COVID-19 vaccine blood clots – the FDA and EMA are doing the right thing

COVID-19 vaccine blood clots

If you have been watching the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, you know that blood clots have become a concern with the vaccines from JNJ (Johnson & Johnson-Janssen) and AstraZeneca. Shockingly, some pro-vaccine types are trying to dismiss these concerns by posting ridiculous memes that try to compare blood clots from these vaccines to ones from birth control pills or smoking.

Setting aside the fact that memes are for the intellectually and scientifically weak, such as anti-vaxxers, these memes are trying to compare apples to bowling balls. Furthermore, ignoring these potential links play right into the hands of the anti-vaccine crowd.

mbedIn my not-so-humble opinion, the US FDA, European Medicines Agency (EMA), and other health agencies across the world have done the right thing by “pausing,” or limiting the use of the vaccines from JNJ and AstraZeneca. Science has been doing the right thing with regards to the COVID-19 vaccine blood clots issue.

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COVID-19 vaccine facts and myths – UPDATED info about the new vaccines

COVID-19 vaccine facts

There are so many myths about the COVID-19 vaccine, I wanted to post some facts about the new vaccines which we can use for debunking purposes. I used to think that the HPV vaccine brought the most hatred and misinformation from the anti-vaccine world, but it’s clear that the new COVID-19 vaccines are their new targets.

This article will only focus on the five vaccines that I believe will eventually receive FDA or European Medicines Agency (EMA) approval – the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ Janssen), and Novavax vaccines. I remain unconvinced that any vaccine made in China or the Russian Sputnik V vaccine will ever get approved by countries with robust drug regulatory agencies. However, if they are, I will certainly add them to a future iteration of this list.

I’m going to make this in a basic chart form for ease of use. I will link to supporting evidence wherever relevant.

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JNJ COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots – still safe and effective

jaj COVID-19 vaccine clots

Like the earlier story about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots, the JNJ (Johnson and Johnson) vaccine is being examined for a potential link to an extremely rare blood clotting disorder. The US Food and Drug Administration and the CDC have placed a “pause” on the use of the vaccine. They have not banned it. They have not recalled it.

Right at the top, I want to state that the JNJ COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective by any rational measurement. My daughters and their significant others all received the vaccine over the weekend after I recommended it, despite the blood clots issue.

I want to review what is happening here. I hope that it helps, in some small way, to allay the fears from this issue.

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Blood clots and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – the EMA weighs in

astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine blood clots

I have previously written about whether thrombosis (formation of blood clots) is linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – my conclusions were that they probably weren’t. However, governments and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are starting to make very concerned about an issue with this vaccine.

Recently, the government of Quebec recently decided that the AstraZeneca vaccine will only be used on individuals 55 years and older. Of course, this caused some parts of the anti-vaccine world to froth at the mouth claiming the vaccine isn’t safe.

Then, on 6 April 2021, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is reporting a plausible link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and thrombotic events. I will discuss this in detail below.

I think that many of the adverse events that are claimed to be associated with any of the COVID-19 vaccines involve the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, which states that because one event precedes another event, they must be linked. It is entirely possible that thrombosis occurs after vaccinations because of random chance rather than actual correlation (let alone causation). However, thrombosis that is temporally associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine may be troubling.

Because the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is one of the four main vaccines (along with those from Pfizer, Moderna, and JNJ) to be given in the USA, Canada, the EU, Australia, and New Zealand, I want to make sure that the potential of a causal link to blood clots are given a thorough analysis.

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AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and thrombosis – should we worry?

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine thrombosis

I have previously written about whether thrombosis (formation of blood clots) is linked to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – my conclusion was that they probably weren’t. But still, there are nagging anecdotes and government decisions that may concern those of you who are looking to get the vaccine.

Recently, the government of Quebec recently decided that the AstraZeneca vaccine will only be used on individuals 55 years and older. Of course, this caused some parts of the anti-vaccine world to froth at the mouth claiming the vaccine isn’t safe.

I think that many of the adverse events that are claimed to be associated with any of the COVID-19 vaccines involve the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, which states that because one event precedes another event, they must be linked. It is entirely possible that thrombosis occurs after vaccinations because of random chance rather than actual correlation (let alone causation).

Because the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is one of the four main vaccines (along with those from Pfizer, Moderna, and JNJ) to be given in the USA, Canada, the EU, Australia, and New Zealand, I want to make sure that the potential of a causal link to thrombosis events are given a thorough analysis. I especially want to focus on why the Government of Quebec decided to make this change – and it’s a lot more complicated than the narratives pushed by the anti-vaccine crowd.

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AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy – no reason to refuse it

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine safety

I have been noting with alarm that the safety and effectiveness of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine – it’s concerning people, and sometimes governments, are refusing the vaccine. This is wrong.

My girlfriend, an ER physician who is literally exhausted from saving lives during this pandemic, wrote this recently:

So many lives have been lost to COVID-19. Please vaccinate.

I may write picky things about these vaccines, just to follow the science, but in the end, I don’t care which COVID-19 vaccine I received and you shouldn’t either. The AstraZeneca vaccine is demonstrably safe and demonstrably effective.

I have made an effort to push the facts and debunk the myths about all of the COVID-19 vaccines. I think the AstraZeneca one needs

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AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against South Africa variant

astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness

One of the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus may impact the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine (ChAdOx1). In this case, the so-called South African variant, B.1.351, has shown to significantly reduce the efficacy of the vaccine. This has become a worrisome issue as the world tries to move away from this pandemic.

Of course, there are only a handful of new COVID-19 strains that are actually dangerous, but the issues are whether the new vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, JNJ, and AstraZeneca confer immunity to any new variants and what regulatory requires may be necessary for the vaccine manufacturers to respond to them.

It’s important for us to keep abreast of these variants and speculate on how we might move forward to protect people. That’s why we need to understand how this new SARS-CoV-2 variant impacted the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine.

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AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine and blood clots – let’s go for facts first

astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine clots

Next up on the COVID-19 vaccine hit list is that the AstraZeneca (Oxford University) vaccine causing blood clots (thrombus). Spoiler alert – no it probably doesn’t.

We should just assume that every single “adverse event” whether or not they’re actually linked to any COVID-19 vaccine will involve the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, which states that because one event precedes another event, they must be linked. In this case, are blood clots related to the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine?

Spoiler alert – the answer is no. That would make this a short article, but real science requires real explanation, so here we go.

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Adenovirus vaccines for COVID-19 – scientific facts vs anti-vax nonsense

pexels-photo-5878514.jpeg

The new COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) and AstraZeneca utilize an adenovirus-vector to prevent the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Of course, this being a new vaccine technology, like the mRNA vaccines used by Pfizer and Moderna, we will be hearing all kinds of false claims about the new adenovirus vaccine.

So, this article will just try to explain what an adenovirus is, how it works in vaccines, and why it is safe. There’s going to be a lot of science here, so I’ll do my best to link you to good articles that explain some of it.

The anti-vaccine squad used an ignorance of basic cell biology to make all kinds of odd claims about the mRNA vaccines such as claiming that it would change the DNA of the vaccine recipient. It can’t.

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Vaccine profits from Big Pharma – let’s take a closer look at this trope

vaccine profits

The old myth of the huge Big Pharma vaccine profits – it’s the subject of so many memes, tropes, and outright lies from the anti-vaccine activists. These vaccine deniers, who not only lack knowledge of science but also of basic corporate finance, believe that every Big Pharma CEO relies on vaccines for their next bonus check, which they use to buy their new Ferrari to show off to imaginary vaccine-injured children.

I am not naive – public corporations have an obligation to their shareholders and employees to maximize profits. That’s capitalism, I suppose.

But where this trope goes off the rails is when you realize that vaccine profits would be eclipsed by medical industry profits if Big Pharma simply stopped producing vaccines – mass epidemics would mean that hospitals would be filled with patients, just look at the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s ironic that the anti-vaxxers claim that Big Pharma’s greed gives us vaccines, but if they were truly greedy they’d be out of the vaccine business.

This article is not going to be as much science as I usually do – it’s going to focus on finance and accounting. Yes, I’m a finance and accounting geek as much as I am a science aficionado. 

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