I need all your help to make sure that accurate information about vaccines is disseminated and the spread of misinformation is stopped. This blog is dedicated to research and data. If there was really bad news about the vaccines you would hear it from me. (Much as it pains me to say this, if there was really good news about masks, you would hear that from me too.) You may recall I cautioned on the mRNA vaccines that I would be inclined to wait a while to see real-world experience, since they were a new type of vaccine and the side-effect profile may not be clear. It is very clear now. In regard to Pfizer and Moderna there are extremely low rates of serious adverse events and they are incredibly efficacious. J & J, and AstraZeneca, which are a different technology, let’s wait and see if there really is a causation link to clotting issues and what the mechanism is before we panic. I am especially disappointed at the outright lies being spread. These vaccines were tested in humans, they were extensively tested according to normal protocols. They got very thorough review by the FDA. They did get accelerated review and they should have, does anyone seriously think we would be better off if they were took the normal two or three years for a drug approval? Do you know what kind of wave the northeast and Midwest would be having now in the absence of the vaccines? These vaccines are not gene therapy and don’t affect DNA. Trust me on this, I know a lot about genetics, again, I am co-founder of a company that manages gene and cell therapies for payers. DNA is in the nucleus of cells, the vaccines, indeed the virus, never get in the nucleus. The vaccines work in the cytoplasm, the general body of the cell. They use the cell’s own protein-making machinery to work. They work pretty much just like the virus does, like almost all viruses do. (You want to worry about something dangerous, worry about retroviruses, which do affect your DNA. HIV is a retrovirus and that is one reason it is so dangerous. Retroviruses have likely been responsible for some of the current common human gene sequences. Harmless retroviruses are actually used to do gene therapy in some cases.) The vaccines don’t do anything to your genes and they are definitely not gene therapy. I can go on and on, but really, what I am asking is that readers of this blog read this stuff with a jaundiced eye and help stop the spread of misinformation if you see other people doing it. And whatever anti-government, anti-expert feelings you or people you encounter may harbor, I may share those to some extent, but they aren’t a reason to ignore research and data that suggests something is misinformation.
Things keep getting worse in Michigan, thanks to the Governor’s complete mismanagement of the epidemic from start to finish, including a pathetic vaccine rollout. Kind of makes the IB look better, at least we straightened out our vaccination screwups pretty quickly, and because of that, we probably aren’t seeing the same level of case surge, although we do have a pretty high level among all states.
This coronavirus epidemic has people looking back and trying to assess the effects of other common cold viruses, such as rhinovirus. This study, based on cases from a few years ago, found that rhinoviruses actually caused a fair amount of hospitalizations and even deaths in the elderly population. (Medrxiv Paper) My big concern is that as with flu, the public health nazis will think that they should make us all mask and social distance for ever to keep anyone from ever getting a respiratory virus.
This study assessed the impact of decreases in pediatric ER use in one state in the US. (Medrxiv Paper) As you would expect while there are declines in pediatric ER use across the population, the biggest declines, and therefore the greatest risk of adverse effects on health, are among minority and low-income children.
Another potential negative impact of closing schools and lockdowns on children is declining levels of physical activity. A study from Austria finds that children’s cardiovascular fitness declined and their levels of being overweight increased during the epidemic. (Medrxiv Paper)
Another paper that attempts to assess the effect of “non-pharmaceutical interventions”, i.e., lockdowns, social distancing, masks, etc. (RS Paper) The study came from France and found that while the interventions may have slowed transmission, they had no effect on hospitalizations. And they found no real effect of mask mandates. As usual, these studies are methodologically difficult, but this one seems halfway reasonable.