COVID infection rates are NOT unrelated to vaccines – debunking research

people woman blur government

Here we go again – bad published research tries to convince us that COVID-19 rates are unrelated to the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in several countries and US counties. That would be interesting if not for the poor design and analytical methodology utilized by these researchers.

Of course, the second this kind of paper is published, every COVID-19 denier jumps on board to say “here’s the official proof that the COVID-19 vaccines are useless.”

I’m going to set aside the irony that anti-vaxxers love to argue that the bulk of vaccine research is garbage, usually bought by Big Pharma. But any “research” that supports their pre-conceived conclusion is, of course, Nobel Prize-worthy.

It’s frustrating, but my job is to critique this type of research. And this new paper that states that COVID-19 rates are not related to uptake levels of vaccines is a prime example of research filled with bad methodology, poor analytical procedures, and lots of bias.

Here we go again.

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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 – 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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No graphene oxide in COVID vaccines – debunking another anti-vax myth

graphene oxide COVID-19 vaccines

While reading anti-vax propaganda, I found a claim that there is graphene oxide in COVID-19 vaccines. I know, what the everlasting F*** is graphene oxide and why is it in our COVID-19 vaccines?

Well, I decided to dig into this myth and figure out what this nonsense is all about. It’s been around for a few months, but it seems to be rearing its zombie meme head again in several places.

But you and I both know that if it comes from the mouth of an anti-vaxxer, we can be assured that it’s far from factual or scientific.

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mRNA cancer vaccine – immunotherapy for colorectal cancer

mRNA cancer vaccine

Germany-based BioNTech, the company that developed the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine with Pfizer, has announced an mRNA cancer vaccine for colorectal cancer. I hate to get excited about new technologies, but it’s clear that mRNA vaccines could lead to a lot of advances in medicine.

Let’s take a look at this new therapy for colorectal cancer, one of the deadliest cancers.

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Merck seeking emergency us authorization for molnupiravir, new COVID-19 drug

molnupiravir

Pharmaceutical giant Merck announced a new drug to treat COVID-19, called molnupiravir, which appeared to cut the risk of hospitalization and death by nearly half for at-risk patients. Furthermore, Merck will be seeking an emergency use authorization for it immediately.

Although this may sound like good news, and if you are reading the news about this drug, you’d think it was a miracle, I want to make sure that everyone understands several important factors about this drug’s safety and effectiveness profile. It is not a miracle, but it may be an important addition to the treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients, especially those at the highest risk of hospitalization or death.

This is not a worthless drug, at least for COVID-19, such as the horse dewormer, ivermectin, that has become popular with the pseudoscience crowd. Molnupiravir was designed from the beginning as an anti-viral drug.

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Vaccine licensing primer – correcting anti-vaccine misinformation

vaccine licensing

This article about vaccine licensing 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.

Anti-vaccine activists want to claim the Pfizer vaccine is still experimental despite FDA licensing.  They base that claim on a footnote in a document reauthorizing Pfizer’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).  FDA is clear that the now fully-licensed vaccine is identical to the EUA vaccine (except of course for the labeling: the EUA vaccine still bears its EUA label), and that both can legally be marketed.  The anti-vaccine claim is being made because the full licensure of the Pfizer vaccine renders moot their claim (not yet decided by a court) that you cannot mandate a vaccine licensed under the EUA. 

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COVID vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant –

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During the 17 September 2021 FDA vaccine expert committee meeting, the COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant was reviewed. I want to assess some of the results so that we have a better understanding of how the vaccines are working against the Delta variant.

I have read all kinds of comments and reports about the COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against the Delta variant, but it will be good to see what data was presented to the top vaccine experts in the country. Let’s take a peek at the data.

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Is natural immunity from COVID better than vaccines? Not really.

natural immunity COVID

Another non-peer-reviewed preprint article about natural immunity versus vaccines for COVID-19 is being used as the “gotcha” moment for the anti-vaxxers. And on the surface, the article might be interesting, but it’s being misused. What a shocker.

I’m going to do a quick review of the article, then remind everyone why vaccinations are ALWAYS better than natural immunity. Outcomes from diseases that are prevented by the vaccine must be weighed against the safety and effectiveness of that vaccine. This is a necessary risk-benefit analysis that is required by every procedure or pharmaceutical in evidence-based medicine. And, this is the point that is missed by those pushing this new preprint.

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Nicki Minaj, COVID-19 vaccines don’t cause swollen testicles or impotence

people holding small clear glass bottles

I don’t know what it is about vaccines and fear of infertility, but now rapper Nicki Minaj has stepped into the COVID-19 vaccine “discussion.” And like every claim that, in some magical way, vaccines have an effect on fertility, she’s wrong.

Worse yet, Nicki Minaj knows as much about vaccines as my cat, yet she gets to use her platform on social media to spread her misinformation. That’s the battle for the hearts and minds of people in these vaccines discussions is so difficult – maybe 10,000 people will read this article in which I debunk the “COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility” myth for the 10th time. But millions will see her social media posts.

So, here I go again, I’m going to tell you again that vaccines, specifically the ones for COVID-19, are not going to cause infertility in men or women. Sigh. And the thought that I have to write a debunking of something from Nicki Minaj is surreal.

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COVID-19 vaccines and blood clots – a review of current science

COVID-19 vaccines blood clots

There have been extremely rare reports about blood clots being related to the JNJ and AstraZeneca COVID vaccines. Although science does not why this happens, researchers continue to explore why these COVID-19 vaccines might be linked to blood clots (thrombus).

A new review of the current research clears up some of the mystery, but, unfortunately, opens up some new questions. This article will examine the science, at least as far as we know, behind these blood clots and the two COVID-19 vaccines.

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