Anti vaccine groups receive over $850,000 in pandemic bailout money

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On 18 January 2020, The Washington Post reported that several prominent anti-vaccine groups received over $850,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a government plan that provides loans to small businesses to assist in paying wages and certain other expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Generally, I don’t spend a lot of time discussing recent news events because real newspapers, like the Washington Post, do a much better job than I would. I wouldn’t even have thought in my wildest imagination that this bailout money would have gone to these groups that have only one purpose – reducing vaccine uptake so that more children and adults will suffer from diseases.

I find it particularly ironic that these groups, which are not only anti-vaccine but populated with right-wing COVID-19 deniers, would take bailout money that was expressly set up to help businesses deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When I read the article, I was livid. And I’m going to express my anger in this post, but I don’t think I’m the only person who wants to write the same things. So, this is like the old feathered raptor’s op-ed piece on this story.

Continue reading “Anti vaccine groups receive over $850,000 in pandemic bailout money”


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Massachusetts influenza vaccine mandate withdrawn – an analysis

Massachusetts influenza vaccine mandate
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This article about why Massachusetts withdrew its influenza vaccine mandate for children was written by Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law (San Francisco, CA), who is a frequent contributor to this and many other blogs, providing in-depth, and intellectually stimulating, articles about vaccines, medical issues, social policy, and the law.

Professor Reiss writes extensively in law journals about the social and legal policies of vaccination. Additionally, Reiss is also a member of the Parent Advisory Board of Voices for Vaccines, a parent-led organization that supports and advocates for on-time vaccination and the reduction of vaccine-preventable disease. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On August 19, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that the influenza vaccine will be required from all children “6 months of age or older who are attending Massachusetts child care, pre-school, kindergarten, K-12, and colleges and universities.”

The requirement was only for children attending in-person (not online) education and had a deadline of December 31, 2020. A lawsuit was filed against the mandate, apparently, according to the anti-vaccine organization Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), funded by that organization, and brought by the law firm they habitually employ, Siri & Glimstad LLP (In 2019, ICAN paid the law firm $1,263,432 for “legal services” out of over $3.4 million the organization took in as income, according to their 990 filings).

After the Massachusetts Department of Public Health pushed off that deadline to February, they decided to withdraw the influenza vaccine mandate on January 15, 2021.

The Public Health Department explains in a letter:

Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19. Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID -19 vaccination efforts. DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine each year.

ICAN is celebrating this as a victory of their lawsuit. We do not know which other considerations went into the decision, and the lawsuit may have had an effect, if only by adding to the already full plate of the department during a pandemic.

But the reality is that given the jurisprudence on vaccine mandates, and given the deference most courts show public health authorities during a pandemic, if there were good grounds to insist on the mandate, the department would likely have held its grounds. A number of other factors likely fed into the decision, including, as pointed out, a relatively mild flu season (in part thanks to public health measures against COVID-19), Massachusetts stated desire to bring children back to in-person education, which may have led the department to seek to remove barriers, and the need to focus on the COVID-19 vaccine effort.

Plus, it is mid-January. The benefit of being distracted by a fight over an influenza mandate this late is probably less than the harm to other important efforts.


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Anti-vaccine Peter Doshi attacking COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials

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One of the most annoying anti-vaccine activists is Peter Doshi. He is bothersome not because he a noteworthy scientist or physician, it’s because he somehow scored a position as an editor at the respected medical journal, BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal).

BMJ is not a hotbed of anti-vaccine pseudoscience, except for the presence of Peter Doshi. For example, they published a series of articles, written by Brian Deer, about Andrew Wakefield’s despicable deceit, you can read about it herehere, and here. Deer has also written a powerful book about Wakefield’s fraud. I wonder what Mr. Deer thinks of Peter Doshi as an editor at the acclaimed medical journal.

Doshi occasionally uses BMJ as his personal bully pulpit to push anti-vaccine rhetoric that can lead the casual observer to think that he is some respected authority figure with vaccines. He isn’t.

Peter Doshi has just posted an anti-vaccine blog post on BMJ attacking the clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.  His opinion piece needs to be critiqued because his attacks can add to the vast number of anti-COVID-19 vaccine myths that are being spread across the internet. 

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Andrew Wakefield is back and thinks COVID-19 mRNA vaccines change DNA

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The cunning fraud  MrAndrew Wakefield is back again pushing a new brand of anti-vaccine gibberish combined with a huge dollop of COVID-19 denialism. Of course, he would jump into the fray pushing debunked and discredited tropes about COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, because he has had nothing factual to say about any vaccine for twenty years. It would be delusional to believe that he would suddenly see the light about these new vaccines.

Of course, the anti-vaccine religion considers Andrew Wakefield one of their high priests, along with Del Bigtree and Robert F Kennedy Jr, all of whom appear to have the power of papal infallibility – whatever they claim is considered dogma, irrespective of science. Of course, Andrew Wakefield’s initial paper about vaccines and autism was retracted, and the overwhelming science debunks this claim.

Wakefield has become so discredited as a “scientist” that he has resorted to “publishing” his most recent gibberish, vaccines are causing the sixth mass extinction, in the discredited Journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), which is not indexed in PubMed. The AAPS is a far-right medical association that rejects most science about climate change, vaccines, HIV, and many other issues. In case you’re wondering, their leader, Dr. Jane Orient, is a COVID-19 denier. 

So, what has Mr. Wakefield said now? He’s repeating the debunked myth that the mRNA in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will change your DNA. No, they won’t. Here I go again, disputing more garbage spewed by Andrew Wakefield.

Continue reading “Andrew Wakefield is back and thinks COVID-19 mRNA vaccines change DNA”


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COVID-19 vaccines contraindications – CDC makes new recommendations

COVID-19 vaccines contraindications
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On 6 January 2021, the CDC has issued updated interim guidance for contraindications to Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. As I had discussed previously, the CDC had been focused on an ingredient in both vaccines, polyethylene glycol (PEG), that may cause allergic reactions. 

I think it’s important that the CDC and other public health authorities are transparent and speedy about these new COVID-19 vaccines to make certain that contraindications are widely known.

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Dr Gregory Michael dies after COVID-19 vaccine – what are the facts?

Dr. Gregory Michael
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Dr. Gregory Michael, MD, a Miami, FL OB-GYN, died a little over two weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  Almost everything that happens after someone gets this new vaccine is under the microscope by just anyone that has an interest in vaccines. 

Of course, anti-vaxxers jumped on the bandwagon after reading that Dr. Gregory Michael’s wife stated that he died because of the vaccine. Similar to the story about Tiffany Dover, who fainted soon after being vaccinated because she had a fear of needles and, of course, did not die, the anti-vaccine forces are doing everything they can to discredit the vaccine.

Dr. Michael was one of our brave healthcare workers who delivered babies during a pandemic. He was pro-vaccine, and that’s why he received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Let’s take a close look at what happened to Dr. Michael. Is there a correlation to the COVID-19 vaccine? Did the vaccine cause his death? 

Continue reading “Dr Gregory Michael dies after COVID-19 vaccine – what are the facts?”


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Steven Brandenburg destroys COVID-19 vaccines because they change DNA

Steven Brandenburg
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In between all of the bad news going on in the world, you may have missed the story of Steven Brandenburg, the anti-vaccine pharmacist who intentionally destroyed numerous vials of the Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, which had recently received an emergency use authorization from the US FDA.

At first, it was thought it was unintentional. When you are moving quickly to vaccinate healthcare workers and others against the deadly disease, maybe Steven Brandenburg, a licensed pharmacist, just got so busy that he left the vaccine on a table until it was too late. I have been involved with vaccines for a long time, and I cannot begin to count how many times people have spoiled vaccines because of forgetfulness, not understanding how it should be stored, or a plethora of other reasons.

Once it became clear what had happened, Brandenburg was fired by his employer, Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, and eventually arrested for destroying over 500 doses in about 53 vials of the vaccine. Maybe one could be excused for accidentally spoiling 5 vials of the critical vaccine. But 53 vials is strong evidence of criminal intent (note, I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on the internet). 

Steven Brandenburg was charged with felony charges of reckless endangerment and property damage, though prosecutors said the charges could be dropped to a single misdemeanor if the vials, which have yet to be tested, are still usable. He is out of jail on a $10,000 bond.

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COVID-19 vaccines pipeline – potential next emergency use authorizations

COVID-19 vaccines pipeline
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After the emergency use authorizations (EUA) were given for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, what is next in the pipeline? There are three vaccines that could be reviewed by the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) during the next few weeks that would provide recommendations to the FDA (and other national drug regulatory bodies) for EUAs.

The three vaccines I’m going to discuss are ones that have a reasonable chance of getting approved for use in the USA or Europe. This excludes COVID-19 vaccines from Russia, China, and other countries that rarely, if ever, get FDA approval for vaccines (see Note 1).

So, let’s take a look at what are probably the next three COVID-19 vaccines in the pipeline.

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mRNA vaccine myths – anti-vax lies about COVID-19 vaccines (UPDATED)

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This mRNA vaccine myths article will be updated frequently as new myths appear. To save you the time of reading the myths you already have, the table of contents will have NEW for new listings or REVISED if a myth debunking has been substantially updated. Please like, comment, and share this article, as I think it will be useful in debunking some of the nonsense that we’re seeing from anti-vaxxers. 

Also, please leave a comment if you come across mRNA vaccine myths that should be added here. And please, let’s not go down the rabbit hole of nanobots in this vaccine – there are no nanobots in this vaccine. Worry about Facebook on your iPhone if you think we’re being tracked.

Unless you have been hiding out in the secret cancer cure vault hidden in Greenland, you know that anti-vaxxers are pushing mRNA vaccine myths as the new vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna get closer and closer to launches in the USA and many other parts of the world.

These myths are more serious this time because we need to get herd immunity from vaccines (not from genocide). If we don’t vaccinate enough people, because too many people remain hesitant because of these mRNA vaccine myths, then we may be wearing masks for years.

I haven’t read all of the lies, tropes, and myths from the anti-vaccine crowd regarding various coronavirus vaccines, especially the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.

Right now, there are just a handful of these mRNA vaccine myths, but I plan to add to this article as new ones are uncovered. I’m going to do my best to cut off these lies as soon as I can.

Continue reading “mRNA vaccine myths – anti-vax lies about COVID-19 vaccines (UPDATED)”


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Unprotected sex and COVID-19 vaccine – another ridiculous anti-vax myth

Unprotected sex and COVID-19 vaccine
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And here we go again, another COVID-19 vaccine myth – you shouldn’t have unprotected sex after vaccination. I once thought that the HPV vaccine was the most hated by anti-vaxxers, but I think the COVID-19 vaccines are moving to the top of the list.

Before I get into the details, let’s go for the spoiler alert – there are reasons to not have unprotected sex, but getting the COVID-19 vaccine is not one of them. 

Like all anti-vaccine myths, it results from scientific amateurism from people trying to use anything to end vaccinations and spread diseases. It’s so frustrating, but it deserves a debunking.

Continue reading “Unprotected sex and COVID-19 vaccine – another ridiculous anti-vax myth”


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