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COVID-19 vaccine boosters

COVID-19 vaccine boosters FAQs – what you should know

Following the advice of the Vaccine and Related Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), the FDA announced that COVID-19 vaccine boosters can be given to those individuals who received the Moderna and JNJ vaccines. This follows a previous announcement about the Pfizer vaccine booster shots. The FDA also stated that all eligible individuals could mix and match vaccines for their booster dose.

There is a lot of information about these boosters out there, so I thought I would take a moment to try to provide some facts and clarity about what the recommendations are about these COVID-19 vaccine boosters. Also, this is related to a US FDA set of decisions and recommendations from the CDC, so this article is going to only apply to the USA. However, don’t be surprised if the EU and other regulatory agencies across the world do the same thing.

Read More »COVID-19 vaccine boosters FAQs – what you should know
graphene oxide COVID-19 vaccines

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

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.

Read More »No graphene oxide in COVID vaccines – debunking another anti-vax myth
people holding small clear glass bottles

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

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.

Read More »Nicki Minaj, COVID-19 vaccines don’t cause swollen testicles or impotence
COVID-19 vaccines blood clots

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

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.

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

Experimental COVID vaccines? Another anti-vaxxer trope to be debunked

And here we go with another one of those silly anti-vaxxers tropes – the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental, and the government/Big Pharma/Bill Gates are conspiring to test the vaccine on innocent people. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The claim that the COVID-19 vaccines are experimental probably arises from the fact that most of them received an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the USA and other countries. The anti-vaxxers what to use the EUA to make a strawman argument that EUA is equivalent to “a risky, experimental drug that will cause great harm to you.”

But if these anti-vaccine activists spent just a little bit of time to understand the high-quality science behind these vaccines and the Emergency Use Authorizations, they might move on to some other topic. But in case someone finds this article among all of the nonsense on the internet, looking to find out if COVID-19 vaccines are, in fact, experimental, let’s debunk that with actual facts.

Read More »Experimental COVID vaccines? Another anti-vaxxer trope to be debunked
America's Frontline doctors affidavit

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

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.

Read More »America’s Frontline Doctors anti-vaccine affidavit – expert analysis
Guillain-Barré syndrome

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

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.

Read More »Guillain-Barré syndrome may be linked to the JNJ COVID-19 vaccine
medical stethoscope and mask composed with red foiled chocolate hearts

COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis – what are the facts

Regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and CDC, are monitoring reports of myocarditis, a heart inflammation, after COVID-19 vaccines. Although if there is a link, it is exceedingly rare, anti-vaccine activists have already on this issue to make it appear that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.

My job is to look at this data and give you a scientific analysis of the observations and whether they are actually related to the vaccine.

Like with reports of other conditions, such as blood clots, after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, we need to examine whether myocarditis is actually related to the vaccine or just random events in which the incidence is no different than what would be predicted in a similar group of unvaccinated people. And if it is linked, we need to look at the potential risk and compare it to the risks of COVID-19 itself.

Read More »COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis – what are the facts
cancer vaccine

Why can’t we get a cancer vaccine as fast as one for COVID-19?

I keep reading memes and other nonsense that if scientists are so smart why can’t we have a cancer vaccine as fast as we did for COVID-19? It’s not a serious question, it’s actually pejorative – it’s meant to imply that we’ve been looking for years for a cancer vaccine without success, yet we were able to get a COVID-19 vaccine within a few months, so obviously it was rushed.

Fortunately for us on the side of science, this is one of the silliest and most desperate myths being pushed by our favorite anti-vaxxers.

Busting cancer myths is one of my favorite activities – my non-statistical analysis of medical pseudoscience puts cancer slightly above vaccines on the stupidity of the tropes. Combining vaccine nonsense with cancer is right up my bailiwick. Let’s have some tearing apart this trope.

Read More »Why can’t we get a cancer vaccine as fast as one for COVID-19?

COVID vaccine breakthrough infections – let’s do some simple math

Let’s talk about COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections. That is individuals who contract COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated by the Pfizer, Moderna, or JNJ vaccines, the only ones with Emergency Use Authorizations in the USA.

This article is going to be short and, hopefully, sweet, because even though the number of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infections appear large, it really isn’t. It’s just simple math.

Read More »COVID vaccine breakthrough infections – let’s do some simple math