By: Vivek J
September 11 2023
Source: (Screenshot/X/Facebook/modified by Logically Facts)
COVID-19 vaccines do not compromise children’s immune system. There is no such medical condition as VAIDS.
What is the claim?
Posts circulating on social media claim that COVID-19 vaccines cause a medical condition called Vaccine Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (VAIDS), citing an article by The People’s Voice, titled “Gov’t Admit ‘Millions of Children Now Have VAIDS’ – Media Blackout.” The People's Voice, previously known as NewsPunch, is a website known for propagating misinformation and pseudoscience articles.
The Exposé, another website known for publishing conspiratorial narratives and pseudoscience, also shared a similar article on August 30, 2023, before the People’s Voice. Social media users are using the links of these articles to share such information on VAIDS.
Screenshot of the articles claiming that COVID-19 vaccines cause VAIDS in children. (Source: Screenshot/The Expose/The People’s Voice)
However, there is no such medical condition as VAIDS, and there is no evidence that COVID-19 vaccines compromise immunity in children.
What did we find?
The claims that COVID-19 vaccines caused VAIDS in children were attributed to a study titled “BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccination in children alters cytokine responses to heterologous pathogens and Toll-like receptor agonists.” This study was conducted by members of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI), and the study was aimed at studying the Cytokine production in response to various pathogens.
Cytokines are small and membrane-bound protein-based cell signaling molecules that aid cell-to-cell communication in immune responses and stimulate the movement of cells toward sites of inflammation, infection, and trauma.
The study found that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2 vaccine alters cytokine response in children. This finding has been misrepresented in the articles as proof of COVID-19 vaccines ‘weakening’ immunity in children.
In response to the spread of misinformation, the authors of the study published a statement on September 6, 2023, refuting the claims. Their statement read, “It has been brought to our attention that our recently published study is being misinterpreted and misused to claim that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous. Our research does not provide any evidence to suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are harmful to the immune system of children or adults. In particular, it is incorrect to suggest that our study results show that COVID-19 vaccines ‘suppress the immune system.’”
Screenshot of the statement released by the authors of the study titled “BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccination in children alters cytokine responses to heterologous pathogens and Toll-like receptor agonists.” (Source: mcri.edu)
The statement further read, “Any suggestion that our exploratory study implies that COVID-19 vaccines cause a harmful suppression of children’s immune system is a naïve and misguided oversimplification of our findings and ignores other studies that do not support this concept.”
Do COVID-19 vaccines compromise immunity in children?
In a YouTube video by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, American pediatrician Dr. Paul Offit, who specialises in vaccines and immunology, states, “The messenger RNA in the vaccines enters our cells and translates into a SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that sits on our cells. While the cells are making the spike protein, it is making a variety of proteins using messenger RNA, none of which affect the immune system.”
He also noted that there is no reason to believe that SARS-CoV-2 vaccines would affect or weaken the immune system.
Furthermore, none of the trials conducted on COVID-19 vaccines for children have found or reported that vaccines weakened the immune system of children.
So, what is VAIDS?
The term VAIDS is not a medical term, and it was invented by conspiracy theorists to spread misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Claims concerning VAIDS and vaccines affecting auto-immune responses have been debunked by independent fact-checkers.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in one of its reports on COVID-19 vaccines dated March 28, 2022, has referred to VAIDS as a myth and clearly explained the origin of such claims. The CDC report also noted that VAIDS is not a medical condition and that there is no evidence of COVID-19 vaccines weakening an individual’s immune system.
These VAIDS narratives have now been shared in the context of children’s immune systems by misrepresenting the contents of a study.
Websites known for spreading vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories published articles about COVID-19 vaccines weakening children’s immune systems and claimed that it caused a medical condition called VAIDS. The authors of the study cited in such articles have denied such claims, and VAIDS is a non-existent medical condition. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.