COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccineiStock

A former senior Israeli researcher drew criticism from Israel’s Health Ministry Monday, after he condemned the Health Ministry’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the mass-vaccination campaign.

Professor Shmuel Shapira, who headed the Israel Institute for Biological Research from 2013 to 2021, and led Israel’s domestic coronavirus vaccine development program, has castigated the Health Ministry both over its push to impose lockdowns in 2020 and 2021, as well its support for the mass-vaccination campaign beginning in December 2020.

In a series of tweets, Professor Shapira criticized the Health Ministry for deeming Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines safe and effective, and lamented having received three doses of the vaccine himself.

“I am telling the unpleasant truth…about the vaccine that is neither effective nor safe,” Shapira wrote.

“I was wrong 3 times: In the first shot, in the second shot, and in the third shot. Who said that those who are injected do not admit that they were wrong?”

“People keep forgetting Israel was ‘volunteered’ as the Lab of the World. There was hardly any data but very brief and minimal size clinical studies.”

“A Global Disaster. Govt. Database Shows 10,000% Increase In Cancer Reports Due To Covid Vaccines.”

“The damage caused by the coronavirus and the halting of studies in Israel (second place in the world) reveal a wave of problems in reading comprehension. So we will explain to you slowly and in easy Hebrew. Hello First Grade: Those who are opponents and victims of injecting what is ineffective and unsafe are not opponents of vaccines, and certainly not vaccine deniers.”

In an interview with Channel 12 Monday, Professor Shapira said his criticism was aimed at mRNA vaccines specifically, not all COVID vaccines.

"I'm talking about the vaccine that Israeli citizens received, and some of the other [COVID] vaccines."

"I'm not saying that [the Pfizer] vaccine is completely 'fake,' but I am really not sure if you can consider it a 'vaccine,' and I really advise you to be careful about claims people have made that the vaccine saved many lives here in Israel."

"I learned in school years ago what a vaccine is. I am not sure that what we received - what I got - satisfies these criteria. It is something that gives maybe partial effectiveness for perhaps three months; a shot that has many side effects - and serious side effects, which people apparently died because of, though they are trying to obscure this."

When asked whether he believes the mRNA vaccines were responsible for deaths, Professor Shapira responded: "There are many, many reports around the world of heart muscle inflammation linked to this vaccine. Heart muscle inflammation can sometimes be fatal.

The vaccine "harms young people, and can cause serious neurological diseases. And, apparently - I want to be very cautious here because this is only starting to come to light - it can increase the risk of certain kinds of cancer."

While Shapira defended vaccines generally, he said that he regretted receiving the Pfizer mRNA vaccine.

"As the evidence builds up... it looks more and more like its effectiveness is low, and in some cases is non-existent, and its side effects are significant and serious."

On Monday, Health Ministry responded to Professor Shapira’s comments, tweeting that Israel’s former top biology researcher was lashing out at the mRNA vaccines out of bitterness over the failure of the Israeli vaccine program he led.

“The former head of the Institute for Biological Research spent many millions [of shekels] in leading the development of a vaccine. The development failed. Since then, he has launched a libelous campaign against the Health Ministry and against the vaccines which did manage to save many lives across the world. How very sad.”

Professor Shapira fired back in a statement, saying: “The Institute for Biological Research’s vaccine was found to be good and effective; it passed the first two stages of testing successfully, despite the bureaucratic delays and attempts to prevent it.”

“My criticism of the [Health Ministry’s] conduct during the pandemic and of the mRNA vaccines have absolutely nothing to do with the Institute for Biological Research’s vaccine. My criticisms stem from a desire to protect scientific integrity and a concern for the public.”

After leaving the Institute in May, 2021, Shapira accused the government of hamstringing efforts to develop and Israeli vaccine.

“I have recordings of government officials delaying us for months,” Shapira told Yediot Aharanot. “When senior official [Health] Minsitry officials told us that an Israeli vaccine is unnecessary, that already kind of held us back. We sensed a real malevolence, just evil.”