Is the Pfizer mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 responsible for the surge of leprosy cases in Florida and elsewhere?!
Take a look at the viral claims, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Pfizer Vaccine Is Responsible For Leprosy Cases!
People are sharing an article on two leprosy cases after COVID-19 vaccination, claiming or suggesting that the Pfizer mRNA vaccine for COVID-19 is responsible for the surge of leprosy cases in Florida and elsewhere!
Steve Kirsch : OK, so here’s the deal: 98% of the patients who developed Leprosy had the COVID vax before they got the leprosy. Just a “coincidence.” Safe and effective!!! 😉
Emerald Robinson : The COVID vaccines have brought back leprosy! Thank you @DARPA. Thank you @NIH & FDA. Great job, everybody.
Dr. Colleen Huber : Another adverse event from the COVID vaccine. Injury to T-cells and Type I interferon has left the COVID-vaccinated vulnerable to leprosy.
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No Evidence Pfizer Vaccine Is Responsible For Leprosy Cases!
In this article, I will go through these claims, and show you what the facts really are!
Fact #1 : Retrospective Cohort Study Is An Uncorrected Proof
First, let’s start by referring you to the actual study – COVID-19 vaccination and leprosy – A UK hospital-based retrospective cohort study, so you can read it for yourself.
The study, which was published in PLOS on 4 August 2023, is currently in the uncorrected proof stage. This was highlighted in red at the top of the article. That does not mean it is wrong. It just means that the authors may still make corrections or changes to the article.
Fact #2 : Everyone In Study Had Leprosy
Now, it is important to point out that everyone in this study had leprosy.
In fact, only five out of the 52 patients were “newly diagnosed with leprosy”. The remaining 47 patients were diagnosed with leprosy earlier.
In other words – the study does NOT show that COVID-19 vaccination causes leprosy, or reduces a person’s immunity and makes it easier to get leprosy.
Fact #3 : Leprosy Is A Bacterial Infection
Now, I should point out that leprosy (which is also called Hansen’s disease) is a bacterial infection caused by either Mycobacterium leprae or Mycobacterium lepromatosis.
Leprosy is not a viral infection, and is not remotely related to the SARS-CoV-2 virus (which is a coronavirus), or the COVID-19 vaccines.
Fact #4 : Leprosy Is Slow Growing
In addition, leprosy develops slowly – the average incubation period is five years. Most people don’t notice any symptoms until a year later, with some only noticing symptoms 20 years after getting infected.
Generally, people have been infected for many months or years by the time they are diagnosed with leprosy.
In other words – people in that study would very likely have been infected with leprosy months or years before they received their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Fact #5 : Almost Half Were On Immunosuppressants
The study also pointed out that twenty-two of those leprosy patients (41.5%) were on a systemic immunosuppressant drug during 2021.
This is important to know, because leprosy patients are prescribed immunosuppressants like steroids to treat leprosy reactions and neuritis. In fact, this was noted in the second sentence of the article:
Leprosy reactions require systemic immunosuppression which is a risk factor for severe COVID-19.
This suggests that potentially those twenty-two patients had earlier been diagnosed with leprosy reaction and/or neuritis from their existing leprosy infections.
This shows just how common it is for leprosy patients to develop leprosy reactions, even without getting COVID-19 vaccinations.
Fact #6 : There Was No Statistical Analysis
As there was no control group, the authors could not conduct any statistical analysis to determine a causal relationship between COVID-19 vaccination and leprosy reactions.
This was pointed out by the reviewers and acknowledged by the study authors in their response (Word document):
We apologize for not including a detailed statistical analysis plan in the manuscript. We performed a simple analysis of the data due to the retrospective nature of the study and the absence of a control group.
We agree that a comprehensive statistical evaluation would be essential to establish a causal relationship between SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and leprosy reactions definitively.
In other words – the study did not show any causal relationship between COVID-19 vaccination and developing new leprosy reactions.
Fact #7 : Only Two Had New Leprosy Reaction Post-Vaccination
The study wanted to look at whether the COVID-19 vaccination could trigger a T cell response, which would provoke an immunological response to a latent (hidden) leprosy infection.
Out of the 52 people in the study, the COVID-19 vaccination status was only known for 50. Out of those 50 people, 49 were vaccinated, while 1 was not.
Out of the 49 people who were vaccinated against COVID-19, only two individuals developed new leprosy reactions.
Even if we believe that COVID-19 vaccination can trigger leprosy reactions, and take this result at face value, the risk of existing leprosy patients developing new leprosy reactions after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is only 1 in 25 people (4%).
Fact #8 : Thousands Of Leprosy Cases Are Reported Every Year
While some people have suggested that leprosy is extinct, or extremely rare, the truth is – more than 200,000 new cases are reported every year, in over 120 countries!
Even in the United States, about 150-200 new cases are reported every year, with many cases reported in Florida.
If COVID-19 vaccination makes you more susceptible to leprosy, there would have been a global surge in leprosy cases. There has been no such surge in leprosy cases.
In fact, the 2023 surge in cases in Central Florida appear to be localised in Brevard County, suggesting that leprosy is now endemic in that area, and has nothing to do with COVID-19 vaccines.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.
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