COVID vaccine during pregnancy – uptake lagging in the USA

close up photo of pregnant woman in white dress holding her stomach

The CDC strongly recommends the COVID vaccine during pregnancy to protect the health of the mother and the developing fetus. The CDC stated that there are “no safety concerns” among women in their third trimester and for their newborn babies.

Despite the claims of COVID-19 deniers everywhere, the disease is dangerous and can cause both short- and long-term harm to anyone, and that means pregnant persons and their newborn babies. That’s why the COVID-19 vaccine is so important.

Unfortunately, recent data from the CDC shows that COVID-19 vaccine uptake during pregnancy has lagged badly. There are a lot of reasons for this, as you might guess.

Let’s take a look at what the CDC is reporting and why pregnant persons should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Continue reading “COVID vaccine during pregnancy – uptake lagging in the USA”

43,000 HPV-associated cancers annually – HPV vaccine can prevent most

HPV-associated cancers

As I’ve written before, there are just a handful of ways to reduce your risk of cancer. One of which is to prevent HPV-associated cancers with the HPV vaccine (see Note 1).

Too many people who discuss the HPV vaccine, especially among the anti-vaccine religion, tend to focus on HPV-related cervical cancer. But HPV is linked to several dangerous and deadly cancers, and a new report examines the details of those cancers. 

Continue reading “43,000 HPV-associated cancers annually – HPV vaccine can prevent most”

Despite CDC, even after the vaccine, I will wear my COVID face mask

COVID-19 face mask

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has decided that the ubiquitous COVID face mask is no longer required anywhere IF you are vaccinated. Since the CDC does not make laws or regulations, some states may still require it.

Here’s the thing – it’s based on the honor system, and if there’s one defining characteristic of Americans who reject science, they aren’t honorable. Why on earth does the CDC think that Americans are so honorable that they would wear a COVID-19 face mask if they aren’t vaccinated? Does the CDC have some secret scientific evidence that would convince anyone that Americans would follow these rules?

Although there is strong science that supports the fact that once one is vaccinated, they are no longer at serious risk of harm from the disease, I believe that the CDC made a political decision, one that makes no sense at all. I’m not alone – only 38% of Americans trust the CDC’s handling of the pandemic.

The new COVID face mask rules make no sense, so I’m going to ignore them. And here are my reasons.

Continue reading “Despite CDC, even after the vaccine, I will wear my COVID face mask”

Sexual promiscuity and the HPV vaccine – debunking an ignorant myth

sexual promiscuity and the HPV vaccine

There is a myth pushed by the anti-vaccine religion that the HPV vaccine leads to sexual promiscuity. I’ve debunked this fable previously, using peer-reviewed research, but you know the anti-vaccine zombie tropes – they never really die, and they always come back to life.

Let’s look at a couple of new studies that, once again, debunk the myth that sexual promiscuity is linked to the HPV vaccine. There is no link. Period. Full stop.

Continue reading “Sexual promiscuity and the HPV vaccine – debunking an ignorant myth”

Pfizer COVID vaccine authorized for use in 12-15-year-olds

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

The FDA has expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to now include 12-15-year-olds. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet soon to make the final recommendations on use of the vaccine in that age group in the USA.

This is an important step in putting the pandemic behind us and allows American families to begin to return to a normal life.

Even though parents have been able to easily get the vaccine, it was only available to adults (although the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine was indicated for 16 years and up). This new authorization means that schools can consider opening up if this age group is vaccinated, and may allow teenagers to attend summer camps and get-togethers with friends.

This broadening of the age group resulted from a clinical trial which enrolled 2,260 participants between the ages of 12 and 15. The young teens were given either two doses of the vaccine (same dosage as adults) or a placebo three weeks apart.

Photo by Marisol Benitez on Unsplash

The researchers recorded 18 cases of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in the placebo group and none in the vaccine group. This showed it to be highly effective at preventing symptomatic illness.

Additionally, the vaccine was also very safe for these children, with similar minor side effects as those seen in the larger clinical trial participants, ages 16-25. Fevers were observed more frequently in the vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds, about 20%, compared to 17% in the 16- to 25-year-olds.

As I wrote previously, we probably need to reach 80% vaccination rates to have full herd immunity, and we will need to include children in that number to even get close. So this is important good news to defeating this pandemic.

So, let me sum this up:

  • The Pfizer COVID vaccine was shown to be highly effective in preventing symptomatic disease in 12- to 15-year-olds.
  • The vaccine was shown to be extremely safe in the same age group.

There’s plenty of vaccines available in the USA. So once ACIP recommends it for this age group, take your kids down to your local vaccine hub and get it done!



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COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy – the CDC now recommends it

pregnancy COVID-19 vaccine

The CDC just announced that it recommends the COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy to protect the health of the mother and the developing fetus. The CDC stated that there are “no safety concerns” among women in their third trimester and for their newborn babies.

Despite the claims of COVID-19 deniers everywhere, the disease is dangerous and can cause both short- and long-term harm to anyone, and that means pregnant persons and their newborn babies. That’s why the COVID-19 vaccine is so important.

Let’s take a look at what the CDC said and why pregnant persons should get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Continue reading “COVID-19 vaccine during pregnancy – the CDC now recommends it”

COVID-19 pandemic flu season – very good news and some bad

COVID-19 pandemic flu season

The COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing but bad news, but the near disappearance of the 2020-21 flu season has given us one tiny bit of good news among a metric tonne of public health bad news.

Despite the weird and unfounded myths the COVID-19 deniers, the only reason why this flu season is so mild is because of the public health strategies to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s it – it’s nothing more dramatic than that. 

Continue reading “COVID-19 pandemic flu season – very good news and some bad”

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. 

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

COVID-19 vaccine safety signals – ACIP reports good news so far

pexels-photo-5922099.jpeg

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has reported that there are no COVID-19 vaccine safety signals through 16 February 2021 for the two vaccines available at that time from Moderna and Pfizer. This is good news and should allay the fears of those who might be on the fence about the vaccines.

I want to briefly examine what ACIP discussed regarding the COVID-19 safety signals. In addition, they looked at any concerns with regards to the vaccine and pregnant women – also good news. So, just good news.

Continue reading “COVID-19 vaccine safety signals – ACIP reports good news so far”

New COVID-19 strains – what does it mean for vaccines

new COVID-19 strains

We have been hearing about several new strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. There may be hundreds or even thousands of variants of the virus, although most may confer no evolutionary advantage and just die out.

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 these new strains and what regulatory requires may be necessary for the vaccine manufacturers to respond to them.

Let’s take a quick review of these new COVID-19 virus strains and what we know about vaccine effectiveness against them.

Continue reading “New COVID-19 strains – what does it mean for vaccines”