Pfizer for the whole pfamily (now CDC-verified!)

In case you missed it amidst the mask discourse: Pfizer was already the “vaccine for cool people,” but this week, it formally became the vaccine for teens. The FDA announced on Monday that it was expanding the Emergency Use Authorization for this vaccine to include children ages 12 to 15, and the CDC followed this up with an official recommendation on Wednesday. The CDC has begun updating its vaccination dashboard with information on this age group.

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The data behind the CDC’s new mask guidance

This past Thursday, the CDC announced that, if you are fully vaccinated, the pandemic is basically over for you. This post goes over the CDC’s evidence for its guidance, taking the epidemiological perspective. Also, as two-thirds of Americans aren’t yet fully vaccinated, I’ll touch on another COVID-19 truism that has garnered some confusion lately: yes, you are significantly safer outside than you are inside.

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J&J is back on the menu

After 10 days, the pause on the J&J vaccine has been lifted. According to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, there have been about 1.9 cases of severe blood clotting per million people who had received the J&J vaccine. It has been re-authorized for use in people aged 18 and older, now with an addendum to the label and fact sheet warning of the risk of blood clots.

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How to talk about breakthrough cases

A lot of journalists, especially those who aren’t familiar with the science/health beat, may be inclined to publish news of breakthrough cases as surprising or monumental. In fact, these cases—referring to a COVID-19 infection that occurs after someone has been fully vaccinated—are entirely normal, yet incredibly rare. But we still need to pursue data on them.

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Did you know that you, a plebeian, can search through VAERS?

VAERS stands for “Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.” It’s used as a “national early warning system to detect possible safety problems in U.S.-licensed vaccines,” it’s been around for much longer than the COVID-19 vaccines or even COVID-19, and it’s how regulators are examining the data about possible complications related to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. And as the cherry on top, the data is open to the public through the WONDER search engine. So what’s there?

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there might be a link between the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and those blood clots after all

This week, authorities had enough data to posit a possible connection between blood clots known as cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The EMA has now advised, as of April 7, that “that unusual blood clots with low blood platelets should be listed as very rare side effects of Vaxzevria (formerly COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca).” They are still recommending its use given the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s another blow to the vaccine that held much of the world’s hopes in inoculating the entire population. A mechanism by which the vaccine is causing these thromboses has not been discovered.

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