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Correcting this week’s misinformation: December 15, 2022

The shill gambit

The Claim:

A tried-and-true way of undercutting vaccine science is to claim that it is all influenced by pharmaceutical business decisions. Prominent scientists, such as Dr. Stanley Plotkin and Dr. Peter Hotez have faced these accusations. How can we respond?

The Facts:

It is important to know potential biases or conflicts of interest for people we hold up as experts. That’s why we can now¬†search¬†payments made by drug and medical device companies to physicians and other health care professionals.

For example, you can see that Dr. Peter Hotez has received less than $1,000 in the years that payments have been tracked, while Dr. Peter McCullough, who promotes treatments such as hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, has made over $4 million from the pharmaceutical industry in that same time.

Vaccine or gene therapy?

The Claim:

People are STILL claiming the mRNA vaccines are not vaccines but are actually gene therapy.

The Facts:

Robert Malone (who is *not* the inventor of mRNA vaccines) chose his words carefully. He never said mRNA vaccines are gene therapy., but that they “are gene therapy technology applied for the purpose of eliciting an immune response.”

He is not wrong; mRNA vaccines did come out of gene therapy research which has been used in treatments to combat conditions such as cancer. But that does not mean that the vaccines themselves are gene therapy.

Gene therapy, at its core, alters a patient’s DNA to treat or cure them, something mRNA vaccines do not do. Vaccines took the idea of introducing mRNA to your cells without altering DNA, so it’s only present temporarily as opposed to making a permanent change to that cell. Importantly,¬†mRNA cannot¬†reach the nucleus of the cell, where DNA is found.

Stiff person syndrome

The Claim:

The sad news that Celine Dion had to cancel shows because she is suffering from Stiff Person Syndrome has some people conjecturing that vaccines did it.

The Facts:

Stiff Person Syndrome (SPS) was first identified in 1956. Its cause is unknown, but there seems to be a mechanism by which the immune system attacks a specific protein resulting in motor neuron dysfunction.

We have¬†no reason¬†to believe that the COVID vaccine caused this in Celine Dion, any more than anything else she’s experienced. SPS seems to¬†affect¬†1-2 people in a million people, and the rates do not appear to be increasing since the covid vaccine was introduced. This is another example of people jumping to conclusions without evidence.

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