A podcast programme of unknown authorship is circulating these days on social networks in which a person identified as Enrique de Diego makes a series of predictions about what the long-term effects of those vaccinated against covid-19 will be. De Diego goes so far as to say that those vaccinated "will die in the next two years, with autoimmune diseases [...] and their immune system destroyed". Autoimmune diseases are extremely rare effects, vaccines do not wreck the immune system and there is no evidence that immunised people will die from them. In fact, side effects usually appear within two months at the latest.
"Vaccinated people will die in the next two years, with autoimmune diseases, responding to the infection of the spike protein, and his immune system destroyed”
The audio that you have sent us does not indicate which podcast it is or who hosts it, but it does include cuts from an alleged previous programme in which a person identified as Enrique de Diego, "journalist and director of RamblaLibre website", claims that vaccines will cause people to die in the next two years, "with autoimmune diseases". There is no proof of this and there is no documented case of any vaccine-associated adverse effect that has appeared beyond a couple of months, the maximum time it usually takes to appear.
“The experience with all the vaccines developed to date allows us to conclude that the adverse effects, if any, always occur within the first two months after vaccination," Adelaida Sarukhan, an immunologist and scientific writer at the Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal in Catalan) in Barcelona, told Verificat.
Vaccines do not ‘disrupt’ our immune system
When we get an injected vaccine, the aim is to stimulate the immune system to learn how to fight a given pathogen. Covid-19 vaccines generate a specific cell immunity, in this case against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, while the adjuvants that they carry (or the mRNA itself in the case of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines) also stimulate innate immunity, which is important both to fight the infection from the beginning by activating the immune system as quickly as possible, and to process and present the antigens to B and T cells so that they learn to detect it as early as possible.
In other words, the purpose of vaccines is that our defences, on their own, know how to fight the virus. However, since the beginning of the global vaccination campaign, some voices have tried to raise alarm about the alleged harm that covid-19 vaccines can cause to our immune system, such as the so-called antibody-dependent enhancement of infection (ADE) phenomenon, which causes our antibodies, which are supposed to fight infections in the body, to turn against it, even worsening the disease. This has already been seen with a candidate SARS vaccine tested in animals, and also with other viruses such as dengue or respiratory syncytial virus, but has not been the case with SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. "On the contrary, clinical trials and large-scale vaccination - hundreds of millions of vaccinated people worldwide - clearly indicate that the vaccines protect very effectively against severe forms of the disease, even in people infected with the new variants," points out Sarukhan.
Thrombosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome
In very few occasions, cases of the immune system being affected have been reported, although they are very rare. So far, the only events reported are thrombosis in AstraZeneca’s injection and, more recently, Guillain-Barré syndrome in Janssen’s injection.
"In some very rare cases, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines can lead to the generation or activation of antibodies directed against a protein (PF4) found in platelets, resulting in platelet activation and thrombus formation," summarises Sarukhan. "This type of phenomenon, called VITT (for vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia), has been reported at a frequency of approximately 10 cases per million after the first dose and 1 per million after the second dose (for AstraZeneca).
The other event that can compromise the immune system is Guillain-Barré syndrome, an "infrequent" disorder, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in which "a person's own immune system damages their nerve cells and causes muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis".
On 12 July last, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) added a warning to the package leaflet of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson single-dose injection because of an observed increased risk of developing this syndrome, which has not yet been observed in other vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
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