COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis – what are the facts

medical stethoscope and mask composed with red foiled chocolate hearts

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.

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

cancer vaccine

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.

Continue reading “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.

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Myocarditis and COVID vaccine – a rare event that may not be linked

COVID-19 vaccine myocarditis

Regulatory agencies across the world, including the FDA and CDC, are monitoring COVID-19 vaccine adverse events including reports of myocarditis, a heart inflammation. Of course, the anti-vaccine squad will probably jump on this to make it appear that the vaccine is 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 this adverse event is 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.

Continue reading “Myocarditis and COVID vaccine – a rare event that may not be linked”

COVID-19 vaccine parental consent – do teens need it before Pfizer vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccine parental consent

This article about COVID-19 vaccine parental consent 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 May 10, 2021, the FDA authorized Pfizer’s mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 for emergency use in teens aged 12-15. Even before that, the vaccine was authorized in teens 16 and up. This raises a question that has been coming up occasionally – if teens in this age group want to get the COVID-19 vaccine, but their parents object, can they do it without parental consent? The short answer is that it depends. 

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Pfizer COVID vaccine authorized for use in 12-15-year-olds

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The FDA has expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to now include 12-15-year-olds. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet soon to make the final recommendations on use of the vaccine in that age group in the USA.

This is an important step in putting the pandemic behind us and allows American families to begin to return to a normal life.

Even though parents have been able to easily get the vaccine, it was only available to adults (although the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was indicated for 16 years and up). This new authorization means that schools can consider opening up if this age group is vaccinated, and may allow teenagers to attend summer camps and get-togethers with friends.

This broadening of the age group resulted from a clinical trial which enrolled 2,260 participants between the ages of 12 and 15. The young teens were given either two doses of the vaccine (same dosage as adults) or a placebo three weeks apart.

Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

The researchers recorded 18 cases of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in the placebo group and none in the vaccine group. This showed it to be highly effective at preventing symptomatic illness.

Additionally, the vaccine was also very safe for these children, with similar minor side effects as those seen in the larger clinical trial participants, ages 16-25. Fevers were observed more frequently in the vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds, about 20%, compared to 17% in the 16- to 25-year-olds.

As I wrote previously, we probably need to reach 80% vaccination rates to have full herd immunity, and we will need to include children in that number to even get close. So this is important good news to defeating this pandemic.

So, let me sum this up:

  • The Pfizer COVID vaccine was shown to be highly effective in preventing symptomatic disease in 12- to 15-year-olds.
  • The vaccine was shown to be extremely safe in the same age group.

There’s plenty of vaccines available in the USA. So once ACIP recommends it for this age group, take your kids down to your local vaccine hub and get it done!



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COVID herd immunity – vaccine denial may make that impossible

person aspirating the vaccine from the vial

The only way to COVID-19 herd immunity is going to be via vaccines, but people throughout the world, especially in the USA, are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine. The anti-vaccine world is doing everything it can to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about these vaccines, despite our efforts to counter the disinformation campaign.

Let’s talk about COVID-19 herd immunity and how vaccines are important. And why we probably can’t hit herd immunity, a terrible consequence of the anti-vaccine rhetoric and lies.

Continue reading “COVID herd immunity – vaccine denial may make that impossible”

COVID-19 vaccine shedding – another anti-vaccine myth to scare people

COVID-19 vaccine shedding

Here we go again – an expensive, privileged Miami private school has banned teachers who received the COVID-19 vaccine because of “shedding” concerns. Yes, you read that right, the school wrote to teachers that “we cannot allow recently vaccinated people to be near our students until more information is known.”

The school’s co-founder, Leila Centner, claimed that those people who had received the COVID-19 vaccine can somehow shed the spike protein, which in turn can cause menstrual cycle irregularities, miscarriages, and sterility in other women just by being in close proximity to vaccinated people who are shedding something.

Centner wrote, “we cannot allow recently vaccinated people to be near our students until more information is known.” She must get this nonsense from Kelly Brogan, anti-vaccine quack, who seems to have something with Centner and this school

Centner cited debunked claims that the vaccine causes infertility based on “reports have surfaced recently of non-vaccinated people being negatively impacted by interacting with people who have been vaccinated. Let’s be clear that that the scientific consensus about this vaccine is that is very effective and carries few risks.

Simply put, COVID-19 vaccine shedding does not exist, but I will spend a few moments debunking it again.

Continue reading “COVID-19 vaccine shedding – another anti-vaccine myth to scare people”

COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy – the CDC now recommends it

pregnancy COVID-19 vaccine

The CDC just announced that it recommends the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy to protect the health of the mother and the developing fetus. The CDC stated that there are “no safety concerns” among women in their third trimester and for their newborn babies.

Despite the claims of COVID-19 deniers everywhere, the disease is dangerous and can cause both short- and long-term harm to anyone, and that means pregnant persons and their newborn babies. That’s why the COVID-19 vaccine is so important.

Let’s take a look at what the CDC said and why pregnant persons should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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COVID-19 vaccines herd immunity – ignore anti-vaxxer disinformation

person holding syringe

The only way to herd immunity to this pandemic is with COVID-19 vaccines, but still, people are refusing the vaccine, not only in the USA but also throughout the world. But the anti-vaccine world is doing everything it can to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about these vaccines.

Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious diseases that can occur when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, by vaccines or infection, which reduces the risk of infection by members of the community who lack that immunity. Although we don’t have a solid estimate for herd immunity levels for COVID-19, it is estimated to be between 60 and 75%.

Without herd immunity, there are a number of consequences. People who cannot get vaccinated or are immunocompromised will always be at risk of contracting the disease. The virus will continue to be transmitted, which will lead to more dangerous mutations. And there are local outbreaks of COVID-19 across the world that could bring the disease back to the USA and many other countries where we don’t reach herd immunity.

A large group of COVID-19 deniers and anti-vaxxers want to create herd immunity “naturally” instead of using vaccines – that is essentially genocide since so many people will die or suffer long-term consequences.

We need to get the COVID-19 vaccines into as many people as we can so that we can reach herd immunity. Right now, about 25% of Americans may refuse to get the vaccine, and that means we probably cannot reach herd immunity.

mbedThis article is just a list of my articles that can be useful in your arguments with the anti-vaxxers and individuals who are “on-the-fence.”

Continue reading “COVID-19 vaccines herd immunity – ignore anti-vaxxer disinformation”