February 28, 2024

Do the COVID-19 Vaccines Protect Against Severe Disease and Death?

The promoters of the COVID-19 vaccines repeatedly state that “the COVID-19 vaccines protect against severe disease and death” and, thereby, “have saved millions of lives”—-“so get vaccinated,” particularly if you are vulnerable. Many people, including physicians, have viewed this statement as a compelling argument for past and ongoing (booster) COVID-19 vaccination.

However, as Dr. Geert Vanden Bossche has more scientifically and accurately explained in his deep analysis of the complex interplay between the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the immune system, and the COVID-19 vaccines1 (a brilliant and critically important analysis, in my opinion), it is not the COVID-19 vaccines that have provided this protection, it is three main immune system adjustments to the vaccine’s failures that have provided this protection—-namely, the immune system’s production of PNNAbs (Polyreactive Non-Neutralizing Antibodies) and SIR-created antibodies (antibodies created via the Steric Immune Refocusing phenomenon) and the immune system’s heroic activation of CTLs (Cytolytic T Lymphocytes).1-9

The public and physicians need and deserve to know that, according to Dr. Vanden Bossche’s analysis, when the immune system recognized that the vaccinal NAbs (Neutralizing Antibodies directly induced by the vaccine) were failing (due to predictable natural selection and dominant
propagation of variants with mutations that rendered them resistant to vaccinal NAbs) and recognized that the vaccines had sidelined the CBIIS (Cell-Based Innate Immune System) of vaccinees, the immune system came to the rescue of vaccinees with the three above-mentioned immune adjustments, and it was these adjustments, not the vaccine, that has protected vaccinees against severe disease and death.

Some might argue that the above is “just semantics.” But I strongly disagree. This is an important distinction, scientifically and socially. According to Dr. Vanden Bossche’s careful and insightful analysis, the immune system, not the vaccines, deserves the credit for protecting vaccinees against severe disease and death. Failure to recognize this distinction gives the false impression that the mass vaccination campaign, on balance, has been helpful and has saved lives, when the opposite has been true.1-12 The mass vaccination campaign has put lives at great risk, which is why the immune system has needed to make the three adjustments in order to protect vaccinees from the harm done by the misguided mass vaccination campaign.1, 2, 5, 7, 9

Unfortunately, the mass vaccination campaign has prolonged the pandemic and made it far more dangerous.1-9 This campaign is responsible for the vast array of new, increasingly infectious “immune escape” variants, including a highly likely upcoming variant that will be extremely virulent when contracted by highly vaccinated individuals.1-9 Cumulatively, more lives will be lost because of the mass vaccination campaign than would have been cumulatively lost had the COVID-19 vaccines never been used.1, 2, 10, 11 Furthermore, it is essential to realize that the three immune adjustments are unstable, unsustainable, ultimately unhealthy, and will soon fail.1-9

Early in the pandemic, promoters of the COVID-19 vaccines showed great arrogance and revealed a simplistic and incorrect understanding of immunology when they claimed that their vaccines provided better immunity against COVID-19 than did naturally-acquired immunity
(immunity acquired through natural SARS-CoV-2 infection).12 This claim was misleading, harmful, and represented an insult to the immune system and to science. Now they are compounding their mistakes by arrogantly and incorrectly claiming that their vaccines have been heroically protecting vaccinees against severe disease and death. This, again, is a highly misleading and harmful message and represents an insult to the immune system and science.

It is important to be scientifically accurate and give proper credit to the immune system, lest the promoters of the COVID-19 mass vaccination campaign continue to get away with their simplistic and scientifically inaccurate claim that “the vaccines protect against severe disease and death.” This is not simply a matter of semantics. It is a matter of basing public health policy on an accurate and deep understanding of the interplay between the virus, the immune system, and vaccines.1, 2, 5-9, 13, 14

So, do the COVID-19 vaccines result in protection against severe disease and death? Directly, no. Indirectly, yes, but only temporarily, in a harmful way, with an unacceptable and regrettable price to pay in both the short and long terms, both individually and at the population level. More accurately and scientifically stated, it is the immune system, not the vaccines, that have been protecting vaccinees, temporarily. The immune system has been quietly, humbly, and temporarily protecting vaccinees from the immediate regrettable consequences of mass COVID-19 vaccination. This has given the false impression that the vaccines deserve credit for providing protection against severe disease and death and will continue to do so, if people get sufficiently boosted. But this protective effort by the immune system is unsustainable, unstable, harmful (at both an individual and population level), and will inevitably fail, because of laws of Nature. When a highly virulent variant appears, the wisdom of Dr. Vanden Bossche’s analysis and warnings will become clear.

The articles listed below (except for 10 and 11) are posted in the “Notes on COVID-19” section of Dr. Rennebohm’s website:

1 Dr. Vanden Bossche’s Analysis of the COVID-19 Situation---in a Nutshell

2 A Brief Summary of the COVID-19 Pandemic

3 An Armed Forces Analogy: The Immunologic Consequences of the COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Campaign

4 The General’s Memos—Simplified

5 Respecting the Immune Ecosystem---Slide-by-Slide Written Transcript.
(Also, the actual power point presentation may be found by going to the Table of Contents, “Notes on COVID-19” section of the “Notes From the Social Clinic” website.)

6 An Open Letter to Physicians and Physician Organizations /an-open-letter-to-physicians-and-physician-organizations/

7 How Has the COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Campaign Made the Natural Selection and Rapid Propagation of a HIGHLY Virulent Variant Highly Likely?

8 In Anticipation of a Highly Virulent SARS-CoV-2 Variant: An ADDENDUM /in-anticipation-of-a-highly-virulent-sars-cov-2-variant-an-addendum/

9 Video-Discussion: Clinical Implications of Geert’s Predictions

10 Mead MN, Seneff S, Wolfinger R, Rose J, Denhaerynck K, Kirsch S, McCullough PA. COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines: Lessons Learned from the Registrational Trials and Global Vaccination Campaign. Cureus. 2024 Jan 24;16(1):e52876. doi: 10.7759/cureus.52876. PMID: 38274635; PMCID: PMC10810638. (With 293 references.)

11 Rancourt D, Baudin M, Mercier J. COVID-19 Vaccine-associated Mortality in the Southern Hemisphere:

12 Rennebohm RM. An Open Letter to Parents and Pediatricians Regarding COVID Vaccination---Part I (Posted in March 2022, with 1078 references).

13 Eight Fundamental Principles of Science and Medicine


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Dr. Rennebohm is a pediatrician and pediatric rheumatologist.  He is currently largely retired.  In 2018 he officially retired from the pediatric rheumatology department at Cleveland Clinic, where he was also the Director of the International Susac Syndrome Consultation Service (2012-2018). Prior to that, he was at Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary, Canada, where he was Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Pediatric Rheumatology (2008-2012); before that he was at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where he was Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatric Rheumatology for 21 years; and before that he was a pediatric rheumatologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.

He went to medical school at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), at La Jolla, where he graduated with an MD degree in 1972.   He completed his Pediatric Residency training at IWK Children’s Hospital/Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  He completed his Pediatric Rheumatology Fellowship training at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center  He has been a pediatrician for almost 50 years and a pediatric rheumatologist for about 42 years.  

Although he is no longer in clinical practice or affiliated with a medical school or health care institution, he has continued his intense interests in pediatric rheumatology, Susac syndrome, and now COVID.  In fact, throughout the past 2 years he has spent many hours per day on most days of most weeks intensively studying and writing about COVID---because he has realized how profoundly important and complex the COVID situation is.

He currently lives in Seattle, Washington.  His clinical pediatrics activity is now limited to being on “first pediatric call” for his 9 grandchildren.

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