As hopes rise that vaccines can help control the pandemic, some of the world’s leading immunologists are expressing concerns of a potential further epidemic of autoimmune disease linked to the vaccine programme.

Professor Shoenfeld, credited as the ‘father of auto-immunity’ along with co-author Darja Kanduc from the University of Bari, Italy have warned of ‘molecular mimicry’ related to a number of genetic sequences that are identical in both the human genome and that of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. The immunologists first drew attention to the identical sequences in a paper in Clinical Immunology published June 2020. Noting specific groups of proteins found deep in the lungs, the site of covid pneumonia, they suggest that peptide sequences used in the new vaccines should be unique and not common to ones found in the body.


All vaccines work by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies to the coronavirus spike protein, if the body encounters coronavirus in the future, the defence mechanism is then triggered. The new vaccines engineer small-peptide antigens to provoke the desired immune response. Antigens are toxins which induce an immune response, however the peptides (amino acid chains) require additional immune-stimulating agents and/or delivery systems (vectors) to be effective.


Genetic engineering is the direct manipulation of a genome to change the genetic make up of cells. Recombinant DNA are molecules of DNA from two different species which are inserted into a host organism to produce new genetic combinations. Baculovirus (an insect virus) is widely used  in gene technology to engineer insect cell lines to produce recombitant proteins.

    • In the AstraZeneca, Novavax vaccines, another cell or vehicle is used as a carrier (vector ) to transport the synthetic antigen into the body. The ChAdOx1 adenovirus, extracted from the stool of chimpanzees infected with the common cold (modified to avoid its replication) is utilised as a vector for the vaccine.  Researchers inserted a modified gene into a baculovirus to produce insect cell lines infected with the SARS spike protein. Spike proteins from these cells were then assembled into nanoparticles which cannot replicate or cause Covid-19 and injected into the body where the immune system mounts a T cell antibody response.




  • The new mRNA Pfizer anThe new Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use messenger RNA (the molecule which instructs DNA) to trick the body into making the viral protein itself by triggering an immune response. These are the first mRNA vaccines to be licensed for use. The vaccines have strands of genetic material called mRNA, which acts as an instruction manual to make a piece of the “spike protein” taken from the SARS-CoV-2virus. When injected into the muscle of the arm, mRNA enters the dendritic cells and macrophages in the lymph node near the vaccination site, muscle cells then direct production of the synthetic antigen. The lymphatic system acts as an immediate transportation system carrying the genetic material throughout the body.

New data released as of Feb.12 from VAERS, the US Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.  The latest VAERS data show that 799 of the deaths were reported in the U.S. and that about one-third of those deaths occurred within 48 hours of the individual receiving the vaccination. The average age of the deceased was 77.8 and the youngest was 23.   21% of deaths were cardiac-related. Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, a pediatric rheumatologist, warned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in December 2020 that mRNA vaccines like those developed by Pfizer and Moderna could cause heart attacks and other injuries in ways not assessed in safety trials.

  • CBS Detroit reported that a 68-year old news anchor died of a suspected stroke one day after being vaccinated for COVID of a stroke.
  • Dr. Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old Florida obstetrician died shortly after receiving the vaccine after developing an extremely serious form of acute immune thrombocytopenia.
  • Bell’s palsy – facial paralysis.  (Pfizer 75%; Moderna: 25%)
  • Of 917 anaphylactic reactions, 70% of which were reported after a Pfizer vaccine and 30% after the Moderna vaccine.
  • Latest data lists 3,126 “serious” adverse reactions reported which also include 34 miscarriages and pre-term births.

VAERS is a passive surveillance system that relies on the willingness of individuals to submit reports voluntarily. Historically fewer than 1% of adverse events have ever been reported. According to their  website, healthcare providers are required by law to report within the specified time period after vaccination. However, “within the specified time” means that reactions occurring outside that timeframe may not be reported, as well as reactions suffered by people who don’t report those reactions to their healthcare provider.

The World Health Organization has now approved AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine  for emergency use however some nations have said they won’t use it, citing safety and efficacy concerns.

  • News reports indicate that a growing number of people, including nearly 30% of healthcare workers, now say they don’t want the COVID vaccine, citing safety concerns.
  • The Washington Post report that nearly a third of military personnel are opting out of the vaccines.
  •  NBA top national basketball players are reluctant to promote the vaccine.
  • 40% of LA frontline workers were recently refusing inoculations.

As of Feb.19, about 56.3 million people in the U.S. had received one or both doses of a COVID vaccine despite the US Federal Drug Agency not yet implementing systems to monitor the safety of COVID vaccines. FDA officials told The New York Times they don’t expect the systems to be up and running before the Biden administration reaches its goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans. We are constantly told to trust the experts yet while many are sounding the warnings of possible autoimmune risks, governments are rolling out the mass vaccination programme despite the fact that millions suffer from auto immune disorders worldwide.

In addition to anti vaxers, there are many who simply prefer a more cautious ‘wait and see’ approach, utilising all available methods to curtail the virus pending further research. What possible motive could there be in silencing experts in the field or in ridiculing or censoring any who advise caution.Despite the horrific toll of the virus, a path of due diligence will ultimately ensure the best outcome, reassuring those who wish to take the vaccine, of it’s safety. We surely dismiss warnings from esteemed researchers like Professor Shoenfeld at our peril.

  • Shoenfeld is founder and head of the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, at the Sheba Medical Center, which is affiliated to the Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Tel-Aviv University in Israel. He is on the editorial boards of 43 journals in the fields of rheumatology and autoimmunity and has published more than 1750 papers in journals such as New Eng J Med, Nature, The Lancet, Proc Nat Acad Scie, J Clin Invest, J Immunol, Blood, FASEB, J Exp Med, Circulation, Cancer and others. Professor Shoenfeld received the EULAR prize in 2005, in Vienna, Austria. In UC Davis, USA, and the Nelson’s Prize for Humanity and Science for 2008. He was recently awarded a Life Contribution Prize in Internal Medicine in Israel, 2012 as well as the ACR Master Award in 2013.


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