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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COVID vaccine development process – how it compares to “normal”

Back before the world of the COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine development process took a long time. Despite the nonsensical claims of the anti-vaccine zealots, the vaccine development process is robust and thorough. The safety and effectiveness of all of the pre-pandemic vaccines are settled science (read the article before you jump up and down screaming about “settled science”).  

However, the world of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that if we can save a few months or even years off the development timeline on a new COVID-19 vaccine, it could save hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of lives.

Of course, much of the optimism comes from experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the few rational public health experts who are willing to speak up in Washington DC. Maybe he has seen some secret data only available only to him and Bill Gates that supports this optimism. Maybe he just is trying to be the national cheerleader for healthcare.

I don’t know the real answer, but a lot of vaccine experts who have spent their lifetime studying vaccines, like Dr. Peter Hotez, MD Ph.D., have expressed dismay at how politics may “trump” good science.

So, this article will try to lay out the COVID-19 vaccine development process, along with the independent controls that make sure that all vaccines are safe and effective.

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Judy Mikovits is not an authority on vaccines and COVID-19

If you have been following the detritus of the internet regarding COVID-19, you have probably seen a video called “Plandemic” from Judy Mikovits, another pseudoscientist screaming about conspiracies and nonsense during this pandemic. She has a long history of scams and false information over a few decades, not unlike all of the other false authorities we’ve seen over the years.

I thought that “Dr.” Mikovits disappeared from view after a few months, but I keep seeing stuff about her – she’s written a book, she’s attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, and she’s still making false claims about COVID-19 vaccines.

In case you don’t know about a “false authority,” formally the “argument from false authoritylogical fallacy, it means the argument favors claims from individuals based solely on their credentials rather than the scientific consensus. Credentials don’t matter – I may be someone who has a Ph.D. in cell biology and biochemistry from a top university, but if I claim that you must believe that Sasquatch exists because of my expert background, you should ignore me. On the other hand, Sasquatch does not exist.

The anti-vaccine zealots have a long history of relying upon false authorities – Tetyana Obukhanych, Christopher Exley, and Christopher Shaw. None of the individuals have any reputation in vaccines, yet they are deified by the anti-vaxxers. I’m guessing that Judy Mikovits will be joining that crowd soon.

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COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy – expert recommendations on safety

COVID-19 vaccine and pregnancy

One of the questions that keep entering the discourse on the COVID-19 vaccine is whether it should be given during pregnancy. There’s not a definitive answer, but there is some good advice based on evidence from leading infectious disease experts.

I’m not here to make a recommendation one way or another regarding whether the COVID-19 vaccine should be given during pregnancy. My job is to provide the evidence and the recommendations so that every woman can be armed with this when speaking to their healthcare provider.

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Post COVID-19 vaccine? Don’t go back to your pre-pandemic ways

post COVID-19 vaccine

Many people have received one or both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and I’ve been reading that post-vaccination means going back to how it was pre-pandemic – party with all your friends in a crowded restaurant.

I don’t mean to be THAT guy – you know, the one that says that buying a trampoline for your kids is not a good idea. But I’ve seen too many social media posts in which people are stating that they are now protected so they don’t have to worry about things. They are just plain wrong.

Despite my being solidly in support of the COVID-19 vaccine, there are three very good reasons to continue to be diligent post-vaccination. 

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Peter Doshi discusses COVID vaccine clinical trials – once again, he’s wrong

anti-vaccine peter doshi

One of the most annoying anti-vaccine activists is Peter Doshi who has decided to pontificate on COVID-19 vaccine trials. He is bothersome not because he is a noteworthy scientist or physician, he’s not, it’s because he somehow scored a position as an editor at the respected medical journal, BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal).

BMJ is not a hotbed of anti-vaccine pseudoscience, except for the presence of Peter Doshi. For example, they published a series of articles, written by Brian Deer, about Andrew Wakefield’s despicable deceit, you can read about it herehere, and here. Deer has also written a powerful book about Wakefield’s fraud. I wonder what Mr. Deer thinks of Peter Doshi as an editor at the acclaimed medical journal.

Doshi occasionally uses BMJ as his personal bully pulpit to push anti-vaccine rhetoric that can lead the casual observer to think that he is some respected authority figure with vaccines. He isn’t.

Peter Doshi has just posted an anti-vaccine blog post on BMJ attacking the clinical trials for the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.  His opinion piece needs to be critiqued because his attacks can add to the vast number of anti-COVID-19 vaccine myths that are being spread across the internet. 

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Coronavirus vaccine race – Operation Warp Speed could be a disaster

coronavirus vaccine race

Donald Trump has recently pushed “Operation Warp Speed” that will speed the coronavirus vaccine race so that we can have a new COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021. This is could end up being a disaster.

This is like the hundredth article I’ve posted on coronavirus vaccines. I just joked with someone that if I wrote an article that conclusively established that aluminum adjuvants in vaccines actually cured cancer, erectile dysfunction, and the inability to hit an inside curveball, the first 30 comments posted at the end of that article would ask, “yeah that’s nice to know, old dinosaur. But does it cure COVID-19?”

Even Dr. Anthony Fauci, whose facial expressions in response to whatever lie that Donald Trump is saying during his daily coronavirus campaign events are meme-worthy, has also said that we might see a vaccine within 12-18 months. Now, Dr. Fauci is a billion times smarter than I ever will be about immunology, infectious diseases, and baseball, but I have numerous reservations about this aggressive timeline. 

Maybe Dr. Fauci has some inside knowledge. Maybe he has seen some secret data only available only to him and Bill Gates. Maybe Trump has a gun pointed at him during these press briefings (really, campaign rallies). 

I don’t know the real answer, but a lot of vaccine experts who have spent their lifetime studying vaccines are very skeptical of this aggressive timeline for a new COVID-19 vaccine. I consider myself a pharmaceutical development expert, and I am unconvinced that this coronavirus vaccine race can be done safely. Continue reading “Coronavirus vaccine race – Operation Warp Speed could be a disaster”

Coronavirus vaccine development – it’s going to take a long time

Coronavirus vaccine development

I keep reading this belief, over and over, that by some miracle, coronavirus vaccine development will only take “12-18 months.” Like a lot of things in life, we keep repeating that mantra, but when anyone tries to find any veracity in that claim, there’s little there.

I know this is like the hundredth article I’ve posted on coronavirus vaccines. I just joked with someone that if I wrote an article that conclusively established that aluminum adjuvants in vaccines actually cured cancer, erectile dysfunction, and the inability to hit an inside curveball, the first 30 comments posted at the end of that article would ask, “yeah that’s nice to know, old dinosaur. But does it cure COVID-19?”

But the common theme I keep hearing is that coronavirus vaccine development will go super fast, and we’ll have that vaccine in 12-18 months. Then we can go back to fun times like watching that inside curveball at a baseball game, scaring away wildlife at our National Parks, and sitting in our friendly diner consuming thousands of calories. 

Even Dr. Anthony Facui, whose facial expressions in response to whatever lie that Donald Trump is saying during his daily coronavirus campaign events are meme-worthy, has said that we might see a vaccine within 12-18 months. Now, Dr. Fauci is a billion times smarter than this old raptor, but I am very skeptical. 

Maybe he has some inside knowledge. Maybe he has seen some secret data only available only to him and Bill Gates. Maybe Trump has a gun pointed at him during these campaign rallies. Or maybe he just believes it because he’s an optimistic person, and he doesn’t want people to give up knowing that it could take three or more years for a vaccine.

I don’t know the real answer, but a lot of vaccine experts who have spent their lifetime studying vaccines, and they are very skeptical of this aggressive coronavirus vaccine development timeline. 

I know I’ve been repeating myself over and over and over about coronavirus vaccine development, but I just think that we’re doing a disservice to public health by placing bets on a COVID-19 vaccine being out there any time within that timeframe. Continue reading “Coronavirus vaccine development – it’s going to take a long time”