Antivaccine nonsense Medicine

The hypervaccinated man who should be dead (according to antivaxxers)

A man “hypervaccinated” with 217 COVID-19 vaccines has been in the news lately. According to antivaxxers, he should be dead (or in bad shape), but he’s doing fine.

It is an article of faith among antivaxxers that vaccines are harmful—deadly, even—and a corollary to that article of faith is that more vaccines must be even more harmful and deadly. According to antivaxxers, this assessment applies to all vaccines to one degree or another, but particularly to COVID-19 vaccines. Antivaxxers portray these new vaccines as uniquely harmful and dangerous, so deadly, in fact, that antivaxxers blame them for a nonexistent epidemic of people who “died suddenly.” Antivaxxers attribute these deaths to the vaccines, whether there is a close temporal relationship between vaccination and death or not, whether there is even a plausible link between vaccination and the sudden death or not. So, you’d think that a man “hypervaccinated” with an estimated 217 doses of COVID-19 vaccines should be dead, right? At least, if you believe that the vaccines are so deadly, then surely someone that “hypervaccinated” must either be dead or in horrendous health, thanks to the toxic brew (as portrayed by antivaxxers) in the COVID-19 vaccines.

Apparently, not, at least if a story and study that have been making the rounds are any indication. From The Washington Post yesterday:

German researchers have examined a “hypervaccinated” man they say received more than 200 coronavirus shots without any noticeable side effects or harm to his immune system.

Their findings, published Monday in the Lancet Infectious Diseases, a medical journal, indicate that coronavirus vaccines have a “good degree of tolerability,” the researchers said, although they noted this was an isolated case of “extraordinary hypervaccination.”

The 62-year-old man came to researchers’ attention when German prosecutors opened up a fraud investigation, gathering evidence that he had obtained 130 coronavirus shots in a nine-month period — far more than recommended by health authorities.

“We learned about his case via newspaper articles,” Kilian Schober, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “We then contacted him and invited him to undergo various tests. … He was very interested in doing so.”

Before I go on, let me just say one thing. I am extraordinarily pro-vaccine. After all, I’ve spent nearly 20 years combatting antivaccine misinformation nearly every day. Even so, however, I would never recommend that anyone do anything like this. I’ve had all the recommended COVID-19 vaccines and boosters for a man my age and will continue to be boosted as recommended as updated versions of the vaccine are released, which will probably from here on out be yearly, just like influenza vaccines. The thought of getting over 200 doses of any vaccine strikes me as over-the-top pathological, particularly in a time period that’s only a little more than three years, much less the 29-month period during which this man apparently did it.

Whatever the reason this German man sought to become so hypervaccinated, I do have to admit that he’s a great opportunity for research regarding COVID-19 vaccines. True, he would be an N-of-1 study, but, even so, studying him might provide useful information. So, of course, I had to head straight to The Lancet Infectious Diseases and check out the study., where investigators start out by noting:

Evidence for 130 vaccinations in a 9 month period was collected by the public prosecutor of Magdeburg, Germany, who opened an investigation of this case with the allegation of fraud, but criminal charges were not filed. 108 vaccinations are individually recorded and partly overlap with the total of 130 prosecutor-confirmed vaccinations (appendix 2 p 12). 

Holy moly! 130 of the vaccinations occurred in a 9 month period? Think about it. Nine months is a little over 270 days, depending on the specific months. This man was therefore getting vaccinated on average just under every other day during that time period.

Here’s the graph from the appendix showing the magnitude of how many vaccines this man (referred to in the study as “HIM”) received:

Hypervaccinated HIM
That’s a lot of. COVID-19 vaccines!

First off, the man appeared to be in good health overall, and the investigators proposed to study him:

To investigate the immunological consequences of hypervaccination in this unique situation, we submitted an analysis proposal to HIM via the public prosecutor. HIM then actively and voluntarily consented to provide medical information and donate blood and saliva. This procedure was approved by the local Ethics Committee of the University Hospital of Erlangen, Germany. Throughout the entire hypervaccination schedule HIM did not report any vaccination-related side effects. From November 2019, to October 2023, 62 routine clinical chemistry parameters showed no abnormalities attributable to hypervaccination (appendix 1 tab 2). Furthermore, HIM had no signs of a past SARS-CoV-2 infection, as indicated by repeatedly negative SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests, PCRs and nucleocapsid serology (figure Aappendix 1 tab 1).

So what we can say is that this hypervaccinated individual suffered no organ damage that could be picked up on routine chemistries, which can pick up injury to kidney and liver, at least, nor did he have evidence of muscle breakdown or autoimmune disease. While it’s true that one can never entirely rule out long-term injury or damage, we are talking about a period of over two and a half years. If there’s no clear evidence of injury now, it’s pretty darned unlikely that there will develop evidence of injury in the coming years.

Of course, the obvious question—besides why he did it—about hypervaccination, now that it has been established that this hypervaccinated man is overall in good health, has to do with his immunity? First, did all these vaccines result in “super-immunity” above and beyond what people vaccinated according to the recommended schedule achieve? Second, did hypervaccination result in damage to the immune system though overstimulation and resulting exhaustion? We know from other investigations that the researchers did that he had no evidence of current or past COVID-19 infection; so at least he appears to be immune to COVID-19.

The authors also found:

HIM’s serum neutralisation capacity was 5·4-fold and 11·5-fold higher compared with the control group vaccinees, for wildtype and Omicron B1.1.529 spike proteins, respectively.

So basically, HIM had higher levels of antibody against spike protein than vaccinees who had only had three doses, which is not particularly shocking. HIM also had detectable levels of antibodies in his saliva, while the control group of vaccinees did not, which would be expected to contribute to mucosal immunity(immunity due to antibodies in and on the mucosal surfaces, like the lining of the nose and mouth).

But what about immune “exhaustion”? One result of vaccination is that, in addition to antibodies, the immune system produces memory T-cells, cells with a “memory” of the antigen that lay dormant, ready to be reactivated by exposure to the antigen again, which stimulates their conversion into effector T-cells producing large quantities of antibody again. The researchers had speculated that having so many challenges with spike protein as the antigen might have “fatigued” HIM’s immune system, but they actually found that that didn’t happen. In fact, HIM had not just higher absolute numbers of effector T-cells but also higher numbers of memory T-cells than a control cohort who had received the standard three-dose regimen and that the T-cells functioned just as well as those in people who had had the standard number of vaccine doses.

Also, interestingly, HIM’s immune system appears to have kept its ability to respond to the vaccines intact. For example, during the study he insisted on receiving a 217th dose, which gave researchers a chance to draw blood before and after in order to measure his response to the vaccine. One of the investigators from the study has been posting to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, about the results, and here’s a taste:

Elsewhere, they noted:

The results showed that the individual has large numbers of T-effector cells against SARS-CoV-2. These act as the body’s own soldiers that fight against the virus. The test person even had more of these compared to the control group of people who have received three vaccinations. The researchers did not perceive any fatigue in these effector cells, they were similarly effective as those in the control group who had received the normal number of vaccinations.

Memory T cells are another aspect the researchers explored. These are cells at a preliminary stage, before effector cells. Similar to stem cells, these cells can replenish numbers of suitable effector cells. “The number of memory cells was just as high in our test case as in the control group,” explains Katharina Kocher, one of the leading authors of the study. “Over all, we did not find any indication for a weaker immune response, rather the contrary.”  In addition, even the 217th vaccination that the man received during the study still had an effect: the number of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 increased significantly as a result.

Overall, the authors concluded:

In summary, our case report shows that SARS-CoV-2 hypervaccination did not lead to adverse events and increased the quantity of spike-specific antibodies and T cells without having a strong positive or negative effect on the intrinsic quality of adaptive immune responses. While we found no signs of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections in HIM to date, it cannot be clarified whether this is causally related to the hypervaccination regimen. Importantly, we do not endorse hypervaccination as a strategy to enhance adaptive immunity.

Well, that’s a relief.

Of course, no pro-vaccine advocate advocates this strategy. As in all things in medicine, the idea is to find a dosing regimen that optimizes the benefits of a drug or vaccine while minimizing adverse events. What this study shows is that, in this one “hypervaccinated” individual at least, it was possible to receive huge numbers of vaccines without any apparent ill effects, either in physiology or attributable to organ damage, or on immune function. However, for any medicine, vaccines included, there can be diminishing returns that can cross the line into harms that outweigh any benefits from additional doses. HIM was clearly well into the territory of diminishing returns. The reassuring observation is that he had not, even after an amazing number of vaccine doses, entered the territory of suffering harm from too much medicine, in this case vaccines.

One longstanding claim by antivaxxers going back to decades before the pandemic is that vaccines “overstimulate” and thereby “exhaust” our immune system, resulting in injury to the immune system or even autoimmune disease. While it is impossible to generalize from one case report, it’s hard not to point out that, if antivaxxers’s fears about this phenomenon plausible and reasonable, chances are very high that this incredible example of “overvaccination,” in which HIM received around 36-fold more doses of vaccine than would be recommended for a 62-year-old man in the US, would have produced some evidence of injury to the immune system, immune exhaustion, or autoimmune disease. Yet, no evidence of such harm was found, despite HIM being studied over many months.

Indeed, HIM remained able not only to mount an immune response after COVID-19 vaccination, but also against other diseases:

Further tests indicated that there was no change to the immune system’s effectiveness against other pathogens. It therefore appears to be the case that the hypervaccination has not damaged the immune system as such. “Our test case was vaccinated with a total of eight different vaccines, including different available mRNA vaccines,” stated Dr. Kilian Schober. “The observation that no noticeable side effects were triggered in spite of this extraordinary hypervaccination indicates that the drugs have a good degree of tolerability.”

Indeed they do. Vaccines currently approved are remarkably safe, fear mongering by antivaxxers about them notwithstanding. Again, no one—and I do mean no one—is suggesting that being hypervaccinated to the degree that HIM was is a good idea. Nor is anyone claiming that HIM is a representative case. However, sometime in medicine case reports can be reassuring. Here’s a man who, according to be antivaxxers should be dead or, at the very least, suffering from a number of ailments, including autoimmune diseases, but is not. Quite the contrary. He seems to be just fine.

Not that that stops antivaxxers from spinning conspiracy theories about the man, who, if old press accounts are examined, appears to have come to the attention of the authorities because they were suspicious that he was taking the vaccinations and then selling his vaccine cards to people who didn’t want to be vaccinated. For example, one X crank wonders why he had regular labs drawn:

Ten blood draws in a more than two-and-a-half year period? That might or might not represent anything, but note that the labs are reported to have been normal or unchanged from baseline. This is just anomaly hunting that proves nothing.

More amusing is this conspiracy theory, hinted at in a typical manner used by conspiracy theorists who consider themselves too reasonable to engage in conspiracy mongering. Instead, they say something like, “If I were more conspiratorial, I might say…”:

Many conspiracy theories are possible here. A more conspiratorial blogger than myself, for example, might be inclined to wonder whether the vast majority of these injections ever happened at all. Such a blogger might wonder whether anybody had an interest in improving vaccine uptake numbers by shuttling homeless people around to various vaccination centres in Saxony so they could give their names and collect the stickers. Perhaps one of these homeless people cottoned on to the fact that all the certificates he was accumulating could be sold for fun and profit. The police investigated but found that the case threatened to embarrass important people and so they shelved it. In this totally baseless theory, it would not be surprising if our hypervaccinator did accidentally accumulate a few dozen injections by accident, which would explain his elevated antibody and T-cell numbers.

Of course, this very same antivax crank makes a huge deal out of the fact that HIM was investigated by the public prosecutor’s office for fraud and that investigation found at least 130 injections.

The bottom line, of course, is that, while no science-based vaccine advocate advocates being hypervaccinated in order to achieve more reliable immunity to COVID-19, this case report does provide one piece of reassuring evidence that the vaccines are so safe that even massive overdoses do not result in detectable harm, either to the individual or to the individual’s immune system. No wonder antivaxxers are spinning conspiracy theories about it.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

40 replies on “The hypervaccinated man who should be dead (according to antivaxxers)”

HIM was a fraudster. He went to get vaccinated, but presented identities of other people who did not want to receive the vaccine, for a cash fee. The point was that the “other people” would pay him to be recorded in the German system as fully vaccinated, without actually getting the vaccine.

He would visit different vaccination centers to avoid being detected, then he got sloppy and visited the same place for two days in a row.

I remember his story from two years ago:

Regarding HM never having had COVID, it is possible that he had it but did not seroconvert for N antibodies due to vaccinations.

Actually point was that all these vaccinations did not cause any damage. You shoud answer to that. Vaccine effectivity is another thing.

That’s irrelevant and you know it. The fact remains that he got over 200 COVID shots, and didn’t suffer from any of the ill effects you anti-vax liars keep screaming about. We all know that’s why you have to keep on changing the subject.

Details about HIM are sparse.

We know that he has suffered total brain damage (to the point of being found unfit to stand trial).

Other than that, besides some immune counts, the article does not give us a comprehensive picture of his health.

I hope that he is healthy!

Typical anti-vax lie: “Details are sparse, so we’re just gonna keep on blaming [whichever vaccine you hate most today] for any medical problems the patient is known/alleged to have.”

“Where did you get the idea that he had brain damage?”

I just asked Igor that as well, since too saw no reference to it anywhere else.

I have a feeling Igor just pulled his assertion out of his usual source, his rear end.

Eugyppius said that a paywalled report stated that the man was found “unfit to stand trial”.

Eugyppius said that a paywalled report stated that the man was found “unfit to stand trial”.

How convenient for you that there’s no way to check your supposed cite.

Eugyppius said that a paywalled report stated that the man was found “unfit to stand trial”.

So another liar and science denier (like you) claims that some paywalled report, unnamed, was found that claimed that. Do you realize what a pile of shit that is?

No, I’m sure you don’t. You are so deep into the fact-free conspiracies about vaccines that you look for any bit, no matter how obviously false, that supports your view.

I will admit I was wrong about one thing: you didn’t pull the statement out of your ass, you used one someone else pulled out of their ass.

Aside from the problems in a gird party claim that there’s a paywalled report (and if that’s true, you should likely at least link. Maybe some people here have access; or are you claiming the person claimed a report exist and didn’t link to it? If that’s the case, why do you accept that?), “unfit to stand trial” does not clearly mean brain damage. It could be the person was judged mentally ill, and there may be other categories.

So again, wishful thinking at best.

As was already stated perviously, this story is not new and has been extensively reported in Germany, before and after the case report was published.

Nowhere could I find any reference to HIM being “suffering total brain damage”. As Professor Reiss already stated, HIM would not have been able to give consent to the study if that had been the case.
So frankly, the claim of HIM suffering “brain damage” is unsupported by any evidence.

“and a corollary to that article of faith is that more vaccines must be even more harmful and deadly”: Orac needs to cite an anti-vaxxer to substantiate that this corollary is not just his. For all we know, anti-vaxxers may not agree that more injections = more harm.
HIM could be an medical outlier in the sense that his physiology does not respond to, or allow, more injections to cause more harm. For example, Mary Malloon, aka “Typhoid Mary”, was the first of many asymptomatic carriers – people who are unaffected by the pathogens they carry.
Also google, for example, “5 Stunning Medical Miracles That Doctors Can’t Explain” for people who suffer, but then recover, from lethal diseases.
Lets see if other over-vaccinated people suffer as predicted by the above corollary. Or not

“and a corollary to that article of faith is that more vaccines must be even more harmful and deadly”: Orac needs to cite an anti-vaxxer to substantiate that this corollary is not just his. For all we know, anti-vaxxers may not agree that more injections = more harm.

Of course, if you could find such an antivaxxer who doesn’t think that more injections = more harm, you would have cited examples. Sorry, dude. I’ve been at this nearly 25 years and blogging nearly 20 years. My characterization of antivaxxer attitudes comes from long experience with them.

HIM could be an medical outlier in the sense that his physiology does not respond to, or allow, more injections to cause more harm. For example, Mary Malloon, aka “Typhoid Mary”, was the first of many asymptomatic carriers – people who are unaffected by the pathogens they carry.

Aha! I expected that antivax excuse. Very predictable.

Also google, for example, “5 Stunning Medical Miracles That Doctors Can’t Explain” for people who suffer, but then recover, from lethal diseases.

Just for yucks, I did just that. This is some seriously thin gruel.

One of the “medical miracles” was a man who was a medical actor to help train medical students. One day, he pretended to have an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), and the medical student was surprised to feel a pulsatile mass in his abdomen. He really did have a AAA! The man underwent surgery to repair the AAA before it ruptured, and he was fine. The other “medical miracles” included a man who was in acute heart failure due to viral myocarditis that doctors thought wouldn’t reverse but who did unexpectedly get better. (This is rare, but happens sometimes.) Another was a woman who arrested during childbirth and underwent CPR for 45 minutes but still was revived. Again, this is rare, but happens sometimes. Another case was a child who survived an infection with a “brain-eating amoeba” that was 99% fatal. (Well, to be 99% fatal, that means 1% must survive, and this child was fortunate enough to be one of the survivors.

As for the man with the cancer that apparently underwent spontaneous remission, that one is hard to analyze given the lack of detail (e.g., specific kind of cancer, where it had spread, etc.), but the story doesn’t say whether he continued his chemotherapy or not. However, it sounds to me as though he did. He also had undergone a full course of radiation.

Guess what? Color me unimpressed with these stories.

Well, there is the fact that anti-vaccine activists like to present an (often dishonestly inflated) number of vaccines on the schedule as a problem, and their comparison – made, for example, by anti-vaccine leader RFK jr. – of the schedule in 1980 (misrepresented) and today’s as a problem, or their “four generations” meme.

This is a very commonly repeated trope.

I’m assuming that RLH is new to this….. given the anti-vax obsession with how many vaccine doses there are on current schedules, compared to how many there were when the pyramids were under construction.

From a public health/ normal person perspective this guy is two triangles short of a Toblerone for getting that many vaccinations, and a clear example of a person who ascribes to “if some is good more is better”.
From an immunologist perspective this is fascinating – the non-exhaustion! The B-cell clonality (or rather, lack thereof)! The T-cell leanings!
And that he just decided to get another while he was being studied, letting researches actively watch his boost response (something that I would never have thought he would do after having been investigated by the police), oh that’s so exciting!
I’m so glad that this guy was willing to give the investigators all those samples. Think of all the hypotheses that will be generated from this!

Next up: antivaxers who’ve been calling for an unethical long-term prospective health care study involving massive numbers of vaccinated and unvaccinated children, will now demand a huge study comparing people who’ve had 217 vaccinations within a short period of time with those who had none. Individuals who decline placement in the hypervaccinated arm will be derided as lacking faith in immunization’s safety.*

*someone like Steve Kirsch could offer $50K for every hypervax volunteer with little fear that enough people would take him up on it.

According to anti-vaxxers, HIM should have, from 217 doses, suffered:

Sudden death 216 times
50-foot long blood clots
Continual massive exfoliation/shedding of spike protein
Every known auto-immune disease
“Pathogenic priming” (AKA gibberish from Lyons-Weiler)
Infertility (ok, I concede researchers did not test this)
Graphene toxicity
Nanobots to the level of being a Borg
Magneto-level magnetism

re “50-foot long blood clots”

Broadcasters from the fever swamps of unreason I survey often cite 6 foot long clots and I question how even that could be. Where does it go?
The entire length of the leg and into and through the heart? Does it double-back on itself? And how would that form in a living person without interfering with everything as it forms? Or would it form instantaneously blocking all vessels? SRSLY
Lately I’ve been hearing ( PRN) about “white clots” to differentiate them from “regular clots” Could it be that they don’t know what the “white” ones are?

Eleven years ago, two adults with refractory leukemia were given ~ 10,00,000 times the dosage of antigen for the measles component of the MMR vaccine to see if the myelosuppression that can (very rarely) occur after a single vaccination. Both did fine with this dose, and one of the two went into cancer remission for at least 5 years ( )

Are we just going to blindly take this guy at his word that he’s still alive? He really should go to a doctor and get a proper diagnosis. As Igor has pointed out, he may have a history of committing fraud.

It is actually prosecutor’s word,and some doctors.
Taking one’s word that one is alive ? A case of self-defeating sentence. Think saying “1 am dead”.

Like me in the office, when someone called and wanted to speak with a collegue, who said he wasn’t there, so I said: “He says he isn’t there”.

I’m confused about the complaint above about blood draws. My doctor sends me to blood draws for a variety of things – sugar, cholesterol, blood count – every annual physical, and I’m younger than this man. She does the same to my husband. And Germany has a good, functional healthcare system, which I expect would prioritize preventive care. Why is that suspect?

Exactly! And even if the doctor is only looking for one specific thing, it’s likely that they’ll run a whole panel because it’s often cheaper/easier to just run the whole panel.
Like, if I just wanted to know someone’s white blood cell count, the Complete Blood Count instrument is also going to return their platelets and red blood cells and hematocrit because that’s what it does.

That’s a lot of chem panels in a four year period unless he was hospitalized. They must have been more than preventative. Probably kidney/liver problem of some kind.

The other item of note is that he doesn’t appear to have developed those “nasty” IgG4 antibodies either.

Let me get this straight. A known fraudster who helps people obtain fake vaccine cards is credited with over 200 jabs and nothing strikes you as odd about the story? At least you’re consistent. Another known fraudster (Pfizer—to the tune of over $10-billion in fines) releases a product with dubious efficacy and safety claims and you can’t stop promoting it, not to mention gaslighting anyone with the temerity to ask pointed questions. (JAQ-offs all, amirite? Everyone knows “science” is handed down from on high by priests possessing irrefutable stone tablets.)

“nothing strikes you as odd about the story?”

Says the credulous ninny who can’t stop spouting ludicrous antivax bilge.

Yes. He wasn’t worried about being vaccinated, so took the ‘hit’ in order to make money selling the certificates he thus obtained to others who didn’t want to be.

Not sure why you found that difficult to understand but, hopefully, it is clearer to you now?

you can’t stop promoting it, not to mention gaslighting anyone with the temerity to ask pointed questions. (JAQ-offs all, amirite?

People have asked pointed questions — scientists and researchers wordwide. It’s just that people with zero understanding and less willingness to learn, like you, don’t like the answers. Saying you repeatedly lie and misrepresent things isn’t gaslighting: it’s giving an accurate description of you and what you do.

Everyone knows “science” is handed down from on high by priests possessing irrefutable stone tablets.)

No, that’s just a common bit of deflection liars and anti-science activists like you toss out.

Odd how those who are religiously devout and/or prone to take matters of science on faith rather than rigorous analysis, think that it’s a crushing insult to refer to evidence-based folks as “religious”.

Chaos Infarction is just mad he/she didn’t find one of these people to get a card from rather than lose that job at the local sewage treatment plant.

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