Vaccine adverse effects may be in our heads — a systematic review and meta-analysis

Vaccine adverse effects are a point of contention with anti-vaccine activists. They always seem to overstate their frequency and claim that it’s much more frequent than reported. On the other hand, many of us on the science side agree that the number of adverse events is vastly overstated, especially in the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), which is not a very good system for tracking these things.

Well, a new systematic review and meta-analysis, published in a respected journal, indicates that many reports of adverse effects in the COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials can be attributed to the placebo effect. As I like doing, let’s review this new paper.

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Fertility impacts of COVID vaccines and SARS-CoV-2 infections

COVID vaccines fertility

A new peer-reviewed article examined the effect of COVID-19 vaccines and SARS-CoV-2 on the fertility of men and women. Spoiler alert — the vaccine has no impact on fertility, but a COVID-19 infection lowers male fertility.

For some reason, one of the major tropes of the anti-vaccine world is trying to claim that vaccines have some effect on fertility. For example, I’ve written several articles debunking these claims about the HPV vaccine. I think they push these tropes about vaccines because it is an adverse effect that would strike at the heart of anyone thinking about the vaccine.

They have done the same thing with the COVID-19 vaccines — they want you to believe that they have some effect on fertility. But they’re wrong because we have even more powerful evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines do not have any effect on fertility.

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Hey vaccine deniers — yes, the COVID-19 virus does mutate

COVID-19 virus mutate

Some of the latest nonsense from anti-vaxxers is that “viruses don’t mutate” or “the COVID virus does not mutate in the unvaccinated.” They use this unscientific garbage to justify their own lack of vaccination or why the vaccine is useless.

Of course, most of us understand that those two statements are fundamentally wrong. I partially discussed this in a previous post that attempted to refute a common anti-vaxxer claim that viruses become less virulent over time. That claim wasn’t even close to the truth.

So let’s take a close look at these nonsensical claims from our anti-vaccine friends that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 does or does not mutate. (Note — for simplicity, I’m going to call it the COVID-19 virus just because fewer people are familiar with the term, SARS-CoV-2.)

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Pregnant women who get the COVID vaccine have better outcomes

pregnant woman COVID-19 vaccine

Another large study has been published that adds to the body of evidence that pregnant women who received had the COVID-19 vaccine have better outcomes for themselves and their babies. As I have written so many times, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective for pregnant women.

As you can predict, I’m here to write about that article so that you have it ready when you need to convince a friend, a partner, a family member, or even yourself that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the right and best thing to do when pregnant.

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Virus evolution — debunking anti-vaccine myth that they become less virulent

virus evolution

Apparently, a 125-year-old debunked idea about virus evolution has circulated around the anti-vaccine world. They believe that if viruses are left on their own, they always evolve to become less virulent to humans. That’s why they falsely claim that the Omicron variant is almost nothing and very soon SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, will evolve into something that we can ignore.

The old Skeptical Raptor is going to take a deep breath and hope he doesn’t lose any brain cells repeating that to all of you. Anti-vaxxers and COVID-19 deniers are wrong, completely and utterly wrong. It’s as if they never took a class on virology, evolution, or anything else germane to the discussion.

I know that any of you spending time reading this article are already listing out a dozen things that debunk this myth. Because we all know that first, that’s not how evolution works, and second, there are dozens of viruses that are known from the dawn of human history that have remained virulent over thousands of years.

Let’s take a look at this nonsense. Maybe I’ll give you some information to debunk some anti-vaxxer or COVID-19 denier nonsense.

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Meryl Nass – Robert F Kennedy Jr anti-vaccine acolyte – medical license suspended

Meryl Nass

Dr. Meryl Nass, MD, had her Maine medical license temporarily suspended for spreading misinformation about COVID-19. I might have ignored this one, except Dr. Nass has written misleading articles about COVID-19 and vaccines for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., one of our favorite anti-vaxxers.

State medical licensing boards are fighting back against COVID-19 disinformation, and Dr. Meryl Nass should have known better, but my expectations are obviously too high.

Let’s take a look at the case.

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Supreme Court rulings on Biden administration vaccine mandates — explanation

Biden administration vaccine mandates

This article about recent US Supreme Court rulings on the Biden administration’s proposed 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.

On January 13, 2022, the US Supreme Court, in two different decisions, struck down the Biden administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)’s Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) requiring employers to create a plan that requires employees to vaccinate or test and mask in the workplace and upheld a rule by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) requiring 15 different types of healthcare providers to vaccine mandates for their employees (subject to required medical and religious accommodations).

This post explains and analyzes both decisions regarding the Biden administration’s proposed vaccine mandates.

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“Flurona” — you need both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines

flurona

As I wrote before, this pandemic has given us a bunch of new terms, the newest one is “flurona” or contracting both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. It’s not a new disease, but it is worrisome since it could make our public health crisis worse.

This brief article will take a look at this flurona phenomenon and whether it’s something that requires concern.

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COVID vaccines slightly affect menstrual cycles but do not affect menses

woman wearing pink top

A new peer-reviewed paper showed that COVID-19 vaccines slightly and temporarily increased the length of menstrual cycles. The research also showed that the vaccine did not change the number of days of menses. The effects are so minor as to not warrant concerns about these vaccines.

This brief post is just going to lay out the data from the article and try to show that if you are a woman considering the vaccine, this shouldn’t be a concern.

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Increased risk of diabetes in children who have recovered from COVID

children diabetes covid

A new study from the CDC shows that children who have recovered from COVID-19 are at a significantly higher risk of type 1 or type 2 diabetes. I have written previously that COVID-19 might be linked to diabetes, but those studies were in adults. But this study shows that the risk of diabetes might be greater for children who had COVID-19.

This should be more reason for parents to make certain that their children are fully vaccinated against the disease. Diabetes is a lifetime disease that must be closely managed with insulin and, in the case of type 2 diabetes, various medications.

This post will review the research on children who have had COVID-19 and the risk of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

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