The value of childhood vaccines — saving lives and money

childhood vaccines

Those of us who support vaccines have long known that the value of childhood vaccines is incredible. It saves lives. It prevents hospitalizations. And it saves money.

Now there is a peer-reviewed paper that examined the value of the childhood vaccines program for children in the 2017 US birth cohort. And it confirms what we all knew, vaccines prevent dangerous illnesses, vaccines save lives, and vaccines are beneficial to our society.

I want to briefly review the paper and then reiterate the value of childhood vaccines not only for the lives of the children but for society at large.

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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.

Continue reading “Baby food and autism — do the lawsuits and internet claims have merit?”

BCG diabetes vaccine — beginning pediatric phase 2 clinical trials

BCG diabetes vaccine

A pediatric phase 2 clinical trial using bacillus Calmette-Guerin vaccine, or BCG vaccine, to reverse even advanced type 1 diabetes mellitus has begun. Type 1 diabetes is considered irreversible, so if phase 2 and 3 clinical trials show that the vaccine is safe and effective in reversing diabetes, it would be one of the most important advances in medicine.

Let’s take a look at what is type 1 diabetes (since a lot of people confuse it with type 2 diabetes), the clinical trial, and other information. Maybe one of you is close enough to the trial centers so that you may, if you have type 1 diabetes, can sign up to participate in the trial.

I am very hopeful about this clinical trial, but I also know that it will take many years before we know if it works.

Continue reading “BCG diabetes vaccine — beginning pediatric phase 2 clinical trials”

New evidence — new pediatric diabetes cases spiked during COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 diabetes

I have written other articles about the link between COVID-19 and diabetes, and now a new study has been published that shows an increase in new diagnoses of type 1 diabetes among children at one institution. Although it only included data from one healthcare institution, it represents more troubling data that COVID-19 may be closely linked to new cases of type 1 diabetes.

Let’s take a look at this new paper and determine what it tells us.

Continue reading “New evidence — new pediatric diabetes cases spiked during COVID-19 pandemic”

COVID vaccine safety and effectiveness for 5-11-year-olds

woman holding sign

On 30 December 2021, the Centers for Disease Protection and Control (CDC) released two studies on COVID-19 vaccine safety for 5-11-year-olds that showed that there were few serious safety issues and showed that the vaccines prevented serious illness and hospitalization.

These two studies provide strong evidence for COVID-19 vaccine safety and effectiveness for children and should provide confidence for parents to make sure their children get the vaccine.

This post will examine these peer-reviewed articles and pull out the key data for the reader.

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Pfizer COVID pediatric vaccine will require a third dose during clinical trials

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On 17 December 2021, Pfizer stated that trials for its pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 2 to 5 show that it did not provide the expected immunity. Therefore, it is adding a third dose to the clinical trial, and it will probably mean a significant delay in getting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the COVID-19 vaccine for that age group.

Pfizer, after its independentData and Safety Monitoring Board examined the data, decided to add the third dose for all children and babes, ages 6 months to 5 years, that were included in the clinical trial. Apparently, the data showed that the two pediatric-sized doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were not producing the expected immunity in the 2- to 5-year-old group. Although they did not have the data for babies up to two years old, they decided to add the booster to them.

person getting vaccinated Pfizer COVID pediatric vaccine
Photo by Gustavo Fring on Pexels.com

The Pfizer pediatric vaccine includes a 3 microgram (µg) dose as opposed to the 10 µg dose for individuals 5-12 years old, and a 30 µg dose for those older than 12-years-old. Pfizer said that the third 3 µg dose will be given at least two months after the second dose in the two-dose series that was included in the original clinical trial protocol.

The independent Data and Safety Monitoring Board, which can see clinical trial data without giving details to the company or investigators, also indicated that there were “no safety concerns were identified and the 3 microgram dose demonstrated a favorable safety profile in children 6 months to under 5 years of age.” This should assure anyone that a third dose will not bring up any safety issues.

person holding test tubes
Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Pfizer stated:

The decision to evaluate a third dose of 3 micrograms for children 6 months to under 5 years of age reflects the companies’ commitment to carefully select the right dose to maximize the risk-benefit profile. If the three-dose study is successful, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to submit data to regulators to support an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for children 6 months to under 5 years of age in the first half of 2022.

Pfizer is also planning to test third doses in older children, who do not yet have authorization for booster doses of vaccine. Kids ages 5 to 11 and 12 to 15 will get full-dose third shots in the trials.

It’s clear that Pfizer is taking extreme care with its lower-dose pediatric COVID-19 vaccine. They want to make certain that they are providing effective doses without any serious safety signals.

One final point — whenever someone makes a claim that companies somehow cheat during vaccine clinical trials, nothing could be further from the truth. Companies, such as Pfizer, institute a number of protocols and independent advisors to make certain that these clinical trials provide unbiased and quality data that support the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines.

Sexual promiscuity and the HPV vaccine – debunking an ignorant myth

sexual promiscuity and the HPV vaccine

There is a myth pushed by the anti-vaccine religion that the HPV vaccine leads to sexual promiscuity. I’ve debunked this fable previously, using peer-reviewed research, but you know the anti-vaccine zombie tropes – they never really die, and they always come back to life.

Let’s look at a couple of new studies that, once again, debunk the myth that sexual promiscuity is linked to the HPV vaccine. There is no link. Period. Full stop.

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Vaccine adverse events are rare – vast benefits outweigh small risks

vaccine adverse events

Like all medical procedures, devices, and pharmaceuticals, vaccines are not perfect – there are rare vaccine adverse events. What matters is that the benefits, not only medically but also economically, outweigh any risks. As far ask I know, no perfect medical procedures, devices or pharmaceuticals, none, that are perfectly safe or perfectly effective. Sometimes the ratio is small. For example, there are chemotherapy drugs that only add a few months to a patient’s life, usually with substantial side effects to the medication.

Yet, if you ask a patient whether it was worth it, to spend just a few extra months with their children and loved ones, the value becomes nearly incalculable. But mostly, the FDA and other regulatory agencies demand that new products and procedures must meet or exceed the safety, and meet or exceed the financial and health benefits of currently acceptable versions. Actually, the FDA examines a lot more than that. They check the packaging, shelf life, instructions, manufacturing practices, and so much more, it would take a book to explain it (and there probably are several). It may not be a perfect process, but it’s better than what we had 100 years ago, and it continues to improve every single day. People tend towards a form of confirmation bias where they remember where a drug may or may not have been found to be dangerous (best example is Vioxx).

But they forget about the millions of medications and devices that save lives or measurably improve the standard of living.  Continue reading “Vaccine adverse events are rare – vast benefits outweigh small risks”

Gluten-free foods for children – are they actually healthy?

gluten free

There are many food and nutritional fads floating around the internet that have limited scientific or medical evidence supporting their nutritional usefulness. One of them is the gluten-free diet that has become one of the most prevalent, and annoying, food crazes.

Of course, parents who buy into these fads often include their children. And it’s been the same for the gluten-free obsession. But are gluten-free foods “healthy” for children? Lucky for us, a new study has looked into it. And I am going to look into that study. Continue reading “Gluten-free foods for children – are they actually healthy?”

Pediatric flu vaccine – 10 important facts for parents

pediatric flu vaccine

Along with the HPV vaccine, the pediatric flu vaccine has one of the lowest uptakes amongst children’s vaccinations – only around 40% of American children receive the vaccine. Unfortunately, a lot of this ignorance of the flu vaccine may result from an assumption that the flu is just not that serious of a disease. That thinking puts children at risk.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) posted an article on their website, “10 Things for Parents to Know About the 2017-2018 Flu Vaccine,” which gives some information about the pediatric flu vaccine. We’re going to give this list the feathery dinosaur’s treatment with a bit more pointed commentary and links. Because everyone loves links. Continue reading “Pediatric flu vaccine – 10 important facts for parents”