COVID vaccines and infertility – study shows no effect on ovarian function

COVID-19 vaccines infertility

As a result of various tropes about COVID-19 vaccines, anti-vaxxers claim that the vaccine causes infertility. It does not, and now we have a small study that shows no effect on ovarian function that sometimes can lead to infertility in women.

The claims about vaccines and infertility are one of the go-to tropes of the anti-vaccine world. For example, they tried this nonsense with the HPV vaccine which was based on a retracted study, and they failed. They tried to claim that the tetanus vaccine caused “mass sterilization” in Africa, and they failed there too.

This time quacks like Christiane Northrop, a retired OB/GYN with no expertise in vaccine research, are trying to claim the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna will cause infertility. Anti-vaxxers are trying to use some seriously twisted “logic” to get from the facts about these vaccines to a major myth that somehow, in some magical way, these vaccines will cause infertility. 

Let’s get right to the point – no, they don’t. But let me give you the science.

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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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COVID vaccine mandates update – what a week of news

COVID-19 vaccine mandates

This article, which is an update about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, 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.

It has been an intense week for the discussion of COVID vaccine mandates, and a lot has happened. This post is simply a very short overview of developments. So here is what is going on this week.

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COVID vaccine math – it seems to be confusing the anti-vaxxers

a close up view of a vaccine vial on white background

I have been seeing the same old bad math from COVID-19 vaccine deniers that I’ve been seeing from anti-vaxxers for years. They don’t seem to understand the basic principle of “incidence,” that is the proportion of a population that contracts a disease.

I’ve heard and read several times the claim that more people contract COVID-19, despite having received the vaccine, than those who aren’t vaccinated. I sincerely doubt this math is true, it appears the number of hospitalizations for unvaccinated individuals far exceeds vaccinated individuals.

However, that doesn’t mean that zero individuals with the COVID-19 vaccine end up hospitalized. That would be bad math.

But what we’re getting to support these bad math claims from COVID-19 vaccine deniers is based on bias, avoiding the rate of incidence, and other issues. So, let’s try to clarify what’s going on with a couple of simple graphics.

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COVID vaccine deniers – 12 are responsible for 73% of anti-vaccine content on Facebook

COVID-19 vaccine deniers

The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) recently published a guide called the “Disinformation Dozen,” a group of 12 COVID-19 vaccine deniers who are responsible for the bulk of anti-vaccine information on social media. Some of the names are familiar (at least to me) and some are not that familiar (again, at least to me).

CCDH is one of the leading voices in calling out the anti-vaccine world, especially during this time of COVID-19 deniers. They have long pointed out that social media, especially Facebook, has become the major mouthpiece for these groups. And recently, President Joe Biden has called out Facebook for “killing people” as COVID-19 had evolved into the pandemic of the unvaccinated.

The Disinformation Dozen have a long history of grifting, lying, and anti-vaccine rhetoric. Of course, more recently, they have become committed COVID-19 vaccine deniers, while many of them are promoting evidence-lacking COVID-19 treatments like hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin. And according to CCDH, the Disinformation Dozen are responsible for about 73% of the anti-vaccine content on Facebook. That is disturbing.

Because I like to be an encyclopedic resource for anti-vaccine garbage, like my list of facts and myths about the COVID-19 vaccine to debunk deniers, this article will be a list of the Disinformation Dozen along with links to further criticisms of them, whether or not it was written by yours truly. I wanted to also update what platforms some of these people are still using for their propaganda.

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America’s Frontline Doctors anti-vaccine affidavit – expert analysis

America's Frontline doctors affidavit

This article, about America’s Frontline Doctors anonymous anti-vaccine affidavit, was written by Kelsey S Hollenback, a Ph.D. student in Systems & Information Engineering at the Center for Risk Management of Engineering Systems, Department of Engineering Systems and Environment, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, University of Virginia.

On reviewing America’s Frontline Doctors anonymous affidavit, part of a recent lawsuit over the COVID-19 vaccines, my first and most important takeaway is that, while Jane Doe apparently wishes to assert that she has discovered excess mortality associated with COVID-19 vaccines, what she describes in her affidavit bears absolutely no resemblance to how to conduct an actual such analysis.  Not even a little bit.

My second takeaway, which almost doesn’t matter given the first, is that, insofar as it’s possible to determine the methodology she used from the extremely limited description provided, that methodology is…flawed. 

Flawed in what ways? It counted more deaths associated with a COVID-19 vaccine than there are total deaths recorded in VAERS. It doesn’t account for differences between the CMS patient population and the general population. Depending on what criteria Jane Doe used to query the CMS claims database, she may have pulled patients receiving any vaccine, not just the COVID-19 vaccine; she may have pulled only patients receiving Moderna, or only Pfizer, or only Johnson & Johnson; she may have failed to pull patients receiving a no-cost or government-provided vaccine; and/or she may have oversampled patients at higher risk generally for all-cause mortality.

My third and final takeaway is that, while America’s Frontline Doctors affidavit does not in any way describe either a valid method for identifying excess mortality associated with the COVID-19 vaccine, doesn’t do anything at all to establish causality, and certainly doesn’t expose any cover-up, it does possibly reveal a serious HIPAA violation.

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America’s Frontline Doctors make false claims about deaths from COVID-19 vaccines

America's Frontline Doctors

This article about the anti-vaccine group, America’s Frontline Doctors, 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 July 19, 2021, an attorney named Thomas Renz, representing America’s Frontline Doctors, claimed that he has a whistleblower who has found that there have been over 45,000 deaths from COVID-19 vaccines and that he is filing a lawsuit over it.

In reality, in a badly founded lawsuit that started in May, America’s Frontline Doctors filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that included, among other things, a two-page affidavit by an anonymous person who speculated about the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) reports. There is no indication this person is a whistleblower, and the claims are, at best, speculative. 

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Indiana University vaccine mandate upheld by Federal court

Indiana University vaccine mandate

This article about the Indiana University vaccine 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 disease. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On June 21, 2021, eight students, represented by attorney James Bopp Jr., filed a complaint challenging the Indiana University vaccine mandate. On July 18, 2021, Judge Damon R. Leichty, from the federal district court for the Northern District of Indiana, appointed to the court by President Donald Trump, rejected the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction in a lengthy, thoughtful decision that made it clear the plaintiffs’ chances of success on the merits are very low.

The decision is important in setting the standard for reviewing constitutional claims against university mandates, in making it clear that a reasonable university mandate has a good chance to be upheld, but that public health authorities – or universities – do not have carte blanche to impose any requirements they want, but can legitimately act to prevent disease and improve safety. It thoroughly and intelligently addresses the scientific claims of the plaintiffs – and the approach to them. It examines the difference between a general challenge and a challenge based on a fundamental right like freedom of religion.

It does not substantially add to the discussion of whether universities can mandate a vaccine under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA); though it does address the facts of the EUA, it does not go into the legal arguments about the EUA law that were addressed in a decision against a Texas hospital. Nor does it directly confront the Indiana passport law,  likely because the university changed in mandate in a way that, according to the attorney general, did not clash with it.

Finally, the decision was 101 pages. I cannot summarize all of it in a reasonable-length post, so this has to be a short summary of what I think are the main points. But it’s worth reading. There is a lot of thoughtful, in-depth analysis in it I just don’t have space for. 

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Vaccine passports – Norwegian Cruise Line sues the state of Florida

vaccine passports

This article about blocking vaccine passports in Florida 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 July 13, 2021, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings LTD. (NCLH) sued Scott Rivkees, State Surgeon General and Head of the Florida Department of Health, challenging a Florida law that bans businesses from requiring vaccine passports. The lawsuit is in very early stage, but is well written and argued. Several of the arguments are specific to the cruise industry, but at least one would apply to any business. 

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Guillain-Barré syndrome may be linked to the JNJ COVID-19 vaccine

Guillain-Barré syndrome

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that the Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) COVID-19 vaccine may be linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a relatively rare autoimmune disorder. Unfortunately for the confidence in the vaccine, this follows up on several other missteps and potential cardiovascular issues with the vaccine.

Nevertheless, it is clear that the COVID-19 vaccines’ benefits, preventing the disease, far exceed the extremely rare risks.

Because there is a lot of confusion about Guillain-Barré syndrome and whether there is a causal link to the JNJ vaccine, I will try to present the facts as they are known today. Of course, things change, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet on 22 July 2021 to further discuss this issue, so stay tuned for more information.

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