Anti-vaxxers are trying to create a new global infrastructure for the supply of unvaccinated blood, driven by conspiracy theories and pseudoscientific beliefs about the dangers of mRNA COVID vaccines.
SafeBlood Donation was founded by a Swiss naturopath, George Della Pietra, who considers global coronavirus vaccination campaigns to be “the crime of the century.”
He and his supporters believe, wrongly, that mRNA coronavirus vaccines “contaminate” the blood and destroy the immune system, and that unvaccinated people will be harmed if they receive transfusions of blood supplied by vaccinated people.
While traditional vaccines use inactivated virus proteins called antigens to stimulate the body's immune system, mRNA vaccines, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID vaccines, rely on a new technology that uses the genetic sequence of the antigen to trigger the body into producing antibodies.
The American Red Cross and other major blood collectors say that blood from people who’ve had mRNA COVID vaccines is safe for transfusion, and that while the vaccine is designed to generate an immune response, vaccine components themselves are not actually found within the bloodstream.
But fears about the new mRNA technology, Della Pietra claims, are making some anti-vaxxers wary of getting necessary medical treatment, and have created a demand for a reliable supply of unvaccinated so-called “safe blood.”
“I get hundreds of emails asking me, ‘Do you have blood [available], because I have surgery coming up in three weeks,’” he told VICE World News.
“We want to be a platform for people who want to have the free choice of blood donors,” he said. “Whether they think there is a real conspiracy theory going on, that the New World Order [is happening], or if they simply say ‘I just don't want it’ for whatever reason’.”
SafeBlood Donation’s campaign reflects a widespread belief among anti-vaxxers that their biological products will take on unprecedented value in an mRNA-vaccinated world. On social media, anti-vax activists have taken to calling themselves “purebloods,” while others speculate that sperm from unvaccinated men could be “the next Bitcoin.”
SafeBlood Donation, which has members in at least 16 countries, eventually hopes to open blood banks providing unvaccinated plasma for its members. But the group’s initial goal is to pressure hospitals and health authorities worldwide into permitting so-called “directed donations” of unvaccinated blood – through which recipients could nominate donors who hadn’t had COVID vaccinations to provide the blood directly for their treatment.
Medical authorities only allow directed donations in specific situations where it is medically necessary, such as to source a rare blood type, but refuse growing requests for “unvaccinated” blood on ethical and medical grounds. The medical consensus is that there’s no risk of harm from being transfused with blood from people who have had the COVID vaccine, with authorities such as the US Food and Drug Administration saying there’s no evidence to suggest “an increased risk of adverse events.”
SafeBlood Donation’s broader vision, if it ever succeeds in its unlikely goal of forcing changes to the existing regime around blood donation, is to create a new global infrastructure for supplying unvaccinated blood. This would involve national databases where people could source donors, affiliated clinics where the unvaccinated could donate and receive blood, and physical bloodbanks of unvaccinated blood.
Della Pietra, the group’s Zurich-based founder, said that the initiative was created to cater to the sizeable minority of people throughout the world who were opposed to taking the mRNA coronavirus vaccine – either because they believed it was medically harmful, or because of conspiracy theories it was a kind of global control mechanism.
Della Pietra personally holds both views, claiming that his own studies of vaccinated blood had revealed the COVID vaccine to contain horrifying “contamination.” “I've never seen blood like this. This was, to be honest, the main reason I started the whole thing, because when I saw this, I was so horrified,” he said. He also claimed that there was an agenda afoot to vaccinate everyone on the planet, which he believed was an effort to control the world’s population.
“The whole vaccination thing is from my point of view, mainly to do with controlling people,” he said.
In an attempt to build pressure on medical authorities to allow directed donations, SafeBlood Donation members are writing to authorities requesting them to change their policies. The group also advises its members who are due to have medical treatment involving transfusions to draw up “living wills” stating that they do not consent to receiving transfusions of blood from the general supply, naming unvaccinated individuals as direct donors instead – and threatening to sue hospitals if they don’t comply.
The group advises its members not to identify themselves as anti-vaxxers, “because then you are immediately ‘the enemy’” of the medical establishment.”
Members pay an initial joining fee of €50 (£43.62, $51.80), followed by €20 each subsequent year, and promote the initiative in nationally organised SafeBlood channels on Telegram, the messaging app popular in anti-vax and COVID conspiracy theorist networks. Della Pietra would not reveal the group’s membership numbers to VICE World News, but claims the group is gaining momentum.
“Once we have a large presence in most countries, there will be no getting around us – and let me tell you, we are well on our way to achieving that goal,” claims SafeBlood Donation’s website.
But medical experts spoken to by VICE World News suggested those efforts were unlikely to bear fruit. They said they are aware of growing requests for unvaccinated blood from anti-vaxxers in recent years, but were rejecting such requests.
“We have had a few requests for vaccine-negative blood and/or directed donations from unvaccinated individuals. We have said no to all of these requests,” Claudia S. Cohn, director of the blood bank laboratory at the University of Minnesota said in an email.
Michael Busch, president of the International Society of Blood Transfusions, said that he had been aware of such requests for more than a year. “It obviously started when the mRNA vaccines rolled out,” he said. But it was a longstanding policy of blood collection organisations worldwide not to provide demographic details like race, gender or age of donors, or information like their vaccination status, unless it had implications for the safety of the transfusion.
In the case of COVID vaccines, there was no evidence that the passive infusion of antibodies in transfused plasma caused any harm.
“We do not provide on the labels of blood to go to hospitals details that would allow them to, for example, issue blood from exclusively male or female donors, or black donors or white donors, or, in this case… vaccinated or non-vaccinated donors.”
In the UK, a spokesperson for NHS Blood and Transplant said that it did not not record whether blood was from an unvaccinated or vaccinated donor, and would not consider requests for direct donations of unvaccinated blood.
Directed donations were only carried out in order to save life in cases where matched blood was unavailable for people with extremely rare blood or platelet groups, not to satisfy patient preferences for unvaccinated blood. The NHS Blood and Transplant spokesperson said the organisation was in the process of updating its general policy to include a section on requests for direct donations of unvaccinated blood, and how they should be treated.