Monkeypox virus — what is it and is there a vaccine?

monkeypox

Massachusetts health authorities confirmed a case of monkeypox on 18 May 2022 after the CDC said it was monitoring the possible spread of the rare but potentially serious viral illness. The virus has spread in several countries and the CDC believes that the actual number of cases is being underreported because few physicians know much about the disease.

When I first heard about the novel coronavirus, I thought that the press was exaggerating and that the disease would disappear in a few weeks. Yes, I was wrong, very wrong.

When I read the first reports of a monkeypox outbreak, I decided to write about it because I was getting questions about the seriousness of the disease and if there was a vaccine for it. It is a serious disease, and as for the vaccine, it’s complicated.

So, let’s talk about monkeypox and potential vaccines.

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COVID vaccine development process – how it compares to “normal”

Back before the world of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine development process took a long time. Despite the nonsensical claims of the anti-vaccine zealots, the vaccine development process is robust and thorough. The safety and effectiveness of all of the pre-pandemic vaccines are settled science (read the article before you jump up and down screaming about “settled science”).  

However, the world of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that if we can save a few months or even years off the development timeline on a new COVID-19 vaccine, it could save hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of lives.

Of course, much of the optimism comes from experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the few rational public health experts who are willing to speak up in Washington DC. Maybe he has seen some secret data only available only to him and Bill Gates that supports this optimism. Maybe he just is trying to be the national cheerleader for healthcare.

I don’t know the real answer, but a lot of vaccine experts who have spent their lifetime studying vaccines, like Dr. Peter Hotez, MD Ph.D., have expressed dismay at how politics may “trump” good science.

So, this article will try to lay out the COVID-19 vaccine development process, along with the independent controls that make sure that all vaccines are safe and effective.

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Vaccine development process – how it’s usually done

vaccine development process

Back before the world of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine development process took a long time. Despite the nonsensical claims of the anti-vaccine zealots, the vaccine development process is robust and thorough. The safety and effectiveness of all of the pre-pandemic vaccines are settled science (read the article before you jump up and down screaming about “settled science”).  

However, the world of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that if we can save a few months or even years off the development timeline on a new COVID-19 vaccine, it could save hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of lives.

Of course, much of the optimism comes from experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the few rational public health experts who are willing to speak up in Washington DC. Maybe he has seen some secret data only available only to him and Bill Gates that supports this optimism. Maybe he just is trying to be the national cheerleader for healthcare.

I don’t know the real answer, but a lot of vaccine experts who have spent their lifetime studying vaccines, like Dr. Peter Hotez, MD Ph.D., have expressed dismay at how politics may “trump” good science.

So, this article will try to lay out the development process, along with the independent controls that make sure that all vaccines are safe and effective.

Continue reading “Vaccine development process – how it’s usually done”

HPV immunization herd effect — it’s reducing infection in unvaxxed

HPV immunization

Immunization against HPV (human papillomavirus) has had a positive effect not only on vaccinated individuals but also on unvaccinated females according to a new peer-reviewed study. And the unvaxxed can be thankful that more and more young men and women are getting their HPV immunization.

I am a large proponent of the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine because it prevents several different cancers. Unfortunately, this same study showed that the HPV immunization rate is still quite low compared to other vaccines.

Let’s take a look at HPV, the HPV vaccine, and this new research.

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Intercessory prayer in medicine — systematic reviews say it does not work

intercessory prayer

Intercessory prayer, where people pray for the health of someone in a hospital, has been studied for a while to determine whether it is effective. I keep reading that people believe it has been “proven” to work, but I have always been skeptical.

I didn’t realize that there are published studies about intercessory prayer, but I shouldn’t be surprised. There are even systematic reviews that examined the body of research — spoiler alert, there isn’t much evidence that it works.

If intercessory prayer works, I would want to rely upon that famous Carl Sagan quote — “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The indisputable medical evidence supports real medicine, not prayers. The prayer supporters haven’t even been able to provide ordinary evidence.

So let’s take a look at some of the science supporting or refuting the effectiveness of intercessory prayer.

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Baby food and autism — do the lawsuits and internet claims have merit?

baby food autism

For Facebook users, “targeted ads” are a way of life. I ignore them until I saw one from lawyers who were suing baby food manufacturers for causing autism. I guess that they weren’t getting anywhere with the trope that vaccines cause autism (they absolutely don’t), although the quack Del Bigtree continues to push the myth.

As I did for vaccines, I’m going to show you that baby food may or may not be linked to autism. There seem to be some problematic issues with baby food manufacturing, but that does not show a direct link to autism.

Oh yeah, one basic principle you need to understand — lawyers and judges do NOT establish science.

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ICAN lawsuit against CDC statement that vaccines do not cause autism

vaccines autism

This article about another ICAN lawsuit disputing the CDC statement that vaccines do not cause autism 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 diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On March 31, 2022, a federal district judge dismissed the Informed Consent Action Network‘s (ICAN) lawsuit demanding that CDC remove the statement that vaccines do not cause autism. The judge dismissed the lawsuit because ICAN failed to show that the alleged harms it claimed were caused by anything CDC did, or that removing the statement would fix the problem that they claim they identified. 

The claim never got to be examined on the merits, and for the purpose of dismissal at this early stage, the judge is required to treat ICAN’s claims as true. But it’s worth reminding readers that extensive data shows that vaccines do not cause autism.

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Increased risk of shingles after COVID-19 — time to get both vaccines

shingles COVID-19

A newly published and peer-reviewed study provides evidence that the risk of shingles (herpes zoster) increases after a COVID-19 infection. This supports numerous case reports that have been published that describe shingles in COVID-19 patients.

This post will examine the article. And this should provide you with more evidence that the COVID-19 and shingles vaccines are important to your health.

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America’s Frontline Doctors’ telemedicine physician loses licenses

America's Frontline Doctors

A physician who was prescribing ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine through America’s Frontline Doctors’ telemedicine website lost all of her medical licenses. The website no longer has a physician who can prescribe medications.

America’s Frontline Doctors is a group of people (many are not physicians) who have not, despite the name, served on the COVID-19 frontline, but who appear more as a political lobbying group,  and who have a history of claims without foundation.

Let’s take a look at what happened here just so you know how bad this organization is.

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Judge vacates CDC mask mandate in a problematic decision

CDC mask mandate

This article about a judge’s problematic decision regarding the CDC mask mandate 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 diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On April 18, 2022, Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a federal district judge in Florida, struck down the CDC mask mandate on public transportation. The analysis was highly problematic since it second-guessed the agency’s judgment on public health, ignored existing precedent and the natural meaning of the statute interpreted, and implied that COVID-19 is not a serious issue, discounting hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of cases of serious illness. It also analyzed the procedural framework in a way, not in line with the usual operation of administrative law. 

It is a strong example of judicial aggressive second-guessing of the political branches’ choices. And doing so in a way that will, literally, kill and harm people – and goes again the majority preferences. In any way, shape, and form it is a failure to fill the judicial role. 

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