Combined flu and COVID vaccines associated with mild reactions

COVID-19 flu vaccines

A new study examined the incidence of mild reactions after individuals have received the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time. The researchers did not find anything to be of concern, but I always like to get ahead of a story and discuss it so I (and you) are prepared to deal with the inevitable anti-vaccine meme or trope.

Since COVID-19 cases will probably be increasing this fall (in fact, it’s already increasing), we will probably need another booster this fall. And that’s about the time most of us get our flu shot, so researchers wanted to know if there were any issues when getting both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines. Spoiler alert — not really.

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Flu vaccine linked to a 40% reduction in risk of Alzheimer’s disease

flu vaccine alzheimer's

A new peer-reviewed study found that people who received at least one flu vaccine were 40% less like to develop Alzheimer’s disease compared to non-vaccinated individuals. If this doesn’t convince you to run down to your local pharmacy or your physician to get the flu vaccine, I do not know what else to convince you.

As you know, I am a big proponent of the flu vaccine mainly because the disease it prevents is much more dangerous than most people seem to think. And during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic (yes, it’s still out there), getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines are important.

Let’s dive into this paper to see if the data is convincing, and more than that, what potential mechanisms that may link the flu or flu vaccine to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

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“Flurona” — you need both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines

flurona

As I wrote before, this pandemic has given us a bunch of new terms, the newest one is “flurona” or contracting both COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. It’s not a new disease, but it is worrisome since it could make our public health crisis worse.

This brief article will take a look at this flurona phenomenon and whether it’s something that requires concern.

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The future of the COVID-19 pandemic — vaccines are still the key

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We are heading towards the start of the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, and many people want to know what the future holds. Will there be more variants? Will we need more vaccines? Will there be more dumb ideas about the disease?

Well, I’m not a pseudoscientist, so I not only don’t make, but also I certainly don’t believe in predictions about the future course of the COVID-19 pandemic. But I think I can write down some science-based thoughts of what we might see over the next few months.

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Virus treatments quackery – what not to take for flu, colds, or COVID-19

cold comfort cover cute

It’s that time of year when we are bombarded by virus treatments for everything from the flu and colds to COVID-19. The quackery includes things like “immune-boosting” miracle supplements to junk that “cures” every single virus known to medical science.

This article will attempt to debunk the myths of virus treatments such as “boosting the immune system,” magical supplements, and other nonsense involved with the world of flu treatment pseudoscience.

Of course, the best way to prevent the flu or COVID-19 is to get the vaccines. And since these vaccines are free, it’s infinitely cheaper than fake, useless virus treatments.

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Thanks to COVID-19, we beat the flu for the first time in history

a sick man covering his mouth

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a horrible experience for the past two years, but it had one silver lining – beating the flu.

As I have written before, the annual rite of winter life, flu outbreaks, became almost nothing during the 2020-21 flu season. On average, the flu infects roughly 30 million Americans every year and kills over 30,000. Worldwide, the World Health Organization estimates that over 650,000 people die of respiratory illnesses related to the flu.

As with COVID-19, the elderly, the poor, and people of color are all overrepresented among the victims of the flu. Moreover, the annual economic cost of the flu in the USA averages nearly $90 billion.

Of course, things changed during the 2020-21 flu season. The US had only around 2,000 cases of the flu. No, that is not a typo, there were only 2,000 flu cases in the USA during the 2020-21 flu season. In other words, there were 17,000 times fewer flu cases than the 35 million cases during the 2019-2020 flu season.

During the 2019-20 flu season, 199 children died of the virus. In 2020-21, only one child died.

In fact, other respiratory viruses nearly disappeared during the COVID-19 pandemic – respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza, rhinovirus, and adenovirus. I’ve been watching infectious diseases for decades, and this was truly amazing.

So how can we stop the flu once the COVID-19 pandemic is done? And that’s where it gets complicated.

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Flu and COVID “twindemic” – more reasons to get both vaccines

flu COVID-19 twindemic

Infectious disease and public health experts are beginning to worry about a twindemic of flu and COVID-19 as we enter the winter. The start of the 2021-22 flu season added to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may make this winter particularly dangerous.

As I discussed previously, much of the world had the fewest cases of influenza than any time in recent history. COVID-19 pandemic mitigation, such as face masks, social distancing, fewer people traveling, fewer kids in school, and more people working remotely left precious little opportunity for the influenza virus to spread like it does in “normal winters.”

With the good news comes some potentially bad news. This article will look into reasons why a flu and COVID-19 twindemic may be coming to many countries across the world, including the USA. I don’t want to be the harbinger of the apocalypse, but I just want to present more reasons for everyone to get both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine to prevent this potential twindemic.

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Why do I still wear my lovely COVID face masks? Because of science.

man in white button up shirt and woman in green tank top

Let me get it right out there – I am wearing my attractive (not really) COVID-19 face masks even after being fully Moderna vaccinated. I wear them any time I’m at risk of being close to other human beings. And I intend to wear them until the day Dr. Anthony Fauci quits wearing his.

In the USA, wearing COVID face masks with or without vaccination was based on the honor system, and if there’s one defining characteristic of Americans who reject science, they aren’t honorable. So I don’t want to risk catching some new variant that arises in unvaccinated people who think it’s their right to breathe their contaminated breath on others.

I’m going to continue wearing my face mask for quite a long time, and here are my reasons.

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Vaccine adverse events are very rare – vast benefits outweigh risks

shoenfeld

Like all medical procedures, devices, and pharmaceuticals, vaccines are not perfect – there are rare vaccine adverse events. What matters is that the benefits, not only medically but also economically, outweigh any risks. As far ask I know, no perfect medical procedures, devices, or pharmaceuticals, none, that are perfectly safe or perfectly effective. Sometimes the ratio is small.

For example, there are chemotherapy drugs that only add a few months to a patient’s life, usually with substantial side effects to the medication. Yet, if you ask a patient whether it was worth it, to spend just a few extra months with their children and loved ones, the value becomes nearly incalculable.

But mostly, the FDA and other regulatory agencies demand that new products and procedures must meet or exceed the safety, and meet or exceed the financial and health benefits of currently acceptable versions. Actually, the FDA examines a lot more than that.

They check the packaging, shelf life, instructions, manufacturing practices, and so much more, it would take a book to explain it (and there probably are several). It may not be a perfect process, but it’s better than what we had 100 years ago, and it continues to improve every single day. People tend towards a form of confirmation bias where they remember where a drug may have been found to be dangerous (the best example is Vioxx).

But they forget about the millions of medications and devices that save lives or measurably improve the standard of living. 

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The list of healthcare worker flu vaccine excuses – none are valid

healthcare worker flu vaccine

We’re entering the 2021-2022 flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time for the annual epic Mark Crislip rant about healthcare worker flu vaccine beliefs. For the past nine years at the start of the flu season, I reprint Dr. Mark Crislip‘s hysterical and outstanding rant about “slow-witted Equus africanus asinus” healthcare workers who invent flu vaccine fallacies, tropes, and myths in an effort to justify their belief that the flu vaccine is dangerous, useless, or whatever else that hits their brain.

Dr. Crislip’s humorous compilation of these flu vaccine myths, which were originally published in A Budget of Dumb Asses 2011, describes the different types of vaccine-refusing healthcare worker individuals. I resurrect this list every year at the beginning of the flu season not only for humor (because it is funny) but also to point the finger at flu vaccine deniers who also happen to be healthcare workers.

Any nurse, pharmacist, therapist, physician, or surgeon that refuses the flu vaccine by relying upon pseudoscientific nonsense about the vaccine rather than protecting their patients and themselves is appalling. I may be harsh, but maybe their employment ought to be terminated for their lack of concern about patients.

But the true adherents to the flu vaccine beliefs aren’t just healthcare workers. You know neighbors, friends, family, and even fellow vaccine supporters who refuse to get the flu vaccine. And they rely on the same ridiculous myths as healthcare workers.

These vaccine deniers believe that the flu vaccine is not necessary because the disease is not dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth.

flu vaccine fallacies

During the 2018-19 flu season (the 2019-20 and 2020-21 flu seasons were skewed by the COVID-19 pandemic), 129 American children died of the flu. But, there’s more:

  • 37.4 – 42.9 million Americans contracted the flu
  • 17.3 – 20.1 million of those had a medical visit because of the flu
  • 531-647 thousand of those had to be hospitalized as an inpatient
  • Finally, 36,400 – 61,200 died
  • Worldwide, it is estimated that there will be approximately 290-650 thousand deaths. 

The flu season is just starting, and it’s almost impossible to not find a place to get the vaccine. Your family doctor, clinics, pharmacies, and many other places currently have the flu vaccine. And I am not a hypocrite – I will have my flu vaccination next week. Of course, my healthcare insurance provides them out for free to all members.

And if you think you can prevent or cure the flu with vitamin C, echinacea, or bone broth (yes, it’s a thing), they don’t work. You are not going to be able to boost your immune system to destroy the flu virus unless you get vaccinated.

We’ve dispensed with many of the cherished flu vaccine beliefs of the anti-vaccine religion. Moreover, many studies have shown that getting the flu vaccine can improve health outcomes.

But too many people refuse this life-saving vaccine.

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