Prof Jeffrey S Morris: Does a recently published paper by Peter McCullough and colleagues really “establish a mechanistic framework” for mRNA vaccine harm?

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Does a recently published paper by Peter McCullough and colleagues really “establish a mechanistic framework” for mRNA vaccine harm? https://sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027869152200206X This thread will explore that question.

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This paper proposes that distinct from COVID infection, mRNA vaccines suppress type I IFN leading to a cascade of deleterious downstream effects that lead to various pathologies they associate with vaccination based on VAERs report, claiming to “establish a mechanistic framework”


This long review article presents many details about various biological pathways, but their links to mRNA vaccines are almost wholly speculative. In some cases, they link to other vaccines, old mRNA technology, or COVID-19 infection, but are not directly linked to mRNA vaccines.

In fact, so much of their evidence is from papers on severe COVID-19 infections, not vaccination, much content in this article might be better suited to a paper pointing out potential downstream dangers of severe COVID infections rather than raising alarm about mRNA vaccination

A number of places in the article seem to make stronger statements linking mRNA vaccines to some of these processes, but they self-cite a previous review article by senior author McCullough and do not reference any primary biological research making these connections.

hey suggest connections of these mechanisms to various anecdotal case reports for herpes zoster reactivation, liver damage, optic neuropathy, T cell lymphoma progression, Hepatitis C reactivation, events not yet confirmed to be related to mRNA vaccination.

The paper amounts to laying out a series of hypotheses about mechanisms of harm that may come from mRNA vaccines. Hypothesis generation is a valuable exercise, including in this context of understanding downstream biological effects of vaccination that might induce harm.

However, not all hypotheses are equally justified. Some are well-girded in direct evidence from relevant studies, while others are more speculative and extrapolate principles from other settings, e.g. SARS-CoV-2 infections or other injected vaccines, as done here.

Indeed the speculative nature of their exploration is implicitly acknowledged by the authors in their choice of wording throughout, including “is plausible”,“one can speculate”,“might be a mechanism”,“one can hypothesize”,“it appears”, “we expect”, “could eventually lead to”, etc

It seems to me that rather than “establish a mechanistic framework”, this paper simply lays out speculative mechanistic hypotheses with little direct connection to mRNA vaccines. Hypotheses to validate, not principles to assume true unless disproven, as their conclusion implies


Their conclusion uses the classic “shifting the burden” trick, presuming that it is the responsibility of the scientific community to disprove their hypotheses rather than their responsibility to prove it. This tactic has been common in the pandemic.

The entire last part of the paper presents results from VAERs attempting to “strengthen” a causal link between mRNA vaccinations and broad classes of pathologies, including nerve inflammation, heart disorders, liver disease, thrombosis, neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer.

Their case for causation is driven by their claim that the mechanisms discussed in this paper represent “causal pathways”, the fact that most VAERs reports occur soon after infection, and that the vast majority of VAERs reports in 2021 are from COVID, not other vaccines.

This follows a line of argument used by others that the only possible explanation for higher VAERs reports close to time of injection is vaccine causation, ignoring that events immediately following injection are more likely to be considered vaccine related and thus reported.

They step through their chosen symptom categories and list what % of VAERs reports in 2021 were for COVID rather than other vaccines, supposing that high % indicates that event is “especially significant as a potential toxic effect of these vaccines”

Of course, this approach assumes that event reporting rates in 2021 do not vary across vaccine type, i.e. that COVID vaccines are not more likely to be reported to VAERs than flu or other vaccines, a highly dubious assumption.


I previously showed Medicare data posted by CMS whistleblower demonstrate equivalent death rates <14d after flu or COVID vaccination, which given orders of magnitude higher COVID death reports in VAERs implies much higher reporting rates for COVID vaccines

Here, from various negative control events I looked up in VAERs, we can see that indeed reporting is higher for COVID than other vaccines across the board, unless you believe that vaccines cause toothaches, urinary incontinence, Xrays of limbs, or baldness.

Results from several symptom categories demonstrates how their conclusions tend to overreach and ignore important confounding effects.


Here are nerve inflammation symptoms they analyzed.


One nerve inflammation symptom is anosmia. They claim this “clearly demonstrates” the spike injected into arm reached the olfactory nerve, ignoring that anosmia is common with COVID-19 but not linked to vaccine, and could be caused by previous COVID-19 infection, not vaccine.

Here are neurodegenerative disease symptoms they analyzed.

In presenting neurodegenerative diseases, they acknowledge that they take decades to develop, yet imply some sort of connection with COVID-19 vaccines rather than considering the higher numbers for COVID-19 vaccines might be from higher reporting rates for COVID-19 vaccines.

They conclude by suggesting these VAERs results reflect increased cancer risk from mRNA vaccination, citing their mechanistic hypotheses, in spite of the fact that cancer takes years to form, even after exposure to fallout from a nuclear weapon like in Hiroshima.

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Their suggestions that they have evidence that mRNA vaccines increase cancer risk and that their literature review in this paper indicate mechanisms of action further demonstrate the overreaching nature of the claims made in this paper.

Scientists have detected, validated, and characterized various minority harm risks of vaccines, including anaphylaxis/myocarditis for mRNA vaccines, and VITT/GBS for viral vectors. Detection, validation, and characterization of any other risk is critically important.

And deep characterization of the subgroups at highest risk of these serious complications, and of the severity and long-term effects of them needs to be highly prioritized research and considered in refining vaccination recommendations.

Studies like this one integrating information from existing literature to posit hypotheses explaining these harms and others can be potentially useful.

However, in my opinion, the purported “mechanistic frameworks” laid out in this paper lack documented connections to mRNA vaccines, instead linking them to other vaccines, old mRNA technologies, or COVID-19 infections and speculating connections to mRNA vaccines.

Additionally, their case for vaccine relatedness is built upon flawed VAERs analyses that link higher reporting rates with significance as potential toxic vaccine effect, ignoring that events COVID-19 vaccination might be reported more often, as strongly suggested by the data.

Bottom line is that unless these assertions are validated, they should be acknowledged as hypotheses to investigate, not principles that should be assumed true unless disproven. I have a feeling that is not how this paper will be represented and promoted on social media.

BTW these are the “highlights” listed by the authors at the beginning of the article. Read the article and ask yourself, “Are any of these points actually demonstrated in the article?”

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