Eight polio cases in Israel, seven did not receive the vaccine

polio

It is 2022, and I cannot believe I have to write about polio. But here we are, some parents in Israel did not vaccinate their children against polio, and they ended up catching the disease, which was so close to becoming extinct.

I am ancient, so I remember classmates in high school who were disabled from polio, probably catching the disease before vaccines became widely available. But most of you probably have not met someone in an iron lung or required braces just to walk from class to class.

The disease was so close to being extinct. dropping to around 5 cases of wild-type polio across the world in 2021. So close.

Let’s take a look at these eight cases in Israel while reminding everyone that the polio vaccine is important.

Continue reading “Eight polio cases in Israel, seven did not receive the vaccine”

Vitamin D deficiency could increase susceptibility to severe COVID

spilled bottle of yellow capsule pills

A new study seems to indicate that individuals with vitamin D deficiencies are more susceptible to severe COVID-19 outcomes. This does not mean that lots of vitamin D can prevent COVID-19 or prevent severe COVID in people with normal vitamin D levels, but it does indicate that this could be an easy way to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19.

I know I have a reputation of being “anti-supplement,” but I usually always write “supplements are useless unless there is a chronic medical condition that requires the supplement.” If you’re not getting any vitamin C in your diet, you can be at risk of scurvy, so taking vitamin C supplements is appropriate. If you are pregnant, folic acid supplements are important to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in your fetus.

The evidence for vitamin D and COVID-19 has been all over the place. Sometimes, I feel that vitamin D is the new great supplement to treat everything. I tend to be skeptical of supplements because they are overhyped. And too many people believe if a small amount does this, then a whole bunch of the supplement ought to boost your immune system or something. All it does is make us have very expensive urine.

Let’s take a look at this new paper. I think it sets out an evidence-based understanding of what vitamin D may do to reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes.

Continue reading “Vitamin D deficiency could increase susceptibility to severe COVID”

COVID infection rates are NOT unrelated to vaccines – debunking research

people woman blur government

Here we go again – bad published research tries to convince us that COVID-19 rates are unrelated to the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines in several countries and US counties. That would be interesting if not for the poor design and analytical methodology utilized by these researchers.

Of course, the second this kind of paper is published, every COVID-19 denier jumps on board to say “here’s the official proof that the COVID-19 vaccines are useless.”

I’m going to set aside the irony that anti-vaxxers love to argue that the bulk of vaccine research is garbage, usually bought by Big Pharma. But any “research” that supports their pre-conceived conclusion is, of course, Nobel Prize-worthy.

It’s frustrating, but my job is to critique this type of research. And this new paper that states that COVID-19 rates are not related to uptake levels of vaccines is a prime example of research filled with bad methodology, poor analytical procedures, and lots of bias.

Here we go again.

Continue reading “COVID infection rates are NOT unrelated to vaccines – debunking research”

COVID vaccines effectiveness against new Delta variant

COVID vaccines effectiveness Delta

With the spread of the Delta variant (known as B.1.617.2 by the CDC) from India, scientists have been concerned about the effectiveness of COVID vaccines against it. The good news is that the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines seem to fairly effective against this new variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Let’s take a look at the paper that describes the effectiveness of the vaccines against the COVID-19 Delta variant.

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Myocarditis and COVID vaccine – a rare event that may not be linked

COVID-19 vaccine myocarditis

Regulatory agencies across the world, including the FDA and CDC, are monitoring COVID-19 vaccine adverse events including reports of myocarditis, a heart inflammation. Of course, the anti-vaccine squad will probably jump on this to make it appear that the vaccine is dangerous.

My job is to look at this data and give you a scientific analysis of the observations and whether they are actually related to the vaccine.

Like with reports of other conditions, such as blood clots, after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, we need to examine whether this adverse event is related to the vaccine or just random events in which the incidence is no different than what would be predicted in a similar group of unvaccinated people.

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Science journal says Israeli immunologist Yehuda Shoenfeld is anti-vaccine

shoenfeld

We have been critical of Israeli immunologist Yehuda Shoenfeld for years. Recently, both Dorit Rubinstein Reiss and the old raptor have written critical articles about Shoenfeld’s anti-vaccine opinions that are being used as a false authority by the anti-vaccine zealots to push their harmful narrative.

Shoenfeld has invented and continued to push a medical condition he calls ASIA – autoimmune syndrome induced by adjuvants. He claims it is a risk for receiving the cancer-preventing HPV vaccine. However, there is simply no evidence that ASIA exists.

However, there isn’t one femtogram of evidence supporting the existence of ASIA, let alone any link to any vaccine.

ASIA is not accepted by the scientific and medical community (and see this published article), was rejected by the United States vaccine court as a claim for vaccine injury, and should not be accepted by parents deciding whether they should vaccinate their children.

Furthermore, the European Medicines Agency, which is the primary regulatory body in the EU for pharmaceuticals, has rejected any link between the HPV vaccine and various autoimmune disorders. They state that the science directly contradicts any autoimmune syndromes being caused by any vaccine.

Moreover, the respected World Health Organization (WHO)  has scientifically rejected the quackery of ASIA (if it even exists) is caused by vaccines, notably, the HPV vaccine.

A while ago, I reviewed another study, which was a properly designed case-control epidemiological study. According to the study published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, HPV vaccines do not increase the risk of developing autoimmune diseases (ADs). This adds to the body of research, based on a methodology that helps us establish correlation and causation, that rejects the hypothesis that the HPV vaccine is related to ASIA.

But if that’s not enough to convince you that Yehuda Shoenfeld is anything but an anti-vaccine pseudoscientist, let’s take a look at a new article published in the very prestigious journal Science.

Continue reading “Science journal says Israeli immunologist Yehuda Shoenfeld is anti-vaccine”

Israeli medical association calls out Yehuda Shoenfeld on vaccines

yehuda shoenfeld

This reblogged article about Yehuda Shoenfeld was originally published in the Times of Israel blogs. It 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.

On September 24, 2019, Israel’s Association of Public Health Physicians criticized Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld’s “severe lapse of judgment” in publishing a book review of an anti-vaccine pamphlet by two non-experts and called for his resignation as editor-in-chief of the prestigious Israeli (Hebrew) medical journal Harefuah. Justified as the criticism was, the Association did not go far enough. For years, Dr. Yehuda Shoenfeld has used his considerable influence to support the anti-vaccine cause. His publications on vaccines and his behavior show his commitment to spreading and promoting anti-vaccine claims. He should not be teaching students on vaccine issues, nor should he be given additional positions of scientific authority, like the Israeli Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Continue reading “Israeli medical association calls out Yehuda Shoenfeld on vaccines”

Genetics cause autism in new study – once again, it’s not about vaccines

Let’s start right at the top – a new, powerful study has shown that mostly genetics cause autism. Despite the fear, uncertainty, and doubt from the anti-vaccine religion, we have overwhelming scientific evidence that vaccines are not linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This is settled science

Almost all legitimate science researchers who focused on autism never bought into the vaccines link. Not only was there no evidence of this imaginary link (thanks to the cunning fraud Andrew Wakefield), when scientists went looking for a possible link, they never found one. 

However, investigators have been searching for legitimate underlying etiologies for ASD – the hypothesis that genetics cause autism has been the center of research for years. 

So let’s look at this study in detail so that we all have more evidence to shut down the vaccines and autism tropes. Well, at least we can try, since the pseudoscience that permeates the anti-vaccine world is resistant to scientific facts (see Del Bigtree).  Continue reading “Genetics cause autism in new study – once again, it’s not about vaccines”

Cure cancer in one year according to Israeli scientists – just bovine feces

cure cancer

If you’ve been cruising Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ lately, you’d have seen some breathless headlines claiming that Israeli scientists have discovered a miracle cure for cancer. And it will be ready in one year.

What a load of rubbish, balderdash, codswallop, claptrap, and nonsense.

I’d end the article right there because nothing more really needs to be written. But you come here for the snark, but stay for the science. Or come here for the science, and stay for the snark. Either way, I need to spend a few minutes of your time, and a couple of thousand words, to put this pile of equine excrement into a waste pit.

So let’s take a look at how some Israeli scientists will cure cancer. Spoiler alert – they can’t. Continue reading “Cure cancer in one year according to Israeli scientists – just bovine feces”

Israel vaccine law proposal – seeking balance to improve vaccination rates

With the support of a local pro-vaccine non-profit made of parents and professional volunteers, two parliament members are proposing an Israel vaccine law to improve immunization rates. This and other proposals are a response to a measles outbreak made up mostly of unvaccinated individuals. The proposal explicitly seeks to improve disease prevention while minimizing the effect on autonomy. It does so with a mix of measures that mirror laws existing in other countries and new ideas. 

While the proposal is likely to face criticism from both immunization opponents and those seeking stronger measures, the proposed Israel vaccine law has potential to improve immunization rates in Israel and may be a better fit for Israel’s situation than alternatives. It is clear that a lot of thought went into it. Continue reading “Israel vaccine law proposal – seeking balance to improve vaccination rates”