A video shared online has presented alleged evidence that COVID-19 vaccine recipients are experiencing “severe red blood cell damage”. However, haematologists told Reuters the evidence is not credible.
The allegations originated from a German video on Telegram (t.me/dominikstapf/115) and YouTube (here) that features an alternative practitioner called Bärbel Ghitalla (here) and a naturopath named Axel Bolland (here , here). In the video, Ghitalla and Bolland assess pictures allegedly showing the blood of vaccinated patients and express alarm at supposedly dangerous changes.
The clip is discussed in English by Stew Peters and Jane Ruby in a popular video uploaded to Bitchute (here), Facebook (here), Instagram (here) and Twitter (here). Peters is currently suspended from Twitter (twitter.com/realstewpeters) and Ruby has previously publicised debunked claims about magnetism and graphene oxide in the COVID-19 vaccine (here , here , here).
According to Ruby, Ghitalla said the blood smears of vaccinated individuals showed rouleaux, blood stacking caused when the vaccine changes blood cells’ charge to positive. Ruby did not state which vaccine the patients had allegedly received, but warned that rouleaux is usually found in patients with blood cancers.
She added: “The doctors and the lawyers in this video opine that this is likely the beginning of thrombotic activity (blood clots).”
Ruby said that Ghitalla was afraid for vaccinated patients when she took their blood because she witnessed “severe red blood cell damage” in structures she had “never seen before” and “cannot interpret” [timestamp 4.00 here].
However, these videos are not reliable evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous. Reuters contacted Ghitalla by email and asked if her findings had been accurately translated, which vaccines patients had received, whether her results were published and if she had relevant qualifications. She did not respond by the deadline given.
By contrast, blood specialists told Reuters that Ghitalla’s evidence was not sufficient to suggest a connection with vaccination.
Professor Marie Scully, a consultant haematologist from University College London Hospitals (here), said that rouleaux formation was merely a screening test that indicated too much protein. This could be due to infections, immune conditions and occasionally due to cancer such as myeloma.
“It [rouleaux formation] is non-diagnostic on its own and for any association with vaccination to be significant, it would require other abnormal laboratory or clinical parameters,” she wrote in an email.
A spokesperson for the British Society for Haematology (b-s-h.org.uk/) also said the claims were untrue, adding: “Most of the images shown in the video are not normal blood films. Some are electron microscopy, others look to be fluorescent, and some are unrecognisable.
“The fact that the speaker doesn’t know the difference suggests that she is not a medical doctor.”
Public health experts at the Meedan Health Desk (here) also previously said that current research has not shown a link between the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and blood clots.
Scientists have found a possible link between blood clots and non-mRNA vaccines such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson for some people, but the risk is low. Though rare, most cases of blood clots have been seen in women under 60 years of age within two or three weeks after the vaccine, Meedan’s experts explained (here).
Tom Wingfield, a senior clinical lecturer at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (here), also recently told Reuters via email: “More severe side effects, including blood clots, are extremely rare. For example, background rates of blood clots with low platelets, including blood clots in the brain, are estimated at 5 to 16 events per million people annually.”
Wingfield emphasised the robust evidence that SARS-CoV-2 vaccines were effective in breaking transmission chains of the virus and reducing Covid-19 symptomatic illness, hospitalisations, and death.
He wrote: “Indeed, in the UK, it is estimated that vaccine roll-out has already prevented tens of thousands of deaths. The best way to end this pandemic is to ensure that the global population has access to - and receives - Covid-19 vaccination.”
False. Haematologists told Reuters the evidence presented in the video is not credible and does not prove that COVID-19 vaccines cause blood anomalies.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .
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