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The Threat of Self-Spreading Vaccines

It may sound like the plot of a science fiction movie, but U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded scientists have been secretly working on genetically-engineered live virus vaccines, which they refer to as “contagious” vaccines, that can transmit vaccine strain viruses through a population on their own. The vaccines are so contagious that only five percent of the population would need to receive the shot, while the other 95 percent would be passively vaccinated through vaccine strain infection, shedding and transmission.

A ”contagious” vaccine would spread swiftly as people come in close contact with body fluids of a recently vaccinated person, such as saliva or nasal secretions, like when a person sneezes or coughs and inhales droplets from someone infected with a cold or influenza virus.1 Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers in the United States, Europe and Australia are looking into the using these types of community transmissible vaccines in the future.2