COVID-19 vaccines may impact and potentially damage healthy innate immune systems and leave children vulnerable; COVID has spared our children, so why damage this innate system?

by Paul Alexander

My expertise is in evidence-based medicine, biostatistics, epidemiology, clinical practice guideline development, meta-analyses/network meta analyses, and research methodology. I do have a decent appreciation for immunology, virology, and vaccinology yet I am no purist expert. I find it a fascinating and interesting field and did feel that I wanted to weigh in on this emerging issue, given the importance of all that is unfolding re the vaccines, especially in our children. I am also disturbed given the vaccines were not properly developed and certainly not adequately safety tested. In fact, they were not safety tested even in a basic manner. I will always stand corrected if I do make an error and in this complex field and welcome any correction of my interpretations.

There is increasing recognition of the potency of the innate and naturally acquired/adaptive immune systems in confronting and defeating COVID-19 virus and disease. The innate immune system is critical for children and young persons who ‘come with it’ and it gives them a great start. They have depended on their innate immunity, their first line of defense, against a range of pathogen. It is so potent that children and young persons most often rely on it and pathogen are often vanquished at the level of the innate immunity, defeated before it can cause more damage. They often do not need to invoke the second line of immune defense in terms of the acquired or adaptive immune system (we know this as immunological memory). This is why children and young persons (and even some older persons) have no symptoms or even very very mild symptoms of COIVD given the potency and sterilizing nature of the innate. This innate immunity, separate from naturally acquired/adaptive immunity (natural immunity), is also comprised of antibodies and a cellular component e.g. innate antibodies and NK cells (as well as other components). The innate antibodies are non-specific and confer broad protection to a range of variants of SARS-CoV-2 and has protected children from COVID. As opposed to the antibodies of the natural acquired immune system that are antigen-specific, long-lived, and of greater affinity to the antigen. As mentioned, children typically exhibit no symptoms or very mild symptoms as their first line innate immune system is potent and capable of neutralizing the virus before it has the chance to breach, with the then reliance on the adaptive immune response (long-lived ‘immunological memory’ immunity).

In brief, recent indications are that the COVID-19 vaccines (vaccinal antibodies) may function to suppress the innate antibodies and as such may render children defenseless or vulnerable to other pathogen that their innate immune system would usually handle. Some experts argue that the vaccinal antibodies, given their high-affinity for the antigen, would outcompete the low-affinity, non-specific innate antibodies. Though there is debate and indications that the innate antibodies, while largely untrained and naïve, can be ‘trained’. Some experts even argue they can reside in a state somewhere between pure naïve and untrained non-specific innate to natural acquired antibodies that have long-lived memory. It is very fascinating. Moreover, a concern is that repeated boosting would also cause vaccinal antibodies to continually suppress innate antibodies (in children and young persons) and this could have the effect of leaving children continually vulnerable and could have devastating consequences.

Recent research findings raise concerning questions and are highlighted here as a means to drive debate and urgent study. Föhse et al. concluded that the mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine “induces complex functional reprogramming of innate immune responses, which should be considered in the development and use of this new class of vaccines.” More specifically, they reported “that BNT162b2 vaccination of healthy individuals induced effective humoral and cellular immunity against several SARS-CoV-2 variants. Interestingly, however, the BNT162b2 vaccine also modulated the production of inflammatory cytokines by innate immune cells upon stimulation with both specific (SARS-CoV-2) and non-specific (viral, fungal and bacterial) stimuli. The response of innate immune cells to TLR4 and TLR7/8 ligands was lower after BNT162b2 vaccination, while fungi-induced cytokine responses were stronger…inhibition of innate immune responses may diminish anti-viral responses. Type I interferons also play a central role in the pathogenesis and response against viral infections, including COVID-19.”

Liu et al. examinations showed constant pathophysiological alterations after vaccination with COVID-19 vaccines. They found “reduction of CD8+ T cells and increase in classic monocyte contents.”  Additional concerns surrounding the impact of vaccines on the immune response emerge form the UK’s PHE weekly reports where it was found that “N antibody levels appear to be lower in individuals who acquire infection following 2 doses of vaccination.”

The global research community and vaccine developers must work urgently to assess the impact of vaccination on the innate immune system as well as the naturally acquired immune system. While still nascent and evolving, any damage to the innate (or acquired) could have catastrophic consequences for the vaccinated and especially our children who depend on it as their initial immune defense.