COVID vaccinated are NOT as likely to spread the virus as unvaccinated

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I keep seeing the anti-vax claim that those who have received the COVID-19 vaccinated are just as likely to spread the virus as unvaccinated individuals. Another day, another myth from anti-vaxxers that must be debunked, because this is utterly ridiculous.

I know, it’s been debunked so many times, it seems fruitless to do it again, but it’s being used as one of the excuses to not get the vaccine. Among all of the dumb claims of the COVID-19 vaccine deniers, this is one of the dumbest.

This claim about those vaccinated against COVID-19 are as likely (or sometimes more likely) to spread the SARS-CoV-2 virus as unvaccinated is not supported by any scientific evidence. Yet, your local Twitter or Facebook anti-vaxxer loves to spread this inane trope, mainly because they can. And because people seem to believe any outlandish claim made about the vaccine.

Continue reading “COVID vaccinated are NOT as likely to spread the virus as unvaccinated”

COVID vaccine mandates are working

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I know we keep reading about lawsuits and protest about COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but I think we (pro-science, pro-vaxxers) are too focused on the negative. Actual data is showing us that these mandates are working and they are substantially increasing vaccination rates.

There have been a ton of court rulings and public protests about COVID-19 vaccine mandates. Dorit Rubinstein Reiss has written about a few of them, but she is barely keeping up with them. I’m on a mailing list from her, and I swear that it appears that there is a new lawsuit against these mandates every single day. And court rulings have been both positive and negative.

But, as I said above, there is good news. The mandates are actually working. So, let’s take a look at what we know.

Continue reading “COVID vaccine mandates are working”

COVID herd immunity – only with vaccines and other public health measures

coronavirus herd immunity

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.

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New York vaccine mandate – judge rejects anti-vaxxer challenge

On April 18, 2019, a New York Supreme Court Judge (see Note 1) rejected a challenge to the New York vaccine mandate (pdf) brought by three lawyers (attorneys Robert Krakow, Patti Finn, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., all of which have litigated cases on vaccines issues in the past). The litigation involved New York City’s order for an MMR vaccine mandate in certain zip codes.

The decision will likely be appealed but is well-reasoned and at this point, leaves the mandate in place. This article will take a look at the case. Continue reading “New York vaccine mandate – judge rejects anti-vaxxer challenge”

Pro-vaccine commentary from Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – anti-vaxxers whine

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Over this past weekend, Professor Dorit Rubinstein Reiss, a frequent contributor to this website, posted an impassioned pro-vaccine commentary regarding the measles outbreaks in Rockland County, NY and New York City. She posted her rant (that’s what she calls it, but it’s more of social commentary) on her Facebook page, and it was shared widely.

Of course, within a few hours of her post, the anti-vaccine terrorists went on full attack mode doing everything from calling her childish names to verifiable threats of violence. The anti-vaxxers are a horrible religion, getting angry and using violent hate speech whenever they aren’t coddled by the pseudoscientific liars like Del Bigtree

Let’s look at Professor Reiss’ pro-vaccine commentary. Then let’s show the vile hateful and bigoted comments from the anti-vaxxers. Continue reading “Pro-vaccine commentary from Dorit Rubinstein Reiss – anti-vaxxers whine”

Mandatory measles vaccinations in New York City– anti-vaccine lies begin

Mandatory measles vaccination

Unless you’ve been living under that metaphorical rock, you probably know that officials in New York City have ordered mandatory measles vaccinations to stem a large outbreak of the dangerous disease. Within nanoseconds of that announcement, the anti-vaccine hate brigade began with their usual list of crackpot misinformation and pseudoscience

Given how much the anti-vaccine religion abuses social media to push their lies and deception, this article will refute some of the most egregious false claims. Of course, most anti-vaxxers won’t read this, but let’s hope that someone reading the false narratives about New York City’s mandatory measles vaccinations will come here to find evidence-based facts. 

Before I begin, the order from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene was mostly in response to an outbreak among ultra-Orthodox Jews in the borough of Brooklyn. It is probably the largest vaccination order in the United States since the 1980s.

As of 9 April 2019, approximately 285 people have contracted the disease in New York City since September, mostly in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, which has a large number of ultra-Orthodox Jews. New York City public health officials said that of the 285 individuals, 246 were children. Furthermore, 21 of those children have been hospitalized, five in an intensive care unit. Yes, measles is dangerous, and children will be hospitalized.

So, let’s get to those mandatory measles vaccinations tropes. Continue reading “Mandatory measles vaccinations in New York City– anti-vaccine lies begin”

Influenza vaccine mandate – court strikes down regulations

influenza vaccine mandate

On 6 October 2016, the Appellate Division of New York’s Supreme Court held invalid an influenza vaccine mandate that required that children attending certain child care, prekindergarten and kindergarten programs in the city receive an influenza vaccine each year in order to attend. While the decision may appear, on first glance, as a loss for public health and the children of New York City, in reality it gives city health authority broader powers to act for children’s health than did the decision appealed, and offers the board guidance – albeit confusing, and somewhat tricky guidance – for future actions that can withstand scrutiny. If the board chooses to take advantage of this opportunity, it can pass a much more far-reaching regulation.

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Vaccine statistics – scare tactics and bad math don’t fool anyone

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Recently, I wrote an article discussing how antivaccination trope inventors could not understand the most basic elements of mathematics in reading a vaccine label. They misinterpreted some simple math like that the toxic level of a substance is several million times higher than what is injected. I suppose in the minds of vaccine deniers, 1=1 billion. Or 1 trillion. Or 4783.2226. It just depends. Antivaccine activists misuse vaccine statistics to invent scare tactics. Don’t be fooled by their bad math.

And if they can’t understand the simplest of math principles, assuming that they would understand population level statistics might be a really bad assumption.

I was pointed to an antivaccination article, on the Political Blindspot website, which is dedicated to finding news articles swept under the rug by mainstream media. The raptor always gets his feathers ruffled whenever the word “mainstream” is used. Continue reading “Vaccine statistics – scare tactics and bad math don’t fool anyone”

Why we vaccinate–mandatory flu vaccines reduce risk of hospitalization

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Updated 28 November 2014.

According to the unsurprising results reported in a new study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, in areas where laws mandate that children receive a seasonal flu vaccination, before entering preschool or day care, the rate of flu-related hospitalizations drops significantly. In this study, after Connecticut enacted a law that mandated the vaccine, the rate of children requiring hospitalization because of the flu declined by 12%.

Connecticut’s regulation for flu vaccination (pdf), which took effect in 2010, increased the uptake of childhood flu vaccinations from 67.8% to 84.1%. According to Dr. James Hadler, the lead researcher for the study, “That difference, we feel, has resulted in children attending daycare being better protected against influenza and its severe complications.”

Even though Connecticut’s regulations for flu vaccination allows for some exemptions (the child has a scheduled appoint for the shot soon after the start of school, medical contraindication, or religious belief), it’s obvious that the effort was highly successful in driving up the level of uptake of the flu vaccination, a vaccine that is often ignored by parents for occasionally odd reasons. Continue reading “Why we vaccinate–mandatory flu vaccines reduce risk of hospitalization”

The anniversary of September 11–my personal experience

For a moment, I want to step away from my typically snarky commentary about things I see in the pseudoscience world. I want to talk about my own experiences on that day, which, in retrospect, ended up being a closer call than I ever wish to have.

You see, on September 11, 2001, I was taking a morning flight from New York’s JFK airport to my home. I had spent the weekend in New York City with my girlfriend–we had good food and drinks with her brother and her sister-in-law, and we all got good seats for the hit musical on Broadway that year. Even after 13 years, I’ve never seen the movie based on that musical nor listen to the songs, despite how funny they are. It’s because, to me, that musical is intimately tied to 9/11.

 

Credit to Wikimedia Commons, 2011
Credit to Wikimedia Commons, 2011

On Monday, September 10, I had to go down to Wall Street (in a building close to the World Trade Center) to meet with a group that was doing an analysis of one part of the medical device industry, and we spent all day examining numbers, evaluating companies, and discussing future technology. It was highly analytical, and something I enjoy doing.

I also met with a hedge fund operator in the Twin Towers, whom I had befriended in a previous job. His whole investing strategy was to root out liars and frauds in the small medical companies, then short the stock (that is bet that the stock price will drop and profit from it). He had an amusing and colorful internet nom de plume, which I remember to this day.

After the meetings, I was originally going to stay in the Marriott Hotel on Wall Street, but I decided to just stay in my more uptown hotel for better restaurants and things to do.

At this point, the world was perfect for me. New York’s weather was feeling a bit like autumn was just around the corner. I was in a wonderful relationship. And I was going to close on a new house on Tuesday afternoon, so I was in a hurry to get back. Continue reading “The anniversary of September 11–my personal experience”