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COVID-19 hair loss

Large study shows that COVID-19 is linked to hair loss

Recent research published in JAMA Dermatology suggests a connection between COVID-19 and an increased risk of alopecia areata, an autoimmune hair loss condition. A cohort study, including over half a million matched patients, indicates higher autoimmune disease incidence, such as alopecia, in patients who have had COVID-19, providing another incentive for vaccination.

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
hygiene hypothesis

Hygiene hypothesis — misunderstood, misused by the anti-vaccine world

If you spend a lot of time with anti-vaxxers, you’ll notice that they tend to misuse a scientific principle, this time, the hygiene hypothesis, which is a description of how early exposure to microorganisms may assist the immune system to avoid allergic reactions to things in the environment.

Although we’ll discuss the scientific evidence in support of the hypothesis later in this article, anti-vaxxers tend to abuse it. They conflate potentially beneficial organisms, such as the gut biome, with dangerous and deadly pathogens, like measles and polio. The former may be a critical component of the hygiene hypothesis, but the latter is not.

Time to tackle this scientifically controversial topic, and put to rest one of the tropes of the anti-vaccine world that all germs are good. They aren’t.

Read More »Hygiene hypothesis — misunderstood, misused by the anti-vaccine world

Epstein-Barr virus — why we need a vaccine for it

The Epstein-Barr virus is one of the most ubiquitous viruses that infect humans. Around 95% of humans are infected by the virus, so it is probably the most common virus, at least for humans. However, I bet most people haven’t heard of it and are unaware that they have the virus floating around in their bodies.

How did you catch it? It spreads through the saliva, so it could have been from your mother when she shared some of her food with you. Or it could have been from sharing a milkshake while on a date. Or maybe you got it when you kissed your date. In fact, if you caught the virus in this last scenario — as a teen or young adult — then the Epstein-Barr virus may have triggered mononucleosis, or the “kissing disease,” in which a massive immune response against the pathogen causes weeks of sore throat, fever, and debilitating fatigue.

The Epstein-Barr virus is so pervasive, and the outcomes are so minor, you might be wondering why we need a vaccine. The problem is that the outcomes aren’t all that minor — rare, but very serious, outcomes are frequently observed because so many individuals are infected by the disease.

This article will examine what the Epstein-Barr virus is, and why it is so dangerous. Hopefully, it will be obvious why we need a vaccine.

Read More »Epstein-Barr virus — why we need a vaccine for it
Gregory Michael

Dr. Gregory Michael — what happened after he got the COVID vaccine?

Dr. Gregory Michael, MD, a Miami, FL OB-GYN, died a little over two weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  Almost everything that happens after someone gets this new vaccine is under the microscope by just anyone that has an interest in vaccines.

Of course, anti-vaxxers jumped on the bandwagon after reading that Dr. Gregory Michael’s wife stated that he died because of the vaccine. Similar to the story about Tiffany Dover, who fainted soon after being vaccinated because she had a fear of needles and, of course, did not die, the anti-vaccine forces are doing everything they can to discredit the vaccine.

Dr. Michael was one of our brave healthcare workers who delivered babies during a pandemic. He was pro-vaccine, and that’s why he received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Let’s take a close look at what happened to Dr. Michael. Is there a correlation to the COVID-19 vaccine? Did the vaccine cause his death?

Read More »Dr. Gregory Michael — what happened after he got the COVID vaccine?
acute disseminated encephalomyelitis

Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is not linked to the HPV vaccine

A recent case report about a death of a 15-year-old boy from a form of acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) after receiving the quadrivalent HPV vaccine has been widely shared by anti-vaccine groups. Of course, I wanted to look into any potential link between ADEM and the HPV vaccine.

Before I start looking at the evidence, I must point out that case reports have little meaning in the hierarchy of vaccine research. To be honest, case reports, even if they’re published in high-quality journals, barely rise above anecdotes as evidence. Why? They are nothing more than a report without being able to establish causality. But most importantly, they represent an n=1 research population, which tells us little. And it doesn’t show correlation, let alone causation.

We’ve also discussed ADEM before – the tragic story of Christopher Bunch whose mother blamed the HPV vaccine for causing his ADEM.

Setting that aside, is there any evidence that shows any link (or lack of a link) between acute disseminated encephalomyelitis and the HPV vaccine? Let’s take a look at this evidence.

Read More »Acute disseminated encephalomyelitis is not linked to the HPV vaccine
brown wooden gavel on brown wooden table

NVICP compensation and autoimmune syndromes – vaccine court review

This article about NVICP compensation and autoimmune syndromes 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 the social and legal policies of vaccination. 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 disease. She is also a member of the Vaccines Working Group on Ethics and Policy.

This post examines the treatment by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (NVICP) of the second of two claims (see first one here) heard from those claiming vaccines cause more injuries than acknowledged in recent days. This article will focus on NVICP compensation and autoimmune syndromes.

The Special Master’s decisions – as many decisions in NVICP are – are long, complex, and examine the evidence closely and in detail. They address factual debates, expert disagreements specific to the case, and expert disagreements on the science.

This post won’t cover them – that’s not my goal. All I will address are the Special Master’s conclusion about two hypotheses raised by those who believe vaccines injured their child (and also promoted by anti-vaccine organizations).

Read More »NVICP compensation and autoimmune syndromes – vaccine court review
Dr. Gregory Michael

Dr Gregory Michael probably did not die from COVID-19 vaccine – facts

Dr. Gregory Michael, MD, a Miami, FL OB-GYN, died a little over two weeks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.  Almost everything that happens after someone gets this new vaccine is under the microscope by just anyone that has an interest in vaccines.

Of course, anti-vaxxers jumped on the bandwagon after reading that Dr. Gregory Michael’s wife stated that he died because of the vaccine. Similar to the story about Tiffany Dover, who fainted soon after being vaccinated because she had a fear of needles and, of course, did not die, the anti-vaccine forces are doing everything they can to discredit the vaccine.

Dr. Michael was one of our brave healthcare workers who delivered babies during a pandemic. He was pro-vaccine, and that’s why he received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Let’s take a close look at what happened to Dr. Michael. Is there a correlation to the COVID-19 vaccine? Did the vaccine cause his death?

Read More »Dr Gregory Michael probably did not die from COVID-19 vaccine – facts

vaccines cause diabetes

Vaccines cause diabetes – another myth refuted and debunked

If you cruise around the internet, engaging with the anti-vaccine religion (not recommended), you will pick up on their standard tropes, lies, and other anti-science commentaries, like the claim that vaccines cause diabetes. Of course, once one digs into the scientific facts, you find little supporting evidence.

A lot of the vaccine deniers believe that vaccines cause a lot of everything and several claims that vaccines cause Type 1 diabetes (or here), based on little evidence. As far as I can tell, this myth is based on the “research” from  J. Barthelow Classen, M.D., who has pushed the idea that vaccines cause type 1 diabetes, through some magical process that has never been supported by other independent evidence.

In another example of the anti-vaccine zealot’s cherry-picking evidence to support their a priori conclusions, they ignore the utter lack of plausibility supporting any link between vaccines and Type 1 diabetes. At best, Classen has cherry-picked statistics to support his predetermined conclusions, “comparing apples to oranges with health data from different countries, and misrepresenting studies to back his claim.”

Moreover, Classen seems to come to his beliefs based on population-wide correlations that rely on post hoc fallacies, rather than actually showing causality between vaccines and diabetes. It’s like finding that a 5% increase in consumption of Big Macs is correlated with a full moon. Those two things may happen at the same time, but it would take a laughable stretch of real science to make a cause for causality.

Read More »Vaccines cause diabetes – another myth refuted and debunked