The Natural Medicine Industry Has an Anti-Vaccine Problem

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When I blogged about why I was getting vaccinated, I frankly had no sense of how big the anti-vaxxer community had become. Since then I’ve been privy to all sorts of crazy theories of what the vaccine will do and have been pointed to some of the articles on natural health websites that support those positions. Today I’ll dig into a Dr. Mercola blog which is filled with demonstrably false information.

Dr. Mercola

First, I’ve always liked Dr. Mercola’s stuff. I have no love for much of traditional medicine from NSAIDs that have cardiac side effects to surgeries that routinely cripple my patients. I’ve always considered Mercola a bit of a kindred spirit in that he often rages against the same things I find crazy about my own profession. However, recently I was sent an article about the COVID-19 vaccines that was so bad and easily disprovable that I couldn’t resist dismantling it here. Let’s dig in.

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A Link and a Head Scratcher

A reader posted a link to this January 12th article by Dr. Mercola: “How COVID-19 Is Changing the Future of Vaccines”. I won’t link to it here because it’s so full of dangerous misinformation that I frankly don’t want to give it any Google street cred. So if you’re interested in reading it, just Google it. Here are some picadillo’s from this piece:

  • This vaccine only reduces symptoms
  • This vaccine could have a concerning impact on fertility by causing a woman’s body to reject one of the proteins in the developing fetus
  • Because of an ingredient, this vaccine may trigger a fatal allergic reaction in many who receive it

Let’s take each of these and investigate.

Reducing Symptoms

This is a big one for many natural health websites. The claim is that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were only ever studied to reduce symptoms. Mercola’s article above links to another that says:

  • While vaccine makers insist any COVID-19 vaccine reaching the market will have undergone rigorous testing, the way trial protocols are designed suggests these vaccines will not have a significant impact on infection rates, hospitalizations or deaths
  • Shockingly, preventing infection with SARS-CoV-2 is not a criterion for success in these vaccine trials. The only criterion for a successful COVID-19 vaccine is a reduction of symptoms shared by both COVID-19 and the common cold

This is total hogwash. While I covered this in my last vaccine blog, I need to cover it again. The two available vaccines had trials that enrolled more than 70,000 patients. The purpose of the trials was to see if the vaccine reduced the number of people who got both mild and severe COVID-19 (the disease) compared to a placebo injection. To ensure that they had a valid way of determining who got the disease caused by the virus, both studies used rigorous criteria for diagnosing who got the disease. Those diagnoses were made blindly, meaning the doctors making them had no idea who had received the vaccine and who had not. They included multiple positive PCR tests and that the patients had symptoms consistent with COVID-19. While there are problems with relying only on a PCR test to make a diagnosis (1), a PCR test plus having the clinical symptoms consistent with COVID is a more accurate way to diagnose the disease.

Let’s take the Moderna vaccine. Mercola claims that the trial couldn’t determine if there was a reduction in hospitalizations. However, table 2 of the FDA approval document on page 12 clearly shows us this (2):

  • Cases of severe COVID-19: Vaccine group=0 and placebo group=30

On page 39 of the document, they define what’s meant by severe COVID-19 which is the above diagnosis of COVID plus one of the following: unstable vitals signs including low oxygen saturation, acute respiratory distress, organ dysfunction, or ICU admission. Meaning, these people didn’t just have the symptoms of COVID as claimed, they were also sick enough to be hospitalized.

Hence, in conclusion, this Mercola article is NOT accurate. The Moderna vaccine trial demonstrated a reduction in the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 compared to placebo.


Here Mercola claims that the vaccines are targeted against the spike protein of the virus. This is true. The spike protein is how this virus attaches to human cells. It’s also been conserved so far despite mutations, so targeting this with antibodies makes sense.

All proteins are made from amino acids. These building blocks have certain sequences. Mercola claims that the amino acid sequence of a protein used in building babies called syncytin is the same as the spike protein. Hence, if the vaccine causes women to create antibodies to this protein, then these women’s bodies will attack their babies. This would sound horrible if it weren’t just a wild guess.

A small part of the spike protein resembles a part of syncytin-1. But the sequence of amino acids that are similar in syncytin-1 and the coronavirus spike protein is quite short. In addition, these proteins are completely unrelated to each other, so there is no chance the body will confuse one for the other. In addition, if this were true, then we would be seeing infertility in people who had naturally developed antibodies to the spike protein because they recovered from mild COVID, which is not being reported. There’s a nice discussion of why this is fiction here. 

Severe Reactions to PEG

Perhaps the most ridiculous thing to place into an article with a January 12th publication date is that many people will likely get fatal reactions to a chemical used in the vaccine called PEG, which stands for polyethylene glycol. As of this morning in the US, 10 million people have received their first dose of these vaccines (2). Tens of millions have been vaccinated worldwide. The number of fatalities reported after vaccination is 1, which is still being investigated to see if that death has anything to do with getting the vaccine. That death occurred 16 days after getting the first shot, which makes a connection unlikely (4). However, even if it were causal, there is no drug you can take, including the Motrin you buy at the grocery store that has a safety profile of 1 in 10 million severe adverse events. For example, the NSAIDs you can buy at Target would kill thousands of people if administered to 10 million (5). These deaths would occur through GI bleeds, heart attacks, and strokes. Yet nobody thinks twice about popping a Motrin when their shoulder or back is sore.

Pointing Out What We Don’t Know Versus Stoking Irrational Fear

Some of the Mercola article above points out what we don’t know. For example, it’s reasonable to say that since these vaccines were developed under operation Warp Speed that the data is still being collected. However, the points made in this article are demonstrably untrue and being copy/pasted all over the Internet, eroding the public’s confidence in this vaccine. That’s just stoking irrational fear in people who will never have or take the time to double-check what they read.

The upshot? I still like much of what Mercola writes, but this article is clearly irresponsible. Given that he is trusted by many in the natural health community, he should retract this one.



(1) Jaafar R, et al. Correlation Between 3790 Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction–Positives Samples and Positive Cell Cultures, Including 1941 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Isolates, Clinical Infectious Diseases, ciaa1491,

(2) US FDA. Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory
Committee Meeting Presentation. Accessed 1/14/21

(3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Vaccines. Accessed 1/14/21

(4) Bloomberg. Pfizer Investigates Post-Vaccine Death for Possible Connection. Accessed 1/14/21

(5) Davis A, Robson J. The dangers of NSAIDs: look both ways. Br J Gen Pract. 2016;66(645):172-173. doi:10.3399/bjgp16X684433

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14 thoughts on “The Natural Medicine Industry Has an Anti-Vaccine Problem

  1. Lynn cole

    Sorry, once a doctor posts such demonstrably bad information….trust is broken.

  2. Tom

    Doc, you’re being too dismissive of Dr. Mercola. Please read his latest link:

    And please read the whole thing, including the rebuke of Corman-Drosten paper, which is the foundation of this so-called pandemic. In my opinion, we’re all being scammed.

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      I have already covered the issue of unreliable PCR tests here: I am a big critic of much of the reporting on the pandemic and have written dozens of blogs questioning the science, so this is not new info. On Mercola, what he wrote in that article on the vaccine is demonstrably false with a few quick Internet searches. Outside of that, I love much of his stuff.

  3. Annette

    Thank you for a responsible response and documenting it!

  4. Russell Creel

    I am a cautious person, in that I do my best to know what I’m getting myself into before I do it. With that being said, what have you heard regarding this doctor’s death.

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      That was discussed in the blog above. So let’s run the math. 50,000 people die each week in the US. There are 328 million people in the US. 10 million have been vaccinated as of yesterday. Hence, 3.28% of the US population has been vaccinated. 50,000 X 0.0325=1,625. So every week, we would expect about 1,000+ people who have been vaccinated to die of something. This doctor was 40. In that age group, about 1,000 people die each week. So we would expect about 30 vaccinated people to die each week despite being young. So while the CDC is investigating, someone dropping dead two weeks out from vaccination is not all that concerning. Meaning every week, dozens who have been vaccinated in that age group should be dropping dead from something. Young and presumably healthy people die all the time. How? Heart attacks, massive strokes, brain aneurysm, etc…

  5. Tom

    Doc, I have enormous respect for you, I really do. However, you keep dancing around the main issue here that was highlighted in the latest Mercola blog (which I think you only skimmed over, decided you already covered it, and want us all to move on). I won’t.

    From Mercola’s blog:
    “November 30, 2020, a team of 22 international scientists published a review18 challenging the scientific paper19 on PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 written by Christian Drosten, Ph.D., and Victor Corman. The Corman-Drosten paper was quickly accepted by the WHO and the workflow described therein was adopted as the standard across the world.

    “According to Reiner Fuellmich,20 founding member of the German Corona Extra-Parliamentary Inquiry Committee (Außerparlamentarischer Corona Untersuchungsausschuss,21 or ACU),22,23 Drosten is a key culprit in the COVID-19 pandemic hoax.

    The scientists demand the Corman-Drosten paper be retracted due to “fatal errors,”24 one of which is the fact that it was written (and the test itself developed) before any viral isolate was available. All they used was the genetic sequence published online by Chinese scientists in January 2020.

    “When Drosten developed the test, China hadn’t given them a viral isolate. They developed the test from a sequence in a gene bank. Do you see? China gave them a genetic sequence with no corresponding viral isolate. They had a code, but no body for the code. No viral morphology.

    “There have since been papers saying they’ve produced viral isolates. But there are no controls for them. The CDC produced a paper in July … where they said: ‘Here’s the viral isolate.’ Do you know what they did? They swabbed one person. One person, who’d been to China and had cold symptoms. One person. And they assumed he had [COVID-19] to begin with. So, it’s all full of holes, the whole thing.

    “The critique against PCR testing is further strengthened by a November 20, 2020, study27 in Nature Communications, which found no viable virus in PCR-positive cases at all. The study evaluated data from 9,865,404 residents of Wuhan, China, who had undergone PCR testing between May 14 and June 1, 2020.

    “A total of 300 tested positive but had no symptoms. Of the 34,424 people with a history of COVID-19, 107 tested positive a second time. Yet, when they did virus cultures on these 407 individuals who had tested positive (either for the first or second time), no live virus was found in any of them!”

    SO, WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE VACCINATING AGAINST? I’m sorry. It just makes no sense. I ain’t drinkin’ the cool aid.

    1. Chris Centeno, MD Post author

      Tom, I have been a huge critic of this insanity. In particular, I have already covered that our PCR tests are being run too many cycles. On excess deaths, they are quite real, but the death count from COVID is likely about half of what’s been reported. See and However, if you want me to take a low-risk vaccine to get us back to normal, sign me up!

  6. Margaret Martin

    Excellent point by point rebuttal of the article, Chris. Keep up the good job on providing facts over fiction and supposition. Received Vaccine #2 Wednesday and doing well.

  7. Dr. Dean Raffelock

    Hey Chris-Hope all is well with you and your family.
    I can’t speak for the “Natural Health Industry” so I’ll just speak for myself. I will not be choosing to get the Covid-19 vaccine. I’ve looked at the Covid-19 mechanisms as best I and my research team can and the key elements that makes it turn deadly seem to be upregulated NLPR3 inflammasomes, upregulated furin expression, and a significant increase in cytokine storms.

    From a “natural” point of view, melatonin, nitric oxide, and ascorbic acid all inhibit NLPR3 inflammasomes which as you know can cause severe lung damage. Ascorbic acid increases nitric oxide, reduces oxidative stress, regulates hypoxia, alters furin expression, stems the progression of cytokine storms and helps mitochondrial membrane potential. Plus there is what we know about the immune enhancing effects of vitamin D3, vitamin A, zinc, quercitin, and a host of Chinese Medicine and western antivirals. Don’t understand why infectious disease experts like Anthony Fauci don’t at least recommend D3, zinc, C, A and quercitin.

    I’ve never gotten a flu shot and have never had the flu…well a very mild case about 20 years ago gone in 2-3 days. For me personally, having genetic material with no long-term studies injected into my body just doesn’t make sense to me. The risk seems greater than the possible upsides. But just to hedge my bets I have a bottle of Ivermectin on hand

    Unlike Joe Mercola who probably needs to generate constant controversial content if for no other reason than to keep paying his army of attorneys, I have zero axe to grind with other people getting vaccinated. My wife may choose to so and I would not interfere with her decision. In fact the more unhealthy one’s lifestyle is the more one probably needs to be vaccinated. I’m hoping this year allows as many people as possible to get vaccinated if it helps us to get Covid-19 under control.

    I hope you and your family stay healthy and safe Chris. Say hi to John for me. Steph and I are enjoying living in Austin’s hill country.

    Warm regards,


  8. Tom

    Doc, I appreciate your sincere response. I learned a long time ago that the word “doctor” comes from the Latin word “docere”, meaning to teach. You are indeed a great teacher!

    I want you to know I am looking forward to meeting you in person one day soon. I have a very good friend of mine in Toronto who has a nerve problem in her foot due to a bad fall many years ago. She walks with a pronounced limp as a result. I keep telling her that if there is one person on earth who can cure her, it’s Doc Centeno. She already thinks you walk on water and there’s nothing I can do about that now. lol
    Stay tuned.

    Allow me to leave you with a parting gift. This is a short video by a fellow great teacher, Zach Bush, MD.

    May it leave you with goosebumps!



  9. Dr. Dean Raffelock

    This is the Eastern Virginia medical school hospital Covid-19 protocol. It’s more integrative.

  10. Sam

    Human coronaviruses undergo antigenic evolution that erodes neutralizing antibody immunity. To monitor for similar antigenic evolution of SARS-CoV-2, it is important to determine which viral mutations impact human polyclonal antibody immunity. Binding by polyclonal serum antibodies is affected by mutations in three main epitopes in the RBD (receptor-binding domain). The most important site is E484, where neutralization by some sera is reduced >10-fold by several mutations, including one in emerging viral lineages in South Africa and Brazil.
    Ever evolving flu wack-sins against ever evolving flu viruses? Bonanza for a selected few, accumulative risks for the public. Giving up civil liberty hoping for normality? Not in the land of the free.

  11. Daniel Green

    Dr. C,
    Thank you for addressing some of the anti-vax insanity coming from Mercola. I used to respect him for some of the same reasons you mentioned, but no longer. I have attempted several times to point out his blatant misinformation but he keeps it coming like fire hose on a 5 alarm fire. His disregard for what the data shows is bewildering and discouraging to me as a statistician. I don’t agree with all your conclusions, but in most cases you do a VERY good job analyzing the data!.
    Dr. D Green

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