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.

Continue reading “COVID vaccines slightly affect menstrual cycles but do not affect menses”

2021 top ten list — I hope 2022 is better for COVID-19 and vaccines

t rex dinosaur statue

Over the past few weeks, I republished each article that was in the 2021 top 10 list for the old Skeptical Raptor. It was based on one simple measurement — the total number of pageviews during 2021.

I like doing this because it’s fun to see what interested the reader. Number one, about my getting the Moderna booster, still surprises me. Over 100,000 people decided to read about my experience with the booster which was probably the most boring experience anyone had with the COVID-19 vaccines.

At the end of 2020, I thought I’d be winding down the frequency of articles on COVID-19 and vaccines, but that wasn’t even close to reality. I’m not going to make any predictions about 2022, but I do expect more variants and more articles about vaccines. Ugh.

So let’s get to the old feathered dinosaur’s 2021 top ten list, as I begin to decide what I’m going to write about next. Yeah, it will be about COVID-19 and vaccines.

Continue reading “2021 top ten list — I hope 2022 is better for COVID-19 and vaccines”

I got my Moderna COVID vaccine booster – my immune system is powerful

Moderna booster

On 25 October 2021, I got my Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster shot. As with the first two shots, I felt nothing other than a bit of a sore arm.

Now my immune system is scientifically boosted to handle whatever SARS-CoV-2 has for me. I’m ready to kick its sorry butt for even thinking about infecting me.

Why did I get the booster?

  • Because it’s safe.
  • Because the Moderna booster protects me against COVID-19 even more.
  • Because there is evidence that the original series of shots have waning immunity.
  • Because it’s the only way to boost my immune system against the coronavirus.
  • Because I know that vaccines are more powerful than pseudoscientific supplements and quackery.
  • Because the CDC recommends it.
  • Because it was free.
  • Because I want to do the right thing for my own health and to protect others.

I don’t know if boosters will be necessary every few months or years. But this virus is so resilient and mutates so frequently, I am willing to bet we will need frequent boosters for any of the COVID-19 vaccines.

In fact, early evidence appears to indicate we might need a second booster for the Omicron variant.

person getting vaccinated
Photo by Gustavo Fring on

Any of you who are pregnant, obese, or immunocompromised, especially if you’re older than 50 should get the booster. Anyone with the following health conditions should get COVID-19 vaccine boosters:

  • Alcoholism
  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney, liver, or lung diseases (such as moderate or severe asthma)
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Genetic conditions, such as sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • HIV
  • Hypertension
  • Mental health conditions such as depression or schizophrenia
  • Smokers or former smokers
  • Stroke
  • Substance abuse
  • Tuberculosis

Anyone who works in certain occupations that are at high risk of COVID-19 should get the booster shot:

  • Healthcare workers
  • Firefighters
  • Police
  • Educators, such as teachers, daycare workers, and support staff
  • US postal workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Food and agriculture workers
  • Those who work in grocery stores, corrections, or manufacturing

Those were the original recommendations. However, now everyone should get a booster, and as I said above, we might need a second booster.


Nothing to update. No adverse events. No breakthrough infections. No flu (because I also got my flu vaccine). I must be the one boring boosted individual.

Moderna booster
Cute kittens to make you happy before you get your booster shot. Photo by Ilse Orsel on Unsplash.
Cute puppies for dog lovers. Photo by Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash

COVID vaccine booster effectiveness may wane quickly against Omicron

This pandemic just doesn’t give us much good news — research from the UK indicates that COVID-19 vaccine booster effectiveness may wane significantly at the 10-week mark post-vaccination. This may allow the Omicron variant to spread much further than originally hoped.

Before I explain the research, I want to make a few things very clear. First, this doesn’t mean the vaccine is ineffective, it is just that the immunity appears to wane more quickly than other vaccines. Second, this doesn’t mean that the vaccines are worthless — hospitalization and, more importantly, death rates are much lower in the vaccinated group. And finally, this is how science works — we accumulate data and then, after reviewing the data, change recommendations.

Let’s take a look at this new research and determine what it may mean for future vaccination efforts.

Continue reading “COVID vaccine booster effectiveness may wane quickly against Omicron”

Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID vaccines are really vaccines – obviously

person aspirating the vaccine from the vial

Here we go again – I keep seeing the new anti-vaxxer claim that the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are not, in fact, vaccines but are either “medical devices” or “gene therapy.” I keep trying to stay up with every single myth and trope pushed by the anti-vaxxers, but I swear that there’s a new one every day.

I would really love to write about something other than COVID-19 vaccines – I’ve got a ton of articles I want to write about GMOs, supplements, and cancer that are just sitting in a virtual pile on my desk. Unfortunately, I’m very worried that the anti-vax hatred of these new vaccines will allow this pandemic to keep going. That’s why many of us keep doing the best we can to stamp out the myths.

Just to be clear, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are actually vaccines – they are biological preparations that provide active acquired immunity to an infectious disease, in this case, COVID-19. But, I’m going to have to debunk these myths.

Continue reading “Pfizer and Moderna mRNA COVID vaccines are really vaccines – obviously”

Steven Brandenburg destroys COVID-19 vaccines because they change DNA

Steven Brandenburg

In between all of the bad news going on in the world, you may have missed the story of Steven Brandenburg, the anti-vaccine pharmacist who intentionally destroyed numerous vials of the Moderna COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, which had recently received an emergency use authorization from the US FDA.

At first, it was thought it was unintentional. When you are moving quickly to vaccinate healthcare workers and others against the deadly disease, maybe Steven Brandenburg, a licensed pharmacist, just got so busy that he left the vaccine on a table until it was too late. I have been involved with vaccines for a long time, and I cannot begin to count how many times people have spoiled vaccines because of forgetfulness, not understanding how they should be stored, or a plethora of other reasons.

Once it became clear what had happened, Brandenburg was fired by his employer, Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, and eventually arrested for destroying over 500 doses in about 53 vials of the vaccine. Maybe one could be excused for accidentally spoiling 5 vials of the critical vaccine. But 53 vials are strong evidence of criminal intent (note, I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on the internet). 

Steven Brandenburg was charged with felony charges of reckless endangerment and property damage, though prosecutors said the charges could be dropped to a single misdemeanor if the vials, which have yet to be tested, are still usable. He is out of jail on a $10,000 bond.

Continue reading “Steven Brandenburg destroys COVID-19 vaccines because they change DNA”

Adverse events surveillance after 11.8 million COVID mRNA vaccine doses

adverse events COVID-19 vaccine

A paper was just published that reviewed adverse events after 11.8 million COVID-19 mRNA vaccine doses were administered in the USA. Because it is the topic of discussion these days, I felt it was important to review this paper.

Even though anti-vaxxers love to claim excess adverse events after people receive the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, there are excellent methods that the CDC has developed to monitor these issues in vaccines, and this new paper looks at one of them.

The news is good, in case you’re wondering.

Continue reading “Adverse events surveillance after 11.8 million COVID mRNA vaccine doses”

FDA rejects ICAN petition to revoke of EUAs issued for COVID vaccines

ICAN COVID-19 vaccines

This article about the FDA’s actions on a petition from ICAN to revoke EUAs for COVID-19 vaccines was written by Viridiana Ordonez. Ms. Ordonez has contributed other articles to this website and is aJ.D. candidate at the University of California, Hastings College of Law.

Del Bigtree‘s Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) submitted a Citizen Petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on September 27, 2021. In its petition, ICAN requested that the FDA revoke the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) granted to ModernaTX, Inc. (Moderna) and JNJ Jansen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) for their COVID-19 vaccines.

ICAN argued that because the FDA has now approved Comirnaty – the COVID-19 vaccine created by Pfizer-BioNTech – the requirements for issuance of the EUA for the other vaccines are no longer met.

The FDA replied to the petition on October 20, 2021, and rejected the request, explaining that ICAN’s petition did not contain facts demonstrating any reasonable grounds for its request. This post summarizes FDA’s response. 

Continue reading “FDA rejects ICAN petition to revoke of EUAs issued for COVID vaccines”

Prior COVID infection will not keep you out of the hospital – get the vaccine

ambulance architecture building business

I recently discussed a new CDC study that stated that the COVID-19 vaccines provided better protection than a previous infection. Unfortunately, I buried the lede – COVID-19 vaccines are better than a prior COVID-19 infection in keeping you out of the hospital.

Not to be repeatedly repetitive, but I am going to re-review that paper in light of the lede – in other words, the anti-vaxxers keep ranting on about a prior COVID-19 infection. I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Continue reading “Prior COVID infection will not keep you out of the hospital – get the vaccine”