COLUMBUS, Ohio — “Misinformation, and disinformation can be quite dangerous when it comes to giving people the information they need so they can choose safely to be vaccinated,” said Dr. Joe Gastaldo, an infectious disease specialist at OhioHealth.
Dr. Gastaldo said specifically there has been a lot of misinformation about the COVID vaccines and what's referred to as the spike protein.
This week, we got a question about just that from one of our viewers. It's important to note, Dr. Gastaldo said there is a false claim in the actual question, so we will verify the question in two parts.
Duane Neuerburg asked: "Will donated blood from those who received the gene therapy research jab contain viable spike proteins? And can those replicate and damage blood vessels, heart, lungs, brain and/or bone?"
False claims have lead others to also ask: “is it safe to receive blood from a vaccinated donor?”
- Dr. Joe Gastaldo and the CDC
Here's what we found:
According to the CDC, "the spike protein is the part of the virus that attaches to a human cell to infect it." The vaccines "produce a harmless piece" to trigger our immune system to fight off “what it thinks is an infection.”
"The vaccines that we have from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are not considered gene therapy,” said Dr. Joe Gastaldo. “These vaccines do not alter your DNA."
So we can verify, no, the vaccines we have available right now in the U.S. are not considered gene therapy.
Let's tackle the part about spike proteins.
"What these vaccines do is actually teach your cells to make a spike protein that is different than the spike protein produced by actual infection. So when somebody does get vaccinated, they teach your immune system to recognize a spike protein, the spike protein that is made after being vaccinated is quickly dissolved. And this vaccine does not produce spike protein that lingers in somebody's blood for a long period of time.”
Dr. Gastaldo says the spike protein that is made by the vaccine does not cause any damage to blood vessels or cells. The spike protein made by the vaccine is different than the spike protein that's made from people having COVID.
“Nonetheless, the spike protein that's made when somebody has COVID does cause damage inside of blood vessels, which is what leads to things like blood clots and really bad outcomes,” Dr. Gastaldo said.
So we can verify, no, the spike protein made by COVID vaccines available here in the U.S. does not cause harm to your body.
Dr. Gastaldo says due to false claims going around about this, some patients in need of blood transfusions have asked if it's safe to receive a transfusion from a donor who was vaccinated.
“Yes, it is completely safe to receive blood from somebody who has been vaccinated,” he said.
Have something you’d like us to verify? Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.