Rebel Wisdom, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


Anti-vaccine cranks have been issuing the same baleful warnings since Edward Jenner administered the first vaccine against smallpox in 1796. They’ve always been wrong.

Bret Weinstein is a former professor of biology in the United States. His podcasts have a significant reach. Some episodes have been downloaded five million times.

Recently, he and his guests advanced a complex theory intertwining the claim that ivermectin is a miracle cure for Covid19 with the idea that mRNA and adenovirus-vector vaccines are “toxic” and, in the words of a report Weinstein cites approvingly, “unsafe for human use.” The danger is grave, Weinstein intones. There is a conspiracy to obscure these truths from the public.

These arguments are very wrong. They are also much older than listeners may realize.


Anti-vaccination activists have made the same claims about every vaccine since Edward Jenner administered the first vaccine against smallpox in 1796.

The vocabulary for remonstrating against mRNA vaccines has been updated, but only slightly. Professional anti-vaxxers—the ones who decry vaccines against polio, measles, and mumps—have been open about their goal; they see Covid19 as an unparalleled opportunity to bring their case to a wider public. Here’s their case:

  1. When the vaccine debuts: “It’s too soon to tell if it’s safe.”
  2. No matter how long it’s been around: “It’s too soon to gauge the long-term effects.”
  3. Any misfortune, illness, or death they’ve heard about: Caused by the vaccine.
  4. Any misfortune, illness, or death they haven’t heard about: Millions of them, obviously, but we’re not hearing about them because the evidence has been suppressed.
  5. The vaccine contains toxins. (Advanced: cytotoxins.)
  6. The disease does not exist. It is all a hoax. (Either perpetrated by the government, to control you, or by Big Pharma to sell you vaccines, or both.)
  7. Okay, it exists, but the risks have been grossly exaggerated.
  8. Besides, it only happens to other people.
  9. I have found a mathematical mistake or an accounting error that explains why the death toll from this disease seems to be so high.
  10. I have found a paper in a peer-reviewed journal that proves this vaccine is toxic. (Advanced: I have found a meta-study that proves this vaccine is toxic.)
  11. There is a safe, inexpensive miracle cure for this disease that doesn’t involve a vaccine. Big Pharma is hiding it from you. (Extra point if this cure is “natural,” two points each for “vitamins,” “holistic,” and “gut health.”)
  12. Big Pharma controls the government.
  13. The media, too.
  14. I am the only one who has the courage to speak out because look how I’m stigmatized.
  15. A prestigious doctor agrees with me.
  16. Okay, not a prestigious doctor, but that’s only because they stigmatize anyone who dares speak the truth.
  17. The government knows how dangerous these vaccines are, but they’re in too deep. They can’t admit their mistake.
  18. You shouldn’t stigmatize me for thinking differently. What is this, the Third Reich?
  19. The manufacturers of these vaccines can’t be sued. (Double points if you mention thalidomide or oxycontin.)
  20. Anyone who says otherwise is in the pay of Big Pharma.
  21. Or a mindless sheep who just bleats out the Party Line.
  22. What’s it to you? It’s my body, my choice.
  23. How could you dream of taking a risk like that with children?
  24. But why would that doctor on YouTube lie? What motivation would he have? He’s not in the pay of Big Pharma. I’m going to donate to his non-profit organization for research into Gut-Healthy Covid-killing Spirulina.
  25. I have a good immune system. I don’t need it.
  26. Do you know about VAERS? Look what happens to people who get this vaccine!
  27. The vaccines give kids autism.
  28. The vaccines make you infertile.
  29. I heard of someone who got vaccinated and got a rash.
  30. I heard of someone who got vaccinated and died.
  31. I’m not against vaccinations, I’m just against this vaccination.
  32. You’re asking me to trust the people who got us into Vietnam?

Following Bret Weinstein’s unfortunate leap into the maw, his followers have converged on modest elaborations to the Argument. These ideas have been around forever in anti-vaccination circles, but they’ve been re-dusted with a new luster of medical jargon.

  1. The vaccines weren’t tested on animals before being tested in humans.
  2. The spike protein in the vaccine is toxic.
  3. Do you know about VAERS? Look what happens to people who get this vaccine!
  4. The mRNA vaccines will cause you to miscarry and become infertile because lipid nanoparticles peak in your ovaries.
  5. A guy named Steve Kirsch’s fish guy, his carpet cleaner, and his house cleaner got sick after being vaccinated.

Let us explore these claims.


On his podcast, Weinstein says, “We didn’t know that [the vaccine] had skipped the animal trials that might have alerted us to something really dangerous!”

They didn’t even use the vaccine itself in the animal trials!” marvels his guest, Dr. Robert Malone, who claims to have invented mRNA vaccines.

Sometimes lies catch on because there’s some hint of truth to them. Not this one.

The humoral and cellular immune response following IM administration of BNT162b2 (V9) was investigated in mice and nonhuman primates. The choice and relevance of the mouse for pharmacological animal model studies was based on the in-depth knowledge about the suitability, dosing and immunization regimen of BALB/c mice for RNA-based vaccine development. Non-human primates were chosen as they are a higher-ordered species, more closely related to humans, which may better reflect immune responses in humans. The selection of rats as the toxicology test species is consistent with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidance documents on nonclinical evaluation of vaccines (WHO, 2005). [My emphasis.]

Rats, mice, hamsters, rhesus monkeys, the whole menagerie; into their brains, their hearts, their lungs; in massive doses, vastly higher than we’d ever dream of giving to a human; over and over again. At least it did the poor beasts no harm.


Steve Kirsch, a guest on the podcast, cites “a FOIA request to the Japanese government” that showed the vaccine “doesn’t stay in the shoulder where we all thought it should stay. It goes throughout your entire body, it goes to your brain to your heart.”

The study in question traced the route of lipid nanoparticles in rats, not the spike protein in humans, but in either case, the results are not surprising. Who told him it “stayed in the shoulder?” We’ve understood the circulation of the blood since 1628, when Harvey discovered it. Of course part of an injection will be carried by the blood to the rest of the body.

I’ve reproduced the table on which he bases this claim. Behold: Normal pharmacokinetics. Compare what you see to this study, for example. Roughly similar. No, this is not evidence of a terrible secret hidden from a credulous world. It’s evidence that if you inject rats with blobs of fat at 1,333 times the dose we’d give to humans, a trivial amount ends up in the rats’ organs in roughly the places you’d expect.[1]Prion proteins self-replicate—different process, different protein.

But is the spike protein “toxic?”

The word “toxic” is meaningless unless you specify a dose. Water is toxic in large enough doses. It’s absolutely true that the protein is “toxic,” in the sense that if you have a gazillion of them in your body, you are in deep trouble. But that is the point of immunization.

Viruses and proteins are not alike. A virus replicates. It hijacks your cells and turns them into virus factories. A protein does not do that. Cannot do that.[2]Nor is it true that “if you find the lipid nanoparticles that tells you that your drug got to this location.” Messenger RNA is notoriously unstable; that’s why it has to be encased in more … Continue reading In the battle of protein versus immune system, the immune system wins, because the number of proteins is finite. In the battle of virus versus immune system, it all depends how fast you can stop it from replicating. Replication is how a virus survives. It’s the virus’s evolutionary strategy. No virus, no replication, no problem.

Yes, as the result of vaccination, you are exposed to the spike protein. This is the point! Your immune system sees that the protein is an invader and destroys it. It keeps the offender’s mugshot pasted all over town; that way, if it sees him again, it’s prepared to do war. Your guardian antibodies will neutralize that protein on sight. This will prevent the virus from getting inside your cells, where it can create its clone trooper army. This is how vaccines work. It’s how they’ve always worked.

It’s the virus that has the ability to replicate and produce buckets of the spike protein. More importantly, it’s the virus that has the ability to replicate and trigger the cytokine storm that kills you.

The principle of vaccination has been understood since Jenner and cowpox. The principle remains the same. An old-fashioned vaccine—one based on inactivated SARS-CoV-2, for example—would also involve the spike protein. It just wouldn’t cleverly get your own body to make it.

Even better news: There’s no evidence the spike protein is toxic to humans even in very large doses. Anti-vaccination activists have seized upon this study—Single intratracheal exposure to SARS-CoV-2 S1 spike protein induces acute lung injury in K18-hACE2 transgenic mice—as evidence for the argument that the spike protein is toxic. But it shows the opposite. If you inject the lungs of mice with a massive dose of a spike protein—many orders of magnitude larger than the concentration you’d see in vaccinated humans—the mice will have an immune reaction. Then, within days, they’ll recover. The mice are fine.

There’s a good discussion of the “toxic spike protein” idea here. And another one here.

Do not worry about the spike protein.


What should you make of claims that the fatalities reported in VAERS—the Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System—amount to “more deaths than for all 70 other vaccines combined over the last 30 years?” Anti-vaxxers make this claim of every vaccine, but let’s look at it anyway. Maybe this time, it’s true.[3]VAERS is a system, in the United States, for reporting adverse incidents following vaccination.

As of June 7, VAERS had logged 5,208 unconfirmed reports of death among alleged vaccine recipients. If they had all been caused by the vaccine, that would amount to 0.0017 percent of total vaccine doses administered in the United States.

But of course, they haven’t all been caused by the vaccine. On an average day, all-cause mortality in the United States is about 8,000 people; during the pandemic it has been as as high as 13,000. People die in the natural course of events. If you vaccinate 54 percent of the US population—about 178,000,000 Americans—quite a few of them will die soon thereafter. The only way to conclude that this is owed to the vaccine is patiently to look at every death and see if the deceased died of something you wouldn’t expect.

The raw VAERS data is completely unreliable. (Cause of death: gunshot wounds?) Anti-vaccination websites and their megaphones, like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are publicly encouraging their followers to submit reports to VAERS. Frankly, VAERS has probably by now been completely clogged with deliberate misinformation by anti-vaxxers. It has been firmly established that VAERS reports are driven up by media attention. Nothing in VAERS means a thing until the report has been verified by evidence such as autopsy reports, medical records, and a careful review of the patient’s history.

What of the claim that the concerns of anti-vaxxers are so stigmatized that no one reports adverse effects because they assume they can’t be connected to the vaccine?

No. “Healthcare providers are required [to report adverse effects],” says the CDC. Emphasis in the original. The list of events healthcare providers are required to report— this is not a suggestion, it’s a demand—includes, “An important medical event that based on appropriate medical judgement may jeopardize the individual.” So whether or not you think there’s any connection to the vaccine—even if the patient is an obese lifelong chain smoker who’s basically stuck together with Scotch tape—you are required to report that he had a heart attack. As for people who have an adverse effect but don’t see healthcare provider—well, it probably wasn’t so adverse, was it.

Yet the anti-vaxxers are right! There are more deaths than we usually see from a vaccine. I know this before looking at the database. Why? Because usually, we vaccinate people against childhood diseases. This means we vaccinate children. Who did we vaccinate this time? First people in critical care facilities in retirement homes; then the elderly and gravely comorbid. Is it really such a mystery that we see more deaths in this population than we do among toddlers receiving routine immunizations against whooping cough?

Finally—to remind everyone again—you can’t compare these death rates to the normal baseline. The reason we’re vaccinating people in the first place is because a deadly pandemic has killed 622,000 Americans. More people are dying, period, including the unlucky ones who didn’t get their vaccination or the second dose soon enough. Because of Covid19, US life expectancy has declined. This effect will show up in VAERS, just as it would in any population sample.

By the way, if you’re going to pull reports from VAERS and insist they’re meaningful, do the same with ivermectin. VigiBase is the international version of VAERS—a computerized pharmacovigilance system run by the WHO’s Program for International Drug Monitoring. If you want your toes to curl, pull up those ivermectin incidence reports.


But won’t the vaccine “peak” in your ovaries, like Steve Kirsch said?

No. The graph that Kirsch waved around on Weinstein’s podcast is so misleading—so deliberately misleading—that you could lose your faith in humanity. He has to know better, but he’s lying anyway.

The graph comes from a study of rats. (Rats, note. Animals. On which the vaccine was tested.) Below is the table of values on which it’s based. What do you notice?

That’s right. Why has he extracted from this only the effect on the rats’ ovaries? Does it “peak” there? Obviously not.

The rats’ ovaries were thoroughly examined after these vaccinations. No problems. Fertility? Unaffected. Most importantly, studies that assess the impact of these vaccines on humans have detected no abnormalities.

The V-Safe system is designed to pick up even more reports of adverse effects than VAERS because it regularly asks people after they’ve been vaccinated, by text message, whether they’re experiencing adverse effects. Their pregnancy database had 3,958 participants between December 14, 2020 and February 28, 2021. The rates of adverse pregnancy events were identical among the vaccinated and the unvaccinated.


And his carpet cleaner. And his housekeeper.

Seriously? What can we say? Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens. 

Claire Berlinski is the co-founder and editor of the Cosmopolitan Globalist. Yuri Deigin is just some guy from Twitter.


1 Prion proteins self-replicate—different process, different protein.
2 Nor is it true that “if you find the lipid nanoparticles that tells you that your drug got to this location.” Messenger RNA is notoriously unstable; that’s why it has to be encased in more durable blobs of fat.
3 VAERS is a system, in the United States, for reporting adverse incidents following vaccination.


  1. This article is not aging well

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