Geert Vanden Bossche, who at one point advocated some form of "universal vaccines", has said that the Covid-19 vaccine makes your body create antibodies to fight only covid, rather than the broad spectrum antibodies it normally does, so by being vaccinated you are essentially becoming immune-compromised with regards to every other infectious disease.

I think we are very close to vaccine resistance right now. And it’s not for nothing that already people start developing, you know, new vaccines against the strains, et cetera.

But what I was saying is that, okay, if you miss the shoot, okay, you could say nothing has happened. No. You are at the same time losing the most precious part of your immune system that you could ever imagine.

And that is your innate immune system, because the innate antibodies, the natural antibodies, the secretary IGMs will be out-competed by these antigen-specific antibodies for binding to the virus. And that will be long lived. That is a long lived suppression.

And you lose every protection against any viral variant or coronavirus variant, et cetera. So this means that you are left just with no single immune response with your, you know, it’s none, your immunity has become nill.

It’s all gone. The antibodies don’t work anymore. And your your innate immunity has been completely bypassed and this while highly infectious strains are circulating.

Is this true?

As evidence of some notability: his theory has been taken up by some NGOs in Malayesia.

Also, he actually posted a somewhat different (toned down?) theory than the crude one above in a talk with slides; in the latter one he still claims natural IgMs are superior to any vaccine protection though because (he says) it's the natural antibodies which actually clear the virus. And he also/still says that (rather than causing complete immune failure) vaccines that create specific antibodies suppress this native immune system badly enough so that escaping/mutated virus variants can propagate.

Is this (perhaps less outlandish) theory more likely to be true?

  • 2
    Perhaps that can be answered on a biology site. The interviewee has a very callous approach: "those who do not die gain immunity" and "preventing hospitals from overflowing is short-sighted" (my paraphrasing). – Weather Vane Mar 12 at 18:12
  • 7
    It's not clear that this is really a notable claim. My search for "Geert Vanden Bossche" only came up with comments on news articles linking to the source you link to, and their own LinkedIn page. So...someone is maybe trying to make it notable, but it's all just word salad, and there's no way of verifying their LinkedIn information. Actually, on the link you give, they explain themselves that they weren't really working on vaccines for GAVI, but a "role of coordination", whatever that means. – Bryan Krause Mar 12 at 19:17
  • 1
    Also I don't think a question like this would do very well at Biology.SE. Answering it effectively requires an entire tutorial on the immune system, because there is nothing comprehensible in it at all to work from. Better to say "Uh, no, so here's how things really work" - and those tutorial questions are not on-topic. – Bryan Krause Mar 12 at 19:19
  • 2
    He does have his name on about 15 papers, but nothing since the 90s. I have found references to him presenting at many conferences. I'm inclined to believe his career references. I question his means of "publishing" this "paper". – Schwern Mar 12 at 20:21
  • 5
    What broad spectrum antibodies is he talking about??? – Loren Pechtel Mar 13 at 1:56

Some quick searches shows the author appears to be a legitimate scientist with published papers (however, none about vaccines), a speaker in the field of vaccines, and on the advisory board of Vaccines Summit-2021 (those are both conferences listed by the CDC). He's not a quack.

But the "paper" in question is just an open letter. It's five pages of speculation with no studies and no citations and no review.

He presented a better case at Vaccine Summit Ohio 2021, Why should current Covid-19 vaccines not be used for mass vaccination during a pandemic? slide deck. At this point the best which can be said is he has is an untested hypothesis. Which is fine, that's part of the process, but it does not warrant his public antics.

The doctor wants everyone to drop everything and listen to him, and they did at Vaccine Summit Ohio 2021! Yet he continues to side step the scientific process and make public pronouncements with little support. It remains to be seen if experts weigh in; his public antics are whipping up anti-vaxxers and it's difficult to sift through it all.

Possibly the most damning part of his statements is describing COVID-19 as "quite harmless".

I know, of course, that current mass vaccination campaigns enjoy vigorous and world-wide support from a multitude of different parties/ stakeholders. However, unless I am proven wrong, this cannot be an excuse for ignoring that mankind may currently be transforming a quite harmless virus into an uncontrollable monster. I’ve never been that serious about a statement I made.”

As of this writing, COVID has killed over 2.6 million people. By comparison influenza kills between 250,000 - 650,000 on an average year. Spun positively, he's trying to warn the world of an even bigger outbreak. Spun negatively, he's another "natural herd immunity" advocate callous to the casualties.

I did find one detailed response, Addressing Geert Vanden Bossche’s Claims by Edward Nirenberg.

The short version: ...His claims are speculative, he offers no evidence to support his arguments, and makes several comments which are blatantly incorrect. The core of his argument relies on the assumption that COVID-19 vaccines do not have a significant effect on transmission. This has been repeatedly confirmed to be false in multiple studies... The vaccines will absolutely be critical to ending the pandemic, and fortunately the modular nature of the technology allows for rapid reformulation and adjustment as necessary (and thus far, though precautions are being taken with novel variants to produce vaccines specific to their set of problematic mutations, there isn’t significant enough evidence to suggest that total reformulation of the vaccines is needed), but no issues raised in this letter warrant a re-evaluation of our current COVID-19 vaccination policy.

He goes on in detail with references. I'm not qualified to evaluate his response. Edward says he is not a public health expert, but it's the most detailed response I've yet seen.

Firstly, I am not a public health expert, nor an expert on COVID-19, pandemics generally, virology, infectious disease, or medicine.

I have a BSc in Biochemistry and I did a lot of coursework in immunology at a fairly high level and some labwork and journal clubs therein too.

See Also


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .