Another major study shows the mRNAs raise the risk of coronavirus infection
The study, from Italian researchers, also contained very disturbing news for people who have taken three or more Moderna jabs.
People who received at least one Covid jab were about 30 percent more likely to be infected with Sars-Cov-2 than the unvaccinated, Italian researchers report.
The Italian study is the most comprehensive yet to show Covid shots raise the risk of infection. After the Omicron variant appeared, the shots performed even worse, with the jabbed at about 50 percent higher risk.
The peer-reviewed study also contained a surprising and frightening finding for people who have taken three or more Moderna mRNA jabs. Moderna-only recipients were 71 percent more likely to die from all causes than people who took only Pfizer jabs, a significant difference even after the researchers adjusted for age and medical problems.
Moderna’s jabs contain much more mRNA than Pfizer’s, so the finding highlights the question whether higher exposure to mRNA may drive deaths - and whether repeated shots increase that risk.
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The researchers published their paper in the journal Vaccines in August, but it has received no attention until now.
It is the latest research to come from a project to measure the safety and efficacy of Covid vaccinations in Pescara, a province of 300,000 people on Italy’s east coast. Over 90 percent of vaccinated people received either Pfizer or Moderna jabs for their initial regimen, and most people who were vaccinated at least one booster.
The researchers have access to vaccination and health-care records for the province’s residents, so they able to track new Covid infections, hospitalizations, and deaths while adjusting for preexisting conditions.
They found people who had received one or more jabs had a sharply higher risk of infection from 2021 through mid-February 2023. The risk appeared highest for people who had taken two shots, though that finding may be a statistical artifact.
(Just the way Pfizer and Moderna drew it up! HR of 1.27 translates into 27 percent higher risk in people who have received three or more shots.)
Crucially, the scientists also report all-cause death data, which American researchers typically don’t provide. In the paper’s appendix they offered a breakdown of infection and death rates by type of vaccine.
The finding is stark and surprising. After receiving two doses, Moderna and Pfizer recipients had roughly the same rates of coronavirus infection, Covid deaths, and all-cause deaths.
But after three doses, and even after adjusting for cardiovascular and other risk factors, Moderna recipients had sharply higher rates of death - both from Covid and all causes.
The finding is what researchers call a signal, or hypothesis-generating. In other words, it does not prove Moderna recipients are at higher risk than people who took Pfizer shots. It is possible that the two groups differ in subtle ways that the researchers could not parse.
Still, the finding is striking, especially since three-shot Moderna and Pfizer recipients were infected at almost identical rates. The difference is entirely in deaths.
Although health authorities say that Moderna’s Spikevax and Pfizer’s Comirnaty are basically identical, they actually are formulated in slightly different ways - and contain very different levels of mRNA.
Moderna’s core two-shot regimen contains 200 micrograms of mRNA, or 0.2 milligrams, while Pfizer’s contains 60 micrograms, or 0.06 milligrams. And each Moderna booster contains 50 micrograms, while Pfizer’s contain only 30.
As a result, three shots of Moderna contain 250 micrograms of mRNA, almost three times Pfizer’s 90 micrograms.
Is that difference enough to be dangerous? For now, no one knows - though studies do show higher myocarditis rates in people who have received Moderna’s shots.
(See that blue box at the bottom left? Moderna would prefer you didn’t.)
(SOURCE: Table S4 of the Supplementary Materials for this paper)
In discussing their results, the researchers glossed over the Moderna signal and instead highlighted the much more politically acceptable finding that overall Covid death rates were much lower - about 85 percent lower - in people who had received three shots than the unvaccinated.
However, that finding comes with a huge asterisk: real-world observational studies of vaccine effectiveness are subject to a bias called the healthy vaccinee effect.
Put simply, people who get vaccines tend to be healthier and have better access to medical care than those who do not. In addition, physicians often withhold vaccines from terminally ill people, figuring there is no reason to make them uncomfortable.
The healthy vaccinee effect was on full display in this paper, as the researchers reported that people who had received at least three Covid jabs had about a 70 percent lower risk of dying from all causes than those who hadn’t gotten any.
But strong clinical trial evidence - which is much more reliable than observational data - proves the Covid vaccines do not reduce all-cause mortality. Not even the vaccine companies claim they do. Thus the 70 percent reduction is simply a statistical artifact that remained even after the researchers corrected for the medical conditions they could observe, like diabetes.
In other words, even if the vaccines did nothing to reduce Covid deaths, one would expect expect the researchers to find they reduced Covid deaths by 70 percent, based solely on the healthy vaccinee effect.