COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths – UPDATED info about the new vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine facts

There are so many myths about the COVID-19 vaccine, I wanted to post some facts about the new vaccines which we can use for debunking purposes. I used to think that the HPV vaccine brought the most hatred and misinformation from the anti-vaccine world, but it’s clear that the new COVID-19 vaccines are their new targets.

This article will only focus on the five vaccines that I believe will eventually receive FDA or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval – the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ Janssen), and Novavax vaccines. I remain unconvinced that any vaccine made in China or the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will ever get approved by countries with robust drug regulatory agencies. However, if they are, I will certainly add them to a future iteration of this list.

I’m going to make this in a basic chart form for ease of use. I will link to supporting evidence wherever relevant.

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Reduced COVID-19 risk in healthcare workers after vaccines – real-world evidence

reduced COVID-19 risk

Three new articles published in the New England Journal of Medicine provided powerful evidence of reduced risk of COVID-19 in healthcare workers who received one or more vaccinations against the disease. Health care workers have a much higher exposure to COVID-19 than the average person, so this kind of data is extremely interesting.

I have written in the past about challenge studies, where the subjects are intentionally exposed to SARS-CoV-2 after receiving the vaccines. Many people, including myself, think they are unethical. However, healthcare workers, who are unintentionally exposed to the virus, function as a “challenge study” in that those who are vaccinated do not have to “wait” for an infection, it’s going to happen eventually.

It is also important to note that these healthcare workers are more frequently tested for the virus than the average person on the street. This alone makes the data even more intriguing.

These three articles describe the level of reduced COVID-19 risk after being vaccinated in a healthcare setting. The results should convince anyone that the vaccine is very effective.

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JNJ COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots – still safe and effective

jaj COVID-19 vaccine clots

Like the earlier story about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots, the JNJ (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine is being examined for a potential link to an extremely rare blood clotting disorder. The US Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have placed a “pause” on the use of the vaccine. They have not banned it. They have not recalled it.

Right at the top, I want to state that the JNJ COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective by any rational measurement. My daughters and their significant others all received the vaccine over the weekend after I recommended it, despite the blood clots issue.

I want to review what is happening here. I hope that it helps, in some small way, to allay the fears from this issue.

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COVID-19 mRNA vaccines “hack the software of life” – anti-vaxxers new myth

moderna hacks software life

In case you weren’t watching, anti-vaxxers are now proclaiming that COVID-19 mRNA vaccines “hack the software of life.” This results from the early hype about the Moderna vaccine when a Moderna executive proclaimed that their vaccines will “hack the software of life.”

Despite my having received the Moderna vaccine, I have found their hype machine to be quite annoying in the past. Worse, they decided to file documents proclaiming that the FDA will regulate their vaccine as “gene therapy.” Thank you, Moderna for making my life difficult in refuting nonsense about these COVID-19 mRNA vaccines and hacking the software of life.

Many of us have spent a considerable amount of time debunking the myth that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, from either Moderna or Pfizer, is gene therapy and does not hack the software of life. Whoever thought this was a good idea at the Moderna hype machine factory ought to find a new job.

So, once again, this article will debunk the myth about the Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine having anything to do with “hacking the software of life.”

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European Court of Human Rights upholds compulsory vaccination laws

compulsory vaccination laws

This article the European Court of Human Rights upholding compulsory vaccination laws 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 April 8, 2021 the European Court of Human Rights, in a 16:1 decision, held that the Czech’s Republic vaccine mandate did not violate article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects the “right to respect for private life”, because the mandate is within the range of reasonable options available to a country to protect the important interests of the general health and children’s best interests, and its interference with individual rights is proportional. 

This is an important decision, since it gives states leeway to enact mandatory vaccination schemes, within certain limits. The quotes here are from the summary, which, from my skimming of the full decision, captures the majority’s decision well. 

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COVID-19 raises erectile dysfunction risk – men, wear masks, get vaccines

COVID-19 erectile dysfunction

This should get men to start wearing a mask or getting the vaccine – there are some new data that COVID-19 increases the risk of erectile dysfunction. And not by just a little bit, by nearly 6X in young men.

In case you missed that, if you are young and male, you have a 6X increased risk of permanent erectile dysfunction after contracting COVID-19, even mild cases. If you need a reason to wear a damn mask, get vaccinated, and stay away from super spreader events, this should be it.

But, it gets worse. This data also indicated that erectile dysfunction is correlated to an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Men with ED are more than five times more likely to have COVID-19.

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Blood clots and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – the EMA weighs in

astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine blood clots

I have previously written about whether thrombosis (formation of blood clots) is linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – my conclusions were that they probably weren’t. However, governments and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are starting to make very concerned about an issue with this vaccine.

Recently, the government of Quebec recently decided that the AstraZeneca vaccine will only be used on individuals 55 years and older. Of course, this caused some parts of the anti-vaccine world to froth at the mouth claiming the vaccine isn’t safe.

Then, on 6 April 2021, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is reporting a plausible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and thrombotic events. I will discuss this in detail below.

I think that many of the adverse events that are claimed to be associated with any of the COVID-19 vaccines involve the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, which states that because one event precedes another event, they must be linked. It is entirely possible that thrombosis occurs after vaccinations because of random chance rather than actual correlation (let alone causation). However, thrombosis that is temporally associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine may be troubling.

Because the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is one of the four main vaccines (along with those from Pfizer, Moderna, and JNJ) to be given in the USA, Canada, the EU, Australia, and New Zealand, I want to make sure that the potential of a causal link to blood clots are given a thorough analysis.

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Physician vaccine payments – another “article” from James Lyons-Weiler

Physician vaccine payments

Here we go again, with another lame “research article” about physician vaccine payments from James Lyons-Weiler, one of the high priests of the pseudoscientific anti-vaccine movement. I try to ignore most of his nonsense, because it is nonsense, but I just couldn’t let this one pass.

So what is Lyons-Weiler up to this time? He’s trying to convince us that a physician can make millions by some illicit vaccine payments scheme. I’m sure that pediatricians who are driving beat-up 10-year-old Honda minivans paying off medical school loans would love to know about this, but much like the Big Pharma Shill Bucks™, in which gold bars are delivered to my front door every week, it’s a myth that circulates in the mind of the anti-vax world.

To be honest, Lyons-Weiler ought to spend more of his time hunting for Sasquatch – he’d have more credibility. But let me waste a bit of your time taking down this balderdash.

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COVID-19 vaccine may provide immunity to both the mother and baby

COVID-19 vaccine baby immunity

Pregnant women who receive a COVID-19 vaccine appear to provide immunity to the mother and the baby against the disease. This is an important reason for women to get the vaccine even if they are pregnant.

Several preliminary studies suggest that pregnant women who receive either the Moderna or Pfizer mRNA vaccine had COVID-19 antibodies in their umbilical cord blood. Furthermore, one of the studies also showed antibodies in breast milk, although this may not be as important as what was detected in the umbilical cord.

This post will examine some of the evidence that supports the fact that the COVID-19 vaccine may confer immunity to the disease for not only the mother but also the baby.

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COVID-19 pandemic flu season – very good news and some bad

COVID-19 pandemic flu season

The COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing but bad news, but the near disappearance of the 2020-21 flu season has given us one tiny bit of good news among a metric tonne of public health bad news.

Despite the weird and unfounded myths the COVID-19 deniers, the only reason why this flu season is so mild is because of the public health strategies to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s it – it’s nothing more dramatic than that. 

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