Immunologists are looking into whether the spike protein associated with the COVID-19 vaccines can possibly result in an “extremely rare” adverse event, such as an autoimmune reaction, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, said Tuesday. Fauci, who was testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee on the agency’s budget request said the number of overall adverse events among the millions of administered vaccine doses is remarkably low.
“The toxicities, adverse events are remarkably low in this, when you look at the denominator of the literally tens if not hundreds of millions of vaccine doses that have been given,” Fauci said.
“However, whenever you get adverse events, even though they’re very very rare, we obviously are interested in whether or not there is anything about the spike protein that would trigger something such as an autoimmune reaction that might give you a deleterious effect,” Fauci said. “Again, these things are extremely rare. We don’t see anything that we can directly relate to the spike protein but we are certainly looking for that and there are immunologists who are right now looking to see if there’s any connection there. But again to underscore, Congressman, these are really extraordinarily rare events.”
Fauci’s comments were prompted by Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., who questioned whether the spike proteins can result in long-term consequences and potential health effects during the cold and flu season, citing some individuals’ reluctance to take vaccines due to this concern. Drug makers, public health officials and the medical community has stressed that the recently approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective against COVID-19 disease, and continue to monitor safety data as the vaccination drive continues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that “mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.”
“COVID-19 mRNA vaccines give instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of what is called the ‘spike protein,’ the CDC writes, “the spike protein is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19…Once the instructions (mRNA) are inside the immune cells, the cells use them to make the protein piece. After the protein piece is made, the cell breaks down the instructions and gets rid of them.”
Fox News has requested comment from the major drugmakers behind authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
The comments come as an independent safety committee to the CDC is investigating rare reports of heart issues among adolescents and young adults who received COVID-19 vaccinations. Dr. Richard Besser, former acting head of the agency and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, says there is no clear link yet to the vaccines, and encourages parents to keep getting kids vaccinated.
The CDC is specifically investigating reports of myocarditis — or unusual inflammation of the heart muscle — but so far, the agency has not found reported cases to exceed expected baseline rates, Besser said.
“In recent weeks, there have been rare reports of myocarditis and pericarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination in the United States and Europe,” said Ben Haynes, CDC spokesperson, in an recent emailed statement to Fox News. “Myocarditis and pericarditis are side effects that can be seen following a viral infection and other types of vaccination. Reported cases appear to be mild and often go away without requiring treatment.”
“These reports are rare given the number of vaccine doses administered, and CDC and FDA will continue to monitor and evaluate reports of myocarditis/pericarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination. Healthcare providers should report all cases to VAERS. CDC continues to strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccination for individuals 12 years of age or older given the risk of COVID-19 illness and related, potentially severe, complications. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you and your family from COVID-19,” the statement reads.