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COVID-19 vaccine

Jeff Beck

Jeff Beck died of bacterial meningitis not COVID-19 vaccine

On 10 January 2023, famed English guitarist Jeff Beck tragically died. Within a few nanoseconds, anti-vaxxers predictably jumped onto his untimely death by blaming the COVID-19 vaccines. This is part of a pattern that seems to be in the anti-vax guidebook — someone famous dies, blame the COVID-19 vaccine.

Just a couple of weeks ago, American footballer Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field, and it was immediately blamed on one of the COVID-19 vaccines. Someone on Facebook commented after seeing the collapse while watching the game that anti-vaxxers would jump into the fray. Of course, they did.

Because I am tired of these anti-vaccine lies and disinformation campaigns, I have to state the obvious — Jeff Beck did not die due to the COVID-19 vaccine. Not even close. Jeff Beck was a great musician, and we should be celebrating that, not spending time debunking anti-vaccine lies.

Read More »Jeff Beck died of bacterial meningitis not COVID-19 vaccine
vaccines COVID strokes

The bivalent COVID vaccines are not linked to strokes

The anti-vaccine world has jumped on some safety signals that seem to indicate that the bivalent COVID vaccines are linked to strokes. This group has shown how it misuses preliminary data to try to make false claims about every vaccine, especially the COVID-19 vaccines. This leads to false claims about these vaccines.

This post is going to examine what was found on VAERS, what is a safety signal, and what the FDA and CDC did to determine that there was no link between the bivalent COVID-19 vaccines and stroke. Even though this link has been dismissed, you just know that the anti-vaccine world will push it for the next few months.

Read More »The bivalent COVID vaccines are not linked to strokes
vaccine placebo

The anti-vaccine “it’s not tested against a placebo” trope (2023 update)

For those of us who have made a career in debunking anti-vaccine claims, one of the most annoying is that vaccine clinical trials do not include a placebo. This claim is wrong on two levels — first, many vaccines are tested against a placebo, and second, in some cases using a placebo in a vaccine trial would be highly unethical and irresponsible.

You can find a lot of claims on social media about vaccine testing versus placebo, but I’m going to focus on a letter to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from Del Bigtree, the producer of the fraudmentary Vaxxed, who has approximately zero credibility on vaccines. He, and his anti-vaccine organization, Informed Consent Action Network, is just a front organization for anti-vaccine nonsense pushed by Bigtree and his minions. Again, no credibility.

The aforementioned letter is an 88-page, yes, 88-plodding-pages, treasure trove of cherry-picking, pseudoscience, appeals to authority, other logical fallacies, lies, ignorance, misinformation, and delusion about vaccines. This letter is a follow-up to a response from HHS to Bigtree’s original laughable letter to HHS from January 2018.

I’m not going to deal with all of his ridiculous points in the letter, I’m just going to focus on a small part, that is, his claim that vaccine clinical trials do not include a placebo for comparison. As I said in the introductory paragraph, Bigtree is completely wrong.

Read More »The anti-vaccine “it’s not tested against a placebo” trope (2023 update)
COVID-19 vaccine cancer

Joe Mercola falsely claims COVID vaccine boosters cause cancer

On Robert F Kennedy Jr’s awful website, The Defender, the quack Joe Mercola writes that the COVID-19 vaccine boosters cause cancer. Seriously, he wrote that.

The article is filled with a metric tonne of false claims, but I want to just focus on cancer since that’s the basic claim made by Mercola. If I spent all of my typing skills writing a 25,000-word post about every false claim made by this quack, I would be exhausted.

So, let me get to it.

Read More »Joe Mercola falsely claims COVID vaccine boosters cause cancer

XBB.1.5 COVID-19 variant — here comes the Kraken FAQ

The pandemic that keeps on giving has given us a new COVID-19 variant to worry about — XBB.1.5, also known as the Kraken.

As we approach the third anniversary of the pandemic (remember when we thought it would be done by Summer, 2020?), many people are weary of reading anything new about the disease. It’s like our brains have become “immune” to new information about this disease. But XBB.1.5 should be a variant that you should follow because it has evolved in a way that might make it more dangerous for the population.

This post will just try to give you the best information we have about the variant, some of it concerning, and some of it just newsworthy.

Read More »XBB.1.5 COVID-19 variant — here comes the Kraken FAQ

MMR vaccine public confidence — polling shows a drop

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) published, in December 2022, a review of COVID-19 vaccine attitudes, but it also examined public confidence in the MMR vaccine. What it shows what some of us have feared — the raging disinformation campaign has started to affect public attitudes toward other vaccines, like the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella.

Although MMR vaccination coverage has remained quite high (see below) despite the fears that reduced visits to the pediatrician during the pandemic may suppress vaccine uptake, there has been only a tiny downtick in vaccine uptake. But the KFF polling shows a concerning drop in public confidence in vaccines, especially the MMR vaccine.

This post will examine what the KFF polls showed with the COVID-19 and MMR vaccines. It’s interesting, and it continues to support what we have been observing with vaccines during this unprecedented pandemic.

Read More »MMR vaccine public confidence — polling shows a drop
damar hamlin

Damar Hamlin suffers cardiac arrest on field — anti-vaxxers go nuts

Yesterday, I was watching the Monday Night NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, when I saw a player, Damar Hamlin, stand up after a tackle, then apparently collapse. He suffered a cardiovascular event, and he had to be resuscitated on the field in front of his teammates, opponents, fans at the stadium, and the TV audience. Eventually, the game was postponed, with the NFL doing the right thing for its player, something that it doesn’t frequently do.

As of the time of this writing, Hamlin is still in critical condition and is being treated at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center (where the game was being played). There is little information coming from the NFL, the Buffalo Bills (the team he was playing for), or the hospital about his condition or prognosis, so everyone is hopeful.

Within seconds of Hamlin’s injury, anti-vaxxers were on Twitter claiming that the injury was a direct result of the COVID-19 vaccine. Ignoring real medical science and making conclusions based on a total lack of evidence, which is typical for the anti-vaccine crowd.

I’m going to first discuss what probably happened to Damar Hamlin, based on the best available science, and then talk about the disgusting anti-vaccine cretins.

Read More »Damar Hamlin suffers cardiac arrest on field — anti-vaxxers go nuts
top 10 2022

Top 10 articles on Skeptical Raptor for 2022

Just because it seems like the thing to do over the holidays, I thought I’d do a top 10 review of articles I published in 2022. I’m going to use the parameter of most views during 2022. Despite readership being down a lot on my website during the past 12 months, I still had some breakout hit articles.

If you don’t mind, take a moment to look at any of the top 10 that you missed during 2022. You might find something that passed you by during the massive amount of information that we see on social media.

Read More »Top 10 articles on Skeptical Raptor for 2022
COVID-19 vaccine shingles

Large study finds no link between COVID vaccine and shingles

I didn’t know it was a thing, but I guess some people claimed that there was a link between a COVID-19 vaccine and shingles. But in the name of science, researchers published a study that refuted the link between the COVID-19 vaccine and shingles.

I’m glad it’s not linked, even though I never thought it was. So, as I always do, let’s review the study and see what it says.

Read More »Large study finds no link between COVID vaccine and shingles
flu COVID-19 mRNA vaccine

Combination flu and COVID mRNA vaccine starting clinical trials

Pfizer and BioNTech have announced the start of a phase 1 clinical trial for a new mRNA vaccine that prevents both the flu and COVID-19. The new vaccine targets these two severe respiratory diseases with one jab.

Although during the past three years we have focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the seasonal flu is also a dangerous disease. During the 2019-2020 flu season, the last one before COVID-19 mitigation efforts reduced the risk of flu, 390,000 Americans were hospitalized from the flu. And over 25,000 died.

So, a new mRNA vaccine (with all of its advantages to tailor the vaccine to the key antigens on the virus) that combines both flu and COVID-19 can be an effective weapon against these two diseases. In a couple of years, if all goes well, we will be able to get a season flu-COVID-19 mRNA vaccine that has been manufactured for the season’s prevalent variants of both diseases.

Let’s take a look at what we know about this new vaccine and the phase 1 clinical trial.

Read More »Combination flu and COVID mRNA vaccine starting clinical trials