Anthony Fauci knows why COVID-19 vaccines have been so unreliable at halting infection and transmission beyond a few months. He waited until he stepped down as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to publicly explain it.
Elsevier’s medical journal Cell Host and Microbe published a “perspective” led by Fauci’s office last month that shows NIAID had good reason to believe COVID vaccines would fail even before they were authorized, based on research spanning Fauci’s 38-year tenure leading NIAID.
U.S.-authorized COVID vaccines, overwhelmingly built on the novel mRNA platform, were designed to provide systemic rather than mucosal immunity, administered in arms rather than noses.
Critics of U.S. policy, including law professor Todd Zywicki, who secured a vaccine mandate exemption after suing George Mason University, have long emphasized that mucosal immunity — naturally prompted by infection — is the key to broad protection against COVID.
“I still run into people — even law professors who publish articles on Covid vaccines — who still know nothing about mucosal immunity,” Zywicki wrote in sharing a November study in The Lancet that found natural infection far more protective against reinfection than Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
The researchers speculated that “different roles of mucosal immunity” might explain the widening gap in protection after the second vaccine dose, given that vaccination “induces systemic immunity that might not be retained in the upper respiratory tracts.”