successive dose heightened the incidence of infection.
Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at MIT with a doctorate in computer science, led a scientific paper in 2022 discussing the implication of COVID-19 vaccines causing innate immune suppression. This immune suppression may present individuals with a vulnerability to cancer, neurological diseases, and other infectious diseases, she noted.
Since the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts, there has been an increase in cancers in people under 50, with some experts suggesting vaccine triggers. Leprosy cases have also increased, with proposed relations to COVID-19 vaccines.
A peer-reviewed study in mice also showed that mice injected with the same lipid nanoparticles used in mRNA vaccines had a reduced innate and adaptive immune response. Mice given two doses of lipid nanoparticles had a more persistent suppressed immune response. The mice’s offspring also inherited some of the immune suppression.
The innate immune response serves as the first line of defense, while the adaptive—responsible for immunological memory—is the final line of defense.
“We report that pre-exposure to the mRNA-LNP [mRNA lipid nanoparticle] platform has long-term impacts on both innate and adaptive immune responses, with some of these traits even being inherited by the offspring,” the study authors wrote.
“Whether multiple pre-exposures lead to an even more drastic inhibition of the adaptive immune responses and how much overlap there is between mouse and human data remains to be determined.”