The Canadian CEO, Coronavirus vaccines, and fertility: Dr Hodkinson’s bad science

Jostling within the crowded fringe of ‘maverick’ doctors, scientists, medical personnel and wellness personalities who are fighting for a piece of the COVID-denying limelight is a British-Canadian pathologist and now company CEO, Dr. Roger Hodkinson. 

Hodkinson presents himself as a serious medical researcher, a believer in science and vaccines. He’s CEO and Medical Director of Western Medical Assessments who service the insurance industry, and of MedMalDoctors, advising lawyers and institutions in the field of medical malpractice. He’s also Executive Chairman of MutantDx, a cancer DNA/biopsy company, and of Bio-ID Diagnostics Inc. who, interestingly, developed a “fast, high-volume” COVID-19 DNA test early on in the pandemic.

Dr Roger Hodkinson, CEO: “I’m a Trumper!”

But despite these credentials and upfront claims that he’s not a “conspiracy theorist”, he calls the current global pandemic a “pseudo-epidemic”, a “pack of lies”, and believes that the virus was created on the orders of Anthony Fauci in China – a country we will soon be at war with. In case we’re in any doubt of his real position he is also a supporter of the widely discredited anti-lockdown Great Barrington Declaration, and adds in one interview “I’m a Trumper”, as he nods along with the interviewer’s claim that gravity is “just a theory”.

Hodkinson’s most recent warnings come in the form of several red-faced tirades against COVID vaccines, misusing the VAERS open reporting system to claim thousands of vaccine-related deaths, and in particular attempting to reinforce the fear that the vaccines will cause infertility, a long-held tactic of anti-vaxxers everywhere. But Hodkinson, according to himself, is not an anti-vaxxer, he believes in science! And he apparently has science to back up his claims.

So, what is this science? First he cites Pfizer’s pharmacokinetic report to the Japanese government on their vaccine’s injected lipid nanoparticles (“conveniently written in Japanese”), claiming that the lipids in question, which, he explains, contain the mRNA for expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, “located heavily in the ovaries” of its rat subjects. Hodkinson uses phrases such as “potential complications”, “we haven’t a clue what will happen”, and “this is theory based upon fact” both as plausible deniability and as the very core of his alarmist warnings. The vaccine trials, he says, only lasted four to six months, “but the last time I checked pregnancy takes nine months” (this is one of his favourite quips).

Furthermore, he claims the spike proteins which, he says, are “being produced in excess with these vaccines” could be attracted to both the placenta in pregnant women and the testes in males because both have a “very high expression of the ACE2 receptor for the spike protein”, and he continues, “there is attack by these vaccines on both the ovaries and the testes … that is happening”.

For someone who claims to have so many scientific credentials (which he always makes sure to cite), and who insists he’s just interpreting the science, he does an amazing job of misinterpreting that science, ignoring it completely or maybe even wilfully misrepresenting it.

The Japanese report has been leaped on by a range of anti-vaxxers to claim that either the mRNA itself, or the spike protein manufactured from it, are distributed all over the body via the vaccine to places it was never meant to go, including the reproductive organs. But in reality it shows what happens only to the constituents of the lipid nanoparticles on their own, with no mRNA cargo. Of the four biomolecules involved, two are “naturally occurring” and are expected to be metabolised and excreted according to well-known principles. The two remaining synthetic lipids were found to remain overwhelmingly at the injection site and then the liver, with remaining minute amounts distributed through various organs – including the ovaries and testes – accumulating slightly over a number of hours before becoming undetectable (mostly through excretion and hydrolysis) anywhere from between 48 hours to 9 days.

The European Medicines Agency’s report on the Pfizer vaccine summarised these results, saying “no evidence of vaccine-related macroscopic or microscopic findings were found in the ovaries in the repeat-dose toxicity studies and no effects on fertility were identified in the DART [Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology] study.” Similar results can be seen for the Moderna mRNA vaccine where “Quantitative Whole-Body Autoradiography (QWBA) confirmed the biodistribution of SM-86 [a structurally similar substitute lipid] and revealed no persistence of the lipid component in any tissue beyond 168 hours”.

The main point of all this is that the document alluded to by Hodkinson says nothing about the spike protein attacking any of the reproductive organs, and there is no indication from the report that anything accumulates there “heavily” or that anything unpredictable is happening in that area. It’s wilful alarmism and very far from being scientific to say danger exists because we don’t know what happens, when these things have, in fact, been studied and we actually have a pretty good idea of what happens.

Hodkinson’s argument that large amounts of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein are circulating through our body and attaching to the ACE2 receptors of cells in vulnerable organs after vaccination reveals his lack of knowledge of the science involved. Unlike infection from the disease – which does indeed run rampant through extremely vulnerable organs in the body – the vaccine is given intramuscularly where it can take full advantage of some of the strongest aspects of our immune system. The spike proteins formed from the injected mRNA have been developed so they remain in a pre-fusion closed state, and thus are unable to bind to ACE2 receptors – even if they did make it to the reproductive organs. But that is highly unlikely as most of the spike proteins don’t get any further than the membrane of their host cell, remaining anchored there where they are dealt with by the body’s immune system.

The amount of spike protein manufactured by the vaccines is dwarfed in comparison to what you’d get through a potentially life-threatening infection of the actual disease, in one instance calculated to be about “100,000 times lower than the levels of viral spike protein shown to cause harm”. Even the amount in the rats of that Japanese report is huge compared what people receive in the vaccine, with one science blogger calculating an average adult would require 91,000 vaccine doses injected all at once in order to receive an equivalent dose. Meanwhile peak infection from wild COVID is estimated to produce up to one-hundred billion virions, each with an average of between 15 and 35 spike proteins capable – unlike the vaccine – of binding to and infecting new cells. How is it that anti-vaxxers are now warning us about the dangers of the spike protein, yet also insist that COVID itself is not a real danger? These are completely conflicting positions.

Characterization of virus production and representative images of intact, authentic SARSCoV-2 virions. (A) Western blot analysis of SARS-CoV-2 S and N in lysates of VeroE6 cells and in virus preparations. In released virions, S is present in both cleaved and uncleaved forms. (B) Four representative tomographic slices of SARS-CoV-2 virions from the supernatant of infected cells. Virions are approximately spherical, contain granular density corresponding to N-packaged genome, and have S protein trimers protruding at variable angles from their surfaces. Scale bar 50 nm. (C) Three example S trimers from the dataset shown as projections through the trimer to illustrate the variable tilt towards the membrane. Scale bar 10 nm.
CryoEM image of SARS-CoV-2 virions and spike proteins

One of the main arguments from the “vaccine hesitant” is that the vaccines have been rushed into production and that we don’t know what dangers they might bring. This ignores several factors, including that mRNA vaccine technology has been researched and in development for over 20 years, that much was learnt from attempts to make mRNA vaccines for HIV, rabies, zika and flu, that huge funding was injected (if you’ll excuse the pun) into the program, and that developers had tens of thousands of disease cases at their fingertips for immediate study. The COVID vaccines went through the usual Phase I, II and III trials that all vaccines go through.

On top of that there has probably never been so much attention, follow-up and transparency over a medication before. With huge numbers being vaccinated, even extraordinarily rare side-effects have been picked up, namely a rare type of blood clot in the adenovirus vaccines (about a 0.0005% chance from a UK study), and mostly mild myocarditis in the mRNA shots (still being investigated, but possibly around 0.02% in younger men from Israeli statistics). These side effects were picked up by establishment scientists, not anti-vaxxers, and awareness has brought with it mitigating treatments that have helped lessen the severity. These numbers pale in comparison to what the actual disease can do to someone (for instance, the chance of clots is over a hundred times greater than the baseline level). As for the fear of any longer-term effects, the fanciful theory of many an anti-vax amateur, it is pretty much unknown for any vaccine to have an adverse effect that does not show up within days, weeks or months of the jab being administered.

And studies have not shown any negative effects of the vaccine in relation to pregnancy. One widely circulating scare story, which Hodkinson alludes to, is that the SARS-2 spike protein shares an amino acid sequence with the placenta, therefore the body’s immune system, once trained to attack the S-protein, will indiscriminately attack the placenta as well. This has been widely and easily debunked by real experts – the two proteins are completely different and will never be confused by our body’s immune system. Multiple studies have shown pregnancies have successfully occurred in both vaccinated and unvaccinated or placebo groups in equal numbers.

Compare this to infection from COVID itself – pregnant women are more likely to require intensive care if infected, more likely to be admitted to the neonatal unit, and more likely to deliver pre-term babies. Male fertility can also be impacted by COVID infection, most notably affecting sperm count and quality, probably due to inflammation caused by fever and probably only temporary (though research is ongoing).

Overall, the vast body of research shows that Dr. Hodkinson is wrong about the behaviour of vaccine-created spike proteins, wrong about their interaction with our biology, and wrong about research on fertility in relation to vaccines. As of this writing over 2.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered worldwide at a rate of over 36 million a day. The statistics show no major adverse effects and an unmistakable correlation between vaccination rates and the decline of COVID cases, hospitalisations and deaths.

Hodkinson’s anti-lockdown stance would lead to far greater mortality and long-term health issues across all ages, more stress on national health systems, and greater economic damage. The countries who locked down quickly and more fully have shown far better outcomes in health and economy, while those who resisted the science have suffered far greater casualties and more severe devastation to their economies as they limp from one half-hearted lockdown to the another. Anti-mask, anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination leads to worse outcomes and prolongs the pandemic, a situation that has already seen over 3.8 million deaths worldwide.

Conspiracy theorists – and that’s what Dr Hodkinson is – enthusiastically take up the weakest correlations and the most feeble of pseudoscientific theories to spread fear and panic. One could play that game with Hodkinson himself with such a mindset, readily believing that the Executive Chairman of a company that manufactures COVID tests might have a financial interest in keeping the disease circulating among a population of millions of potential customers, or that the CEO of a medical malpractice company would benefit greatly from desperate clients primed to believe their fertility issues were down to a vaccine that was apparently sold on a lie. But I don’t believe that really, it’s just “a theory based on facts”, to use Hodkinson’s own phrase.

It’s easy to fire off a barrage of plausible sounding scary soundbites to a ready audience of YouTubers, unregulated ‘alternative’ media outlets, and a whole range of eager grifters, charlatans, self-declared gurus and others who are taking full advantage of a scene they indiscriminately feed with unevidenced misinformation. It’s a far bigger task to answer these simplistic accusations with the actual science, filled with nuance and detail that can often be difficult for the non-expert to understand, and then to get those answers out to the public. The conspiracy theorists and COVID deniers know this, and take maximum advantage of it.

Dr Hodkinson interviews consulted:
Thomas Patrick Carrigan TPC #472: Dr. Roger Hodkinson (Covid Vaccines: Myocarditis, Infertility Concerns)
Anna Brees Brees Media – Dr Roger Hodkinson
Jose Hermosa (The BL) COVID vaccine’s ‘spike’ protein could cause infertility, warns Canadian scientist

The Pfizer Japanese report

Resources from the better-informed:

In The Pipeline:
RNA Vaccines And Their Lipids
mRNA Vaccines: What Happens
Spike Protein Behaviour

Ryan Cross (Chemical & Engineering News) The tiny tweak behind COVID-19 vaccines

Science Magazine Structure-based design of prefusion-stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spikes

Health Feedback Byram Bridle’s claim that COVID-19 vaccines are toxic fails to account for key differences between the spike protein produced during infection and vaccination, misrepresents studies

Health Feedback COVID-19 vaccines don’t affect ovaries or fertility in general; the vaccines are highly effective at preventing illness and death

Victoria Male (Nature Reviews) Are COVID-19 vaccines safe in pregnancy?

Victoria Male Explainer on COVID19 vaccination, fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding

The New York Times The False Rumors About Vaccines That Are Scaring Women

Fertility & Sterility (journal) Fertility considerations: The COVID-19 disease may have a more negative impact than the COVID-19 vaccine, especially among men

JAMA Sperm Parameters Before and After COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination

Reuters Fact Check – No evidence spike proteins from COVID-19 vaccines are toxic

David Gorski (Respectful Insolence) Antivaxxers and the “deadly” SARS-CoV-2 spike protein

David Gorski (Science-Based Medicine) “COVID-19 vaccines are going to sterilize our womenfolk,” Take 2

Edward Nirenberg (Deplatform Disease) Spike Protein Circulating in the Vaccinated: What does it mean?

Abraham Al-Ahmad (The Bood-Brain Barrier Scientist) Do nano-particles of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine cross the blood-brain barrier and infect your brain with mRNA (or will they fritz your gonads)?

Sabina Vohra-Miller vaccine/pregnancy infographic

Videos:
Drbeen Medical Lectures: SARS-COV-2 Spikes in Ovaries from Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine?
Potholer54: Covid vaccine causes infertility – Fact Check
Natalie Crawford MD: Covid Vaccine: Pregnancy And Placenta | Is The Covid Vaccine Safe In Pregnancy?

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