The tragic passing of the son of Nick Catone – vaccines are not responsible

person standing near lake

This article about the tragic death of the son of Nick Catone 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 diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On May 12, 2017, the son of retired UFC fighter Nick Catone, Nicholas Catone, by all accounts a healthy, sweet, happy, child, died in his sleep. It’s horrible to lose a child, and I want to start by extending my condolences to the family.

Sadly, I can’t stop there. His parents blame vaccines. The story is being spread in mom groups and understandably scares moms from vaccinating. But Nicholas’ tragic death is not a good reason to refuse vaccines. First, the alleged link to vaccines is extraordinarily weak. There is no good reason to blame vaccines for the boy’s tragic death. Second, even if this was linked to vaccines – and there’s no evidence of that – it’s still safer to vaccinate.

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The risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome after COVID mRNA vaccines is low

Guillaine-Barré COVID-19 mRNA vaccines

I keep reading anti-vaccine commentary that Guillain-Barré syndrome had been linked to the COVID-19 vaccines according to a deep dive into the VAERS database. Those of you who read my works know that I am apt to dismiss almost any claim that is based on VAERS. it is not built to show correlation let alone causation between Guillain-Barré syndrome and COVID-19 vaccines.

However, as I have said before VAERS can send a safety signal that should be investigated more thoroughly. And that’s what a vaccine research team did — they went to a better vaccine safety database and performed a thorough study. And what they found is that the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, were not linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome. However, they did find a link to the JNJ COVID-19 vaccine, which confirms what was being discussed a few months ago.

Let’s take a look at this study so that we can at least partially debunk anti-COVID-19 vaccine claims.

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Examining the anti-vaccine movement — a podcast from Brandy Zadrozny

zadrozky vaccines

I don’t usually do this, but I wanted to post the transcript from the outstanding Brandy Zadrozny podcast about how the anti-vaccine movement treated Tiffany Dover who fainted after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine 18 months ago. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss wrote an in-depth article about Dover soon after it happened, and we have updated it as we have gotten more information. Not to give away a spoiler, but she’s still alive.

I have posted the full transcript of episode 4 because it gives you a history of the anti-vaccine movement and the various “truthers” who pass fall information about it. I’m not going to edit the transcript, but I will add in my commentary here and there (it’ll be in bold type) and links for more information, something you can’t get from a podcast. This is very long, but it’s filled with great information. I have made minor edits to spelling and punctuation to make it more readable.

I’m someone who prefers reading content to listening to podcasts or watching YouTube because I like clicking on links or researching more. If you’re like me, then you’ll love this.

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One vaccine clinical trial to rule them all — moving goalposts

woman holding books

If you spend time listening to anti-vaxxers, you would hear that they would support vaccinations if there were better vaccine clinical trial design. The problem with the anti-vaxxer demand for a better vaccine clinical trial design is one of several moving targets for their denialism, relying on a form of the Argument from ignorance, claiming that if we can’t absolutely “prove” that vaccines are safe, then it must be absolutely unsafe. It’s trying.

For example, there are literally thousands of articles, (an example here and was discussed here), that provide overwhelming evidence of the safety and effectiveness of vaccines using real science, real statistics, and real hard work. The antithesis of the fake science, bogus statistics, and 2 hours of Google.

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COVID vaccines may prevent long COVID conditions

woman lying on bed while blowing her nose

A new peer-reviewed paper examined the incidence of new-onset hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease in people who received COVID vaccines compared to unvaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections. The study showed much lower risks in the COVID-19 vaccines group compared to unvaccinated individuals.

I know that, for most of the world, we’re close to reaching the point that we probably cannot convince many more people to get one of the COVID-19 vaccines. But in case there are some people who are still on the fence about the vaccine, I hope this is convincing evidence to consider the vaccine.

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ICAN lawsuit against CDC statement that vaccines do not cause autism

vaccines autism

This article about another ICAN lawsuit disputing the CDC statement that vaccines do not cause autism 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 diseases. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

On March 31, 2022, a federal district judge dismissed the Informed Consent Action Network‘s (ICAN) lawsuit demanding that CDC remove the statement that vaccines do not cause autism. The judge dismissed the lawsuit because ICAN failed to show that the alleged harms it claimed were caused by anything CDC did, or that removing the statement would fix the problem that they claim they identified. 

The claim never got to be examined on the merits, and for the purpose of dismissal at this early stage, the judge is required to treat ICAN’s claims as true. But it’s worth reminding readers that extensive data shows that vaccines do not cause autism.

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New vaccines wishlist — I am looking beyond COVID-19

new vaccines

I once was accused of not being opposed to any vaccine on the market, but little did they know I have a wishlist for new vaccines that goes beyond all that. Believe it or not, there are pathogens out there that still have a deleterious effect on the health of mothers, children, and everyone.

I just wanted to spend a bit of time talking about some of the diseases where new vaccines could improve health outcomes in significant ways. Let’s take a look at some of them.

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Pfizer-Valneva Lyme disease vaccine — phase 2 pediatric trials results

lyme disease vaccine

I have previously discussed a Lyme disease vaccine candidate from Pfizer and Valneva that is starting a phase 3 clinical trial. However, the companies are keeping us updated with their phase 2 results, and there has been exciting news — the pediatric trial (in 5-17-year-olds) showed strong immunogenicity for the new Pfizer-Valneva vaccine.

Of course, dogs have had access to a Lyme disease vaccine, but there has not been a vaccine available for humans for over 20 years. It’s not that dogs are more important than humans (though many of us might argue that point), but about 20 years ago, the anti-vaxxers got the vaccine pulled from the market, one of their few “successes” in getting rid of useful vaccines.

But a small company, Valneva, in partnership with Pfizer, has developed a new vaccine that will be entering Phase 3 clinical trials real soon. Hopefully, we’ll have it in just a few more years.

Let’s first take a look at this disease, and then we will review the vaccine itself along with new results.

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No evidence of post-vaccine mortality – a systematic review

covid vaccine bottles and syringe

There is a belief by the anti-vaccine world that there is plenty of evidence of post-vaccine mortality. For example, Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and I have written two articles, about Nick Catone and Colton Berrett, that refute parental claims about post-vaccine mortality involving their children. Those boys’ deaths were tragic, but according to the best evidence we have, neither was caused by vaccines.

Post-vaccine mortality is often not causally related. It may feel like one event that follows another event is related, which is the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. There may not be any correlation, let alone causality, that would make us accept that vaccines kill.

Those of us who accept the fact that vaccines are very safe, and indeed, not really a risk for causing death, have found no evidence of post-vaccine mortality over the past couple of decades. This comes from examining the high-quality scientific and medical literature, which may or may not include all incidents of post-vaccine mortality.

Now, I’ve always contended that there is no evidence that there has ever been a death attributed to vaccines. I never agreed with the old adage that “science can’t prove a negative,” but I do think that the burden of proof is on those making that claim. Where is the evidence of a link between vaccines and mortality? Sometimes, the absence of evidence can be evidence of absence, Carl Sagan’s claims notwithstanding, especially if we look very carefully for that evidence.

Let’s move on to an important published study that should help our understanding of whether vaccines kill. They don’t.

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Increased risk of shingles after COVID-19 — time to get both vaccines

shingles COVID-19

A newly published and peer-reviewed study provides evidence that the risk of shingles (herpes zoster) increases after a COVID-19 infection. This supports numerous case reports that have been published that describe shingles in COVID-19 patients.

This post will examine the article. And this should provide you with more evidence that the COVID-19 and shingles vaccines are important to your health.

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