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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
COVID-19 vaccine liability

Vaccine court myths – instead, here are facts about the NVICP

The anti-vaccine world loves its myths, because, lacking any real scientific evidence supporting their outlandish claims, fairy tales are all they have. Not that I like picking and choosing the worst of the anti-vaccine urban legends, but the vaccine court myths are among the most egregious and ridiculous.

Although there are a lot of vaccine court myths, I wanted this article will focus on just three critical points:

  1. The vaccine court vs. civil courts for plaintiffs.
  2. Vaccine manufacturers are immune to lawsuits.
  3. Billions of dollars have been paid out to “victims.”
  4. The vaccine court said that vaccines cause autism.

Let’s get to the article.

Read More »Vaccine court myths – instead, here are facts about the NVICP
respiratory syncytial virus

Respiratory syncytial virus, flu, and COVID-19 — the “tripledemic”

I rarely write about the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), but the number of people infected by the virus, especially children, is leading to a fear of a tripledemic that includes RSV, the seasonal flu, and our constant nemesis, COVID-19. I guess this is the time I start writing more about the respiratory syncytial virus because everyone needs to be aware of this infectious disease.

This post will review what respiratory syncytial virus is, why it is so dangerous to children and seniors, and whether a vaccine is available.

Read More »Respiratory syncytial virus, flu, and COVID-19 — the “tripledemic”
flu cold treatments

Quack cold and flu treatments — echinacea and Oscillococcinum are useless

It’s that time of year when we are bombarded by treatments for cold and flu season. 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 treatments for cold and flu such as “boosting the immune system,” magical supplements, and other nonsense involved with the world of cold and flu pseudoscience.

Of course, the best way to prevent the flu is to get the vaccine. And since the vaccine is free (at least in the USA), it’s infinitely cheaper than fake, useless cold and flu treatments.

Read More »Quack cold and flu treatments — echinacea and Oscillococcinum are useless
chickenpox vaccine

Chickenpox nearly eliminated in USA because of the vaccine

We know that vaccines work, but it’s good to have data such as chickenpox has been almost eliminated in the USA because of the chickenpox vaccine. We should be dancing in the streets because of this.

Let’s take a look at this new data, but first, we need to talk about chickenpox and the vaccine. Just to make sure everyone is up-to-speed with accurate information.

Read More »Chickenpox nearly eliminated in USA because of the vaccine
tucker carlson vaccine

Tucker Carlson conflates ACIP COVID vaccine schedules with mandates

This article about Tucker Carlson recently trying to claim that the ACIP vaccine schedules are vaccine mandates 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 vaccination’s social and legal policies. 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.

Contrary to claims circulating online in anti-vaccine circles and broadcast by Tucker Carlson, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)’s discussion of immunization schedules is not about mandating COVID-19 vaccines for school (that is not something ACIP can do). It is also not about removing liability for COVID-19 vaccines —manufacturers and providers of COVID-19 vaccines are already immune from liability under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP). 

The COVID-19 discussion is part of the CDC’s annual revision of its vaccine schedules to reflect what it already recommended during the year. It may be a step towards adding the vaccines to the more generous Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (and reducing the liability protections for manufacturers and providers), though even there, I’m not sure whether adding to the schedules changes the situation – the vaccines are already recommended. The discussion has nothing to do with school mandates.

Read More »Tucker Carlson conflates ACIP COVID vaccine schedules with mandates
healthcare worker flu vaccine

Annual Mark Crislip rant about healthcare worker flu vaccine deniers

We’re entering the 2022-2023 flu season in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time for the annual epic Mark Crislip rant about healthcare worker flu vaccine deniers. For the past ten years at the start of the flu season, I reprint Dr. Mark Crislip‘s hysterical and outstanding rant about knucklehead 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 workers. 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.

One last thing. You may be asking why I write “knucklehead,” instead of “dumbass” as Dr. Crislip writes, see Note 1.

Read More »Annual Mark Crislip rant about healthcare worker flu vaccine deniers
XBB variant

New XBB variant of COVID-19 — bivalent booster vaccine works

Here we go with a new, kind of scary version of COVID-19 — the XBB variant, which is just one of several variants that are spreading across the world. I think we’ve heard and read about so many variants over the past two and a half years that it might appear to be background noise.

But the new XBB variant probably shouldn’t be ignored — it spreads faster and seems to evade the immune system. These two issues alone can become problematic as we enter the winter months.

This article will look at this variant (though I’m just picking on one out of dozens that appear to be circulating) because XBB seems to be a bit more virulent than others. But there’s good news too — the new bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters from Pfizer and Moderna appear to protect against the new variant.

Read More »New XBB variant of COVID-19 — bivalent booster vaccine works
Bob Sears

Bob Sears gets third probation for fake medical exemption

This article, about Dr. Bob Sears’ third probation, 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 about vaccination’s social and legal policies in law journals. 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 August 30, 2022, the Medical Board of California adopted as its decision a settlement agreement with Dr. Robert Sears (Dr. Bob Sears) under which he would be under probation until June 2023 and required to undergo a couple of medical courses. The grounds, as set out in the accusation attached to the settlement, were writing a fake medical exemption for a girl of 13. 

This seems like a very, very light penalty for someone for whom this is the third case in a row of giving a baseless medical exemption. I am not sure if the Board was concerned that it may not be able to fully prove the allegation or is especially solicitous to Dr. Bob Sears (and why), or whether something else was going on. 

Read More »Bob Sears gets third probation for fake medical exemption
HPV vaccine encephalitis

HPV vaccine not linked to encephalitis — but, here comes a lawsuit

I was pointed to a lawsuit where the plaintiffs contend that their son died from a form of encephalitis caused by the HPV vaccine. Despite the lack of scientific evidence, the family wants to blame the tragic death of their son on something — and the HPV vaccine is the most convenient target.

This article isn’t going to get into the weeds of the lawsuit, that’s best left to others. I just want to dismiss any link between the HPV vaccine and a form of encephalitis called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which the parents claimed was caused by the vaccine.

Read More »HPV vaccine not linked to encephalitis — but, here comes a lawsuit