Disinformation actors share misconstrued narratives about coronavirus spike protein to push vaccine skepticism
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Disinformation actors share misconstrued narratives about coronavirus spike protein to push vaccine skepticism

Belgium scientists show an enlarged 3D model of a spike protein (blue) connected to an antibody (red)
Belgium scientists show an enlarged 3D model of a spike protein (blue) connected to an antibody (red). (Reuters / Bart Biesemans)

Vaccine misinformation concerning the coronavirus spike protein has again picked up in recent days. Vaccine skeptics and deniers have weaponized this medical term to deter people from trusting Covid-19 vaccines, which have been proven effective and safe.

Natural News, InfoWars and other well-known disinformation actors intentionally misinterpreted a recently published paper on a potential mechanism of how full-length spike protein found on the coronavirus could diminish a person’s DNA repair system — especially in older people — and obstruct their adaptive immunity. Yet these disinformation actors baselessly claimed the vaccine itself sends spike protein into a recipient’s “cell nuclei” and “suppresses DNA repair engine.”  This narrative is misleading because “mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell where our DNA (genetic material) is located, so it cannot change or influence our genes,” reads a CDC fact sheet.

A recent Wall Street Journal report on scientists looking into how the mRNA-based vaccines could trigger myocarditis, pericarditis or other heart inflammation symptoms in a small number of recipients also drew attention from vaccine and pandemic skeptics. One of the many theories researchers are considering, according to the report, is the possibility that the spike protein, which is produced by the body after receiving the vaccine, might share similarities with ones found in the heart muscle, tricking the immune system into attacking the heart muscle. Still, recent studies have confirmed these cases to be extremely rare and mostly benign.

Additionally, an FDA document on recommending the vaccine for children ages 5-11 was taken out of context by these actors to justify their anti-vaccination stance. While experts with the FDA theorized a scenario where, if Covid-19 transmission were low, the number of “myocarditis-related hospitalizations in boys in this age group would be slightly more than Covid-related hospitalizations,” they still confirm the benefits of vaccination outweighing concerns about side effects. Yet some highly engaged social media posts misleadingly claim that the government has admitted there will be more myocarditis hospitalizations than those for coronavirus. — Keenan Chen

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