Many of us have a love/hate relationship with Facebook – but most of us realized how little it cared about anti-vaccine posts when the COVID-19 vaccines were starting to show high effectiveness and safety in clinical trials. Once we began to believe that we might have COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2020 (which proved to be true), the anti-vaxxers started to move into full action.
I even started to track and debunk the ridiculous claims of the COVID-19 vaccine deniers, most of which I found on various Facebook posts and comments.
And now, with only about 58% of the US population, or around 191 million individuals, having been fully vaccinated, it seems to be more difficult to reach the goal of around 80% of the population who are fully vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
I hate to blame Facebook for all of society’s ills, but it’s clear that they are deeply responsible for the lack of COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the USA and many other countries. Given that only 12 accounts on social media are responsible for around 73% of the anti-vaccine content, it would have been easy for Facebook to block those accounts and keep the noise to a minimum.
But they didn’t. And based on extensive investigations by a consortium of news services across the world, Facebook provided safe harbor for these COVID-19 vaccine deniers for one reason – profits.
Continue reading “Facebook failed to stop anti-vaccine posts – profits trump science”
Another non-peer-reviewed preprint article about natural immunity versus vaccines for COVID-19 is being used as the “gotcha” moment for the anti-vaxxers. And on the surface, the article might be interesting, but it’s being misused. What a shocker.
I’m going to do a quick review of the article, then remind everyone why vaccinations are ALWAYS better than natural immunity. Outcomes from diseases that are prevented by the vaccine must be weighed against the safety and effectiveness of that vaccine. This is a necessary risk-benefit analysis that is required by every procedure or pharmaceutical in evidence-based medicine. And, this is the point that is missed by those pushing this new preprint.
Continue reading “Is natural immunity from COVID better than vaccines? Not really.”
The only way to herd immunity to this pandemic is with COVID-19 vaccines, but still, people are refusing the vaccine, not only in the USA but also throughout the world. But the anti-vaccine world is doing everything it can to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt about these vaccines.
Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious diseases that can occur when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, by vaccines or infection, which reduces the risk of infection by members of the community who lack that immunity. Although we don’t have a solid estimate for herd immunity levels for COVID-19, it is estimated to be between 60 and 75%.
Without herd immunity, there are a number of consequences. People who cannot get vaccinated or are immunocompromised will always be at risk of contracting the disease. The virus will continue to be transmitted, which will lead to more dangerous mutations. And there are local outbreaks of COVID-19 across the world that could bring the disease back to the USA and many other countries where we don’t reach herd immunity.
A large group of COVID-19 deniers and anti-vaxxers want to create herd immunity “naturally” instead of using vaccines – that is essentially genocide since so many people will die or suffer long-term consequences.
We need to get the COVID-19 vaccines into as many people as we can so that we can reach herd immunity. Right now, about 25% of Americans may refuse to get the vaccine, and that means we probably cannot reach herd immunity.
mbedThis article is just a list of my articles that can be useful in your arguments with the anti-vaxxers and individuals who are “on-the-fence.”
Continue reading “COVID-19 vaccines herd immunity – ignore anti-vaxxer disinformation”
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.
Continue reading “Post COVID-19 vaccine? Don’t go back to your pre-pandemic ways”
There has been a lot of excitement lately with the Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines lately, but I wanted to temper your enthusiasm thinking the pandemic is going to be over in a few weeks, and we can all hit the pub, drinking with our friends, family, and neighbors.
If anything, I would strongly recommend wearing a face mask across the world until a substantial number of people are vaccinated, and that may take a lot longer than you thought. By the way, more recent scientific evidence supports the FACT that when both individuals are masked, there is almost no transmission of viruses.
So, let me explain why, despite the good news, we still need to protect ourselves from the coronavirus. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but don’t be confused by the recent announcements by Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna regarding their COVID-19 vaccines – there is still a lot of hard work to be done.
Continue reading “Will the Pfizer Moderna AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines end the pandemic?”
COVID-19 deniers are a new species of science denialists that have arisen since our planet was hit with this pandemic. You know the type – masks are evil, closing restaurants will cause the end of humanity, COVID-19 is a plot by liberals, blah blah blah. They have nothing but conspiracy theories and pseudoscience.
These people really aren’t much different than climate change, vaccine, evolution, and HIV/AIDS deniers who reject science for their own beliefs. The problem with them is that they make it appear that there is some sort of debate when there isn’t. And they’re dangerous to the public health.
But it gets worse. Recently, COVID-19 deniers have signed onto the Great Barrington Declaration, a pretentious sounding “petition” that tries to make it seem like there is a massive number of scientists who dispute some or all of the science about this pandemic.
Those of us who have been fighting the good fight with scientific skepticism have seen this type of thing many times before. Basically, just change the names and the denialism – the Great Barrington Declaration sounds like the same science denialism we’ve all seen before.
Let’s take a look back into history, so take a seat, get some popcorn, and let’s have some fun. Continue reading “COVID-19 deniers and a declaration rejecting science – I’ve seen this before”
Let’s talk about COVID-19 herd immunity, which is something that is being tossed about by everyone, including the British Prime Minister. I guess until the point that Boris Johnson contracted COVID-19.
Herd immunity is one of those terms in public health that is misunderstood and misused by people who are on all sides of science from vaccine deniers to vaccine advocates.
But there’s one thing we should remind ourselves – coronavirus herd immunity is no panacea, and it probably won’t happen without a COVID-19 vaccine, which is probably years away. Furthermore, pandemics like COVID-19 are almost impossible to predict – which makes it even more difficult to determine if we can even have herd immunity for this disease.
Continue reading “COVID herd immunity – only with vaccines and other public health measures”
I’m republishing this article to show the vile hatred of the anti-vaccine racist threats against anyone who supports vaccines. This story is about past anti-vaccine racist violent death threats against California Senator Richard Pan, who pushed through SB277, the bill that eliminated the personal belief exemptions for mandatory school vaccines.
The bill still allows for legitimate medical exemptions (like immunocompromised children who need to be protected through the herd effect). Of course, Senator Pan is now pushing through legislation in the form of SB276 to reduce the abuse of the medical exemptions by many physicians with dubious excuses.
Although Sen. Pan is the leader of the California legislators, who are championing mandatory vaccines for children, others have withstood intense and hate-filled criticism from the anti-vaccine racist crowd.
Continue reading “Anti-vaccine racist threats against Richard Pan because racism”
This piece is a summary of Herd Immunity and Immunization Policy: The Importance of Accuracy, published in v. 94 of the Oregon Law Review.
As a bit of background, in an article that was published in the Oregon Law Review in 2014, authors Mary Holland and Chase E Zachary claimed that school immunization mandates are inappropriate because they reject the concept that herd immunity works.
This article will explain why Holland and Zachary’s analysis or immunization mandates and herd effect is simply incorrect. And let’s be clear – there is a legitimate debate about whether school immunization mandates are appropriate, policy-wise, as a response to non-vaccination.
Unlike vaccine science, the appropriate policy to handle non-immunization is not agreed upon, and the data on what is the right way to get people to vaccinate is anything but clear (though some things are clear – for example, harder to get exemptions lead to higher vaccination rates). But the debate needs to be premised on accurate facts – not on misuse of legal terms and incorrect scientific data. Holland and Zachary’s article does not provide that. Continue reading “Yes, vaccine herd immunity works – scientific evidence supports this fact”
As of 10 May 2019, the CDC has reported 839 cases in the 2019 measles epidemic – the vast majority of these individuals were unvaccinated. As a result, this year is the worst for measles in the USA since 1994, just prior to the startup of the Vaccines for Children Program (VCP) that provides free vaccines to US children.
VCP was passed into law as a consequence of another measles epidemic, from 1989-91, that resulted in over 55,000 reported cases of measles, 11,000 measles-related hospitalization, and 123 deaths. It’s amazing what vaccines can do. Continue reading “2019 measles epidemic still going strong – the MMR vaccine stops it”