Fox News host Laura Ingraham continued her show’s running campaign against the COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday night, bringing on a guest to fearmonger that the vaccines are a “toxin” and dangerous to people who take them. In fact, experts have countered for the past two months that his arguments are misleading, and he is cherry-picking data from studies that show the vaccines actually working properly.
Ingraham introduced Dr. Byram Bridle, an associate professor of viral immunology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College in Canada, by claiming he found that “the spike protein produced by the mRNA vaccines does not remain in the shoulder muscle upon injection, but rather gets into the blood — and can, in some cases, lead to clotting, bleeding, heart problems, neurological damage, and more.”
Ingraham then played a clip of Bridle from May 27, in which he said: “We never knew the spike protein was a toxin and was a pathogenic protein. Was it accumulating in the ovaries, one of my questions is, will we be rendering young people infertile, some of them infertile?”
But a key thing to understand here is that Bridle has not conducted his own studies, but has reviewed papers from other people — and those same people say that he’s presenting their work completely wrong.
Two months ago, The Associated Press spoke with one of the authors of a study Bridle is citing, vaccine researcher William Matchett at the University of Minnesota, who said that Bridle left out key details of a paper that found small amounts of the vaccine-generated spike proteins in the bloodstreams of 13 health care workers.
“The spike became undetectable by 14 days after the first dose of the vaccine,” Matchett said, explaining that the study used a highly sensitive detection method. “After the second dose, they could not detect the spike protein in the blood of any of the participants because the participants had all generated anti-spike antibodies.”
Reuters also explained: “This is because the individuals developed antibodies to remove the antigen from the bloodstream, creating an immune response exactly as the vaccine was designed to do.”
Another study co-author, David Walt of Harvard Medical School, told Reuters, that “Bridle is taking our results and completely misinterpreting them.” He added: “The most important message is over 400 million doses of the mRNA vaccine have been administered with negligible serious consequences. It is incredibly safe.”
Jason McLellan, a structural biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, explained to FactCheck.org that the spike proteins encoded by the vaccines have a key difference from the normal spike proteins in the virus, which prevents them being able to change shape into their more stable form that fuses with the body’s cells. “The spike protein is not pathogenic. It is not a toxin,” McLellan said. “I have not seen any data to support what Bridle claims.”
FactCheck.org and Reuters both noted that Bridle’s claims have spread online through fringe media, including anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and white supremacist Hal Turner. Now, thanks to Ingraham, his anti-vaccine misinformation has been given a platform on Fox News’ prime time.