The American Red Cross has been at the frontlines of the Covid-19 pandemic for nearly three years. Currently, it is performing a critical role in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona, which ravaged the island of Puerto Rico.
But a recent exchange on social media has many unvaccinated people wondering if the American Red Cross is able to assist with a blood transfusion in the event of a personal emergency, while still respecting their wishes not to be exposed to the mRNA vaccines. In a word, that answer appears to be ‘no.’
“We don’t label blood products as containing vaccinated or unvaccinated blood as the Covid-10 vaccine does not enter the bloodstream and poses no safety risks to the recipient,” the Red Cross claimed. “If you have safety concerns about potential blood transfusions, please speak with your medical care team.”
The social media response appears to dismiss legitimate concerns about the Covid vaccines, while slightly overstating the claim that the vaccine “does not enter into the bloodstream.”
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A landmark peer-reviewed study published in September provides hard data on the serious adverse events of special interest [AESIs] of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines as determined in an independent “randomized clinical trial.”
“In the Moderna trial, the excess risk of serious AESIs (15.1 per 10,000 participants) was higher than the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group (6.4 per 10,000 participants),” the study found.
“In the Pfizer trial, the excess risk of serious AESIs (10.1 per 10,000) was higher than the risk reduction for COVID-19 hospitalization relative to the placebo group (2.3 per 10,000 participants),” the study added.
The AESIs with Risk Ratios higher than one [elevated risk] include coagulation disorder, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and myocarditis/pericarditis.
In a May 2021 “Science” article, a medical researcher explained how the Covid vaccine ultimately does wind up in the bloodstream.
“The Spike protein is not released to wander freely through the bloodstream by itself, because it has a transmembrane anchor region that (as the name implies) leaves it stuck. That’s how it sits in the virus itself, and it does the same in human cells,” Derek Lowe points out.
“The Spike protein produced by vaccination is not released in a way that it gets to encounter the ACE2 proteins on the surface of other human cells at all: it’s sitting on the surface of muscle and lymphatic cells up in your shoulder, not wandering through your lungs causing trouble,” Lowe added. “Some of the vaccine dose is going to make it into the bloodstream, of course. But keep in mind, when the mRNA or adenovirus particles do hit cells outside of the liver or the site of injection, they’re still causing them to express Spike protein anchored on their surfaces, not dumping it into the circulation.”
Thus, it appears that the Red Cross’s social media response is a bit of an overstatement on the vaccine not entering the bloodstream. It does not exactly engender trust to dismiss the public’s concerns and to post information that appears to be misleading.
There are millions of people who might need to receive a blood transfusion and have documented grounds not to fully trust the mRNA vaccines. It might behoove the American Red Cross to show that they care about those people, too.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.