In response to your follow-up comment: “Interestingly they are proposing the …

Comment on Why Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19? by Sean Pitman.

In response to your follow-up comment:

“Interestingly they are proposing the same LINE related mechanism in this article that you mentioned. Reverse-transcribed SARS-CoV-2 RNA can integrate into the genome of cultured human cells and can be expressed in patient-derived tissues.” – Don E Helland MD

Yes, that’s right. However, if it happens, and that’s still a big if, it seems to be limited to extremely rare conditions found only in a laboratory setting with very special and very unusual cultured cells – not in real life or in response to the mRNA vaccines. Vaccine mRNA, in particular, cannot, by itself, make it into the nucleus of a cell because they lack ribonucleoproteins that express nuclear localization signals to facilitates the mRNA into the nucleus. But, what if the mRNA sequence is assisted by a LINE1 sequence?

The human genome has about 500,000 LINE-1 sequences. Of these, there are only about 100 copies that have the potential to jump. And, most of these 100 that are theoretically capable of jumping, don’t actually jump – only about five or six of them do. Already, things are sounding pretty unlikely for this mechanism – which is probably why there are no known integrations of any previous coronavirus genetic sequence into the human genome or any other animal genome (Link).

But what about the actual research findings of Zhang et al. (May 25, 2021), that showed that this was possible? Why did their experiments work when this sort of thing has never before been seen in real life? Well, the researchers chose a very special line of human cells they could grow in the laboratory, a line of cells that already expresses a lot of LINE-1, and they gave them a bit of DNA that made even more LINE-1. They wanted to crank up the system to see what would happen if tons of LINE-1 were available. Moreover, some of the bits of coronavirus genetic material that stuck to human DNA that the researchers detected might not be evidence of integration; rather, these fragments may just be artifacts. Also, note that this effect was never identified in real living people. It’s not something that has been seen in “real life” situations. At best, it’s only a laboratory-based observation during extremely unusual and unlikely situations – situations that are nearly impossible to realize in real-life settings.

“Even if all this is true (which beggars belief at the moment), it would be a very rare thing indeed, the implications of which are hard to imagine.” (Professor Geoffrey J. Faulkner at the University of Queensland – an expert in jumping bits of DNA like LINE-1 elements. )

It is not surprising, then, that the proposal of Zhang et. al., that this does rarely happen is not without controversy. A recently released bioRxiv preprint also suggested that the human SARS-CoV-2 chimeric transcripts detected through RNA sequencing may arise as a sample prep artifact rather than true reverse transcription, integration, and expression. Here’s a portion of an interesting discussion along these lines:

Ellen Foxman, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the department of laboratory medicine at Yale School of Medicine, reiterated the same concerns. “My overall take on this [PNAS] paper is that it is exploratory research, and that while the data suggests that fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome can become integrated in human cells, other explanations for the data are also possible, as the authors discussed.”

“Some critics contend that the physiological levels of reverse transcription machinery in human cells are very low and insufficient for cellular integration of SARs-CoV-2. In their cell line experiments, Jaenisch’s team transfected HEK293T cells with LINE1 prior to infection with SARS-CoV-2 to increase the likelihood of detecting rare integration events. This has prompted critics to question the biological relevance of the detected chimeric transcripts.”

Burgio said, “These integration events were found in a context of strong overexpression of LINE1 transposable elements, which is not seen in a real-life setting.”

“LINE1 expression is induced in cells under stress,” countered Jaenisch. “Stress can be induced by infection with a virus, by exposure cytokines, by aging, in cancer. So, you could argue when a patient is infected with [SARs-CoV-2] virus it induces LINE1 and that promotes integration… it is a very clear possibility.” The team presented evidence supporting the induction of LINE1 by virus infection. Analogous results have also been observed by other groups.

“There is no evidence presented that the extremely rare events proposed in this paper would be harmful to human health or could result in live SARS-CoV-2 viruses being produced,” said Foxman.

Jaenisch agreed and emphasized, “The biggest piece of [viral] DNA we find is 5% of the viral genome, 1,600 bps. There is absolutely no way in which infectious virus can be made from these integrated sequences.”

Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News

Specifically regarding the mRNA vaccine producing this effect:

“There is absolutely no reason to believe that any of the vaccine mRNA is doing the same thing. The viral spike protein mRNA is a tiny piece. Vaccines are not inducing LINE element RTs,” said Young. “Vaccines are protecting against the possibility of long-term seriously debilitating diseases or death.” (Link)

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Why Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19?
Assuming the 90% efficacy figure for the Pfizer vaccine holds up, vaccinating one million 5- to 12-year-old children would prevent 33,600 cases and 170 hospitalizations over 120 days. The CDC puts the figure about 58,000 cases and 226 hospitalizations prevented. During the same period of time, there would be around 21 cases of myocarditis or pericarditis (Link, Link). There is also the argument that the significant majority completely recover from vaccine-related myocarditis/pericarditis without any long-term effects. Recovering from a COVID-19 infection requiring hospitalization, however, often results in long-term injuries.


Why Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19?
While vaccinating children is certainly more of a gray area as compared to vaccinating adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions, there are benefits to vaccinating children that Dr. Martin Kulldorff failed to mention – such as injuries that happen even if a child doesn’t die. These injuries and longer-term problems aren’t exactly rare either – as described in my article above. There is also the issue of children spreading the virus to others who are more susceptible.

Even death, while relatively uncommon among children compared to older adults, is still a problem. Almost 700 children have died from COVID-19 in the US so far. While this might seem to be similar to a normal flu season where between 34-200 children die during a given year, keep in mind that these numbers are affected by flu vaccinations that are given to children every year. Flu shots are widely available to all kids, while no COVID vaccines have been authorized for children under 12. More than half of children, around 60%, get their flu shot each year. This significantly reduces the death rate for children who are vaccinated since the vast majority (~90%) of kids who die from the flu each year are unvaccinated. That means, if you compare apples to apples, the flu death rate for children would be much higher without the annual flu vaccine – which is the reason why a flu vaccine for children has been made available. Why then should we not make a COVID vaccine available for children as well?

“Among children age 1-14, COVID-19 was in the top 10 leading causes of death through August and September 2021. Among children age 5-14, COVID-19 ranked as the number 6 leading cause of death in August and September. Among children ages 1-4, COVID-19’s rank rose from number 13 to number 7 among leading causes of death in August 2021 and held there in September.” (Link)

As far as the known risks of vaccines for children, these risks are still far less than the risks of getting infected by the live virus – for every significant risk one can list.

It is for this reason that the FDA advisory panel unanimously voted, yesterday, to approve the reduced dose Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5-11 (Link).


Why Vaccinate Kids Against COVID-19?
Although rare, it is thought that the production of the spike protein, from cells translating the mRNA vaccine, can trigger the same inflammatory cascade as a COVID-19 infection, resulting in these neurotrophic effects such as seizures (Link, Link). In children, seizures following various kinds of vaccinations may be related to the development of fevers (Link). Such febrile seizures do not end up affecting a child’s development or behavior (Link). It may also be that certain individuals are more prone to this side effect.

It is also interesting to note here that seizures may be the first and main manifestation of COVID-19 in children. “Seizures may occur even in children with no history of epilepsy and in the absence of fever or severe COVID-19 illness, necessitating a ‘high index’ of suspicion for the virus to make an early diagnosis and allow for appropriate infection control measures… Among 175 children diagnosed with acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in the emergency department over 10 months in 2020, 11 (6%) presented with seizures. Studies in adults with COVID-19 have reported seizures in 0% to 2% of cases, the investigators note. The 11 children with seizures (seven boys) ranged in age from 6 months to 17 years (median age, 11.5 years). All of them had seizures as the presenting sign of infection and none had severe COVID-19 requiring ventilatory or hemodynamic support. Six of the 11 children presented with fever.(Link).


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
If the DNA of a person does not get altered by the mRNA vaccines, then, by definition, these vaccines are not “gene therapy”. This is what was noted by Bayer itself in their response to the comments of Oelrich:

The Bayer group tells 20 Minutes that this is “an obvious slip.” “At Bayer, [les vaccins à] mRNA does not come under gene therapy in the sense that is commonly attributed to this expression,” adds the company. (Link)


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
Come on now. The “viral genetic information” that is being used is limited to the production of the spike protein. That’s it. The mRNA sequence itself does not alter the DNA of a person – their actual genetic code. This vaccine is therefore NOT “gene therapy”. That claim is just nonsense in any meaningful sense of the term. And Stefan Oelrich never intended to suggest otherwise. He was only talking about future applications of the mRNA technology. He never claimed that the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 function as gene-altering devices.

Bayer has responded noting that Stefan Oelrich was only talking about future applications of mRNA technology – not that the current mRNA vaccines alter the genetics of a person – which clearly doesn’t happen. The suggestion has been made that he misspoke regarding terms that he used, but that he never intended to suggest that the current mRNA-based vaccines modify the DNA of a person.

In any case, if you think otherwise, by all means, do share the mechanism by which this is likely to happen to any significant degree…


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
That would be concerning if it actually occurred, to any significant degree, in white blood cells – like T-cells and B-cells. However, contrary to the suggestion of the authors, this just isn’t the case and there is no reasonable mechanism whereby this might be the case.


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
I’m not sure what’s going on in Qatar, but COVID-19 reinfection rates are not that uncommon here in the States – and there have been a fair number of deaths following reinfection. Again, several friends of mine have been reinfected and symptomatic. A cousin of mine was reinfected three times.

State health officials say nearly 11,000 people in North Carolina have been reinfected with COVID-19, dispelling a common belief that you can’t get the virus a second time. The Department of Health and Human Services said of the 10,812 reinfection cases, 94 people have died. It is also reporting that of those vaccinated, there have been just 200 reinfection cases. (Link)

While the rates are certainly much lower compared to those who have had no exposure to COVID-19 antigens (via infection or via vaccine), at around 1%, it still seems as though the vaccines offer at least comparable immunity without the risks associated with an actual COVID-19 infection. It’s not that I do appreciate the protective advantages of natural immunity. I’m very hopeful that natural immunity will substantially contribute to eventual herd immunity around the world. However, given the option, getting the vaccine is much better than taking a chance with a COVID-19 infection.


Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
That’s true. So, the question is if these limitations are substantial enough to reasonably overcome the conclusions of the authors. The fact remains that your own personal experience doesn’t seem to be the same as those published in papers like this one where there are actual reinfections for those who have previously had COVID-19. Several friends of mine have been reinfected and a cousin of mine has been reinfected three times…