Our piece in Scientific American
I am wondering what the state of research is on COVID nosesprays (e.g., Enovid/Sanotize) and other measures that actually prevent transmission. Maybe you could do an article on this? There are some of us out here who are still really working to avoid infection (due to autoimmune issues, etc.), but it's becoming more and more difficult as the rest of the world wants to return to normal and make those of us still taking precautions feel crazy. I've seen some studies that suggest that these may actually prevent transmission, but haven't seen any sign that this is a priority anymore. Would love to know your thoughts!
Reason 6: Covid Vaccine Mandates in 2021
When people are mandated to get a shot, especially one that doesn’t prevent infection and transmission, people will understandably lose confidence in the shot.
Following your earlier advice: I had Covid in August, so I will get my vaccine in December (4 month delay). I listen to you.
I've had four shots. I believe in public health. However, I will not get another MRNA-based COVID vaccine. I now have Atrial Fibrillation. Maybe the problem is that the informed public believes that COVID-19 vaccine advocates have not been fully forthcoming about test results provided and are quick to dismiss any anomalies in the data. This is not public health, this is a snow job for the benefit of Big Pharma. Sadly your credibility is waning.. and so thus is shot uptake.
I also think that on-line misinformation (and disinformation) is continuing to recruit covid science deniers.
I'm a physician with epidemiology training and notice that many friends on social media who once advocated for the vaccines are now opposed to them.
Also, people hear of someone with an illness and attribute it to vaccination (the "post hoc ergo propter hoc" logical fallacy).
1) KJ: "Covid-19 circulates year-round, while flu circulates seasonally. "
May want to correct that. The flu, like Covid, circulates year-round. And Covid, like the Flu, has seasonality impact on excess deaths (deaths for the last 3 years returned back to baseline in Spring/Summer, before spiking again in the fall/winter - identical to flu mortality patterns)
2) Not sure the comparison to organ donation makes sense. Organ donation is a risk-free, selfless act, that benefits everyone *except* the organ donor. By contrast, the Covid Vaccine only benefits yourself - it has no impact on others - and, comes with at the risk of feeling crappy the next day which many of you openly acknowledge (this is why I chickened out of the vaccine personally, too many friends, family, and social media influencers talking about how bad they felt following the shot).
So not sure the psychology for the former could apply to the latter.
3) Would you care to make any predictions on what happens if annual covid shot uptake remains low? Will we have higher all-cause mortality than last year?
It seems to me, that if uptake remains low, and excess deaths continue to recede (last, and final update from CDC September 27th showed we were back at pre-covid mortality baselines ), then perhaps the Covid annual shots aren't nearly as important as you believe them to be.
I understand you believe the CDC should allocate part of its finite money to increase marketing campaigns for Covid shots, but if it turns out that *not* spending money on marketing the shots *didn't* impact mortality this coming year, would you reconsider your hypothesis?
People were coerced and/or mandated to get the first iteration of these shots. People were also lied to by "experts" and politicians about the efficacy and safety of these shots. The director of the CDC and the President both said on national TV that the shots would prevent infection/transmission. That was proven false almost immediately.
This isn't hard to figure out. People aren't buying the propaganda anymore and they are resentful about being forced to take the original shots.
It seems like another relevant factor might be that many people have a more intense physiological reaction to COVID vaccines and boosters than they do to flu vaccines and boosters. For some busy people, it's a decision about whether you're willing to just go DOWN for a day or two with nasty fevers / headaches / mental haze or to risk another bout of COVID (which may or may not have strongly affected you before). For the record, I got my shot, and advocate vaccines over catching the 'VID, but I think it's worth considering and publicly acknowledging that the effects of the vaccine can be really unpleasant, and some otherwise willing and informed people might just not want to go through it.
I’ve had friends with insurance forced to pay $200 up for the vaccine and they still haven’t been reimbursed. Privatization is a nightmare and a scam as ever. Also, one reason many delay is that they had such a strong reaction to earlier doses that it took them out of work for days. It’s absolutely worth missing work for a vax compared to the risk of ruining your life by getting Long Covid— but so many working people can’t plan for the future. They can only manage their immediate circumstances. So they don’t miss work for the vax then end up disabled by long covid later or miss weeks of work when they get even just a regular bought of covid. Now there’s information that seems to show that Novavax is less likely to cause extreme reactions in people, but it’s even harder to find.
Fatigue -- sure! People are tired of being lectured to and we'd like to see some statistics. How many adverse events do we expect for each COVID case avoided? Why do we still have no case-control studies of the long-term effects of vaccination on mortality? What are the ingredients in the vaccines, usually reported on a package insert which in this case is blank? Why have reports to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System increased fifty-fold since the mRNA vaccines were introduced?
Maybe it's time to back off our "laser focus" on the propaganda campaign and focus instead on informed consent.
I found it difficult to find the Novavax anywhere in Southern California so I got the Pfizer. It is challenging to navigate the system to get any vaccine and those who don't want the mRNA's will give up. People are also not testing when they have mild symptoms, even when they have a sore throat, loss of taste /smell, or congestion. They don't believe they could have Covid if they are not REALLY sick. How can we educate the general pubic better?
And, of course, there's the problem presented by poor (or absent) science and statistics education in our schools, the politicization of public health in general and vaccination in particular by right wing extremists (including slick propaganda and social media trolls), and the proliferation of self-appointed "experts" with degrees from the Close Cover Before Striking School of Virology and Motel Management on that great sink of B.S. known as YouTube.
It’s been insanely hard to find vaccines for young kids, even in the liberal well vaxxed area where I live. Our pediatrician even wanted it but as of last week it still hasn’t come in. Fortunately we were finally able to get them at Costco, but it was over a month since approval and after earlier Walgreens appts were canceled. If someone doesn’t persevere or is on the fence about it, there’s no way their kids are vaccinated right now. And if the kid is under 3, forget about it.
Congratulations on your article in Scientific American! Love your knack for clarifying and explaining. We definitely need to learn and apply what works (and under what circumstances) in guiding healthy behaviors. Still, that's one thing for people who already believe vaccination is a good idea (at least for them) - and as you point out that's a lot of people. It's more complicated for those who question that - for example because they don't see big waves of hospitalizations following large gatherings, or are actually at low risk of serious consequences of infection, or are hearing the largely unanswered voices of people claiming they have suffered devastating consequences of vaccination (or hearing rumors about supposed cover-ups of DNA contamination (like here: https://worldcouncilforhealth.substack.com/p/urgent-expert-hearing), etc. Got Novavax last week AFTER wading through studies and a dizzying array of commentary on the studies - and I'm a scientist trained to analyze studies! (It helped me decide that I had zero side effects to the first 4 jabs). A big thank you, Dr. Jetelina, for what you're doing here, including convening a community with a range of perspectives.
If people aren't testing for Covid anymore (which is TONS of people - is it most people?!), they never know when they may have had it, and it screws up booster timing. If were weren't testing, I would be hesitant to schedule a booster if we'd had cold symptoms within the four months prior.
The other issue is that so many people have had their butts kicked by mRNA shots (myself included) that it makes the prospect of a booster actually frightening. Rhetoric that minimizes the side effects ("arm's a little sore, a little fatigue" type of talk) is not helpful because it makes it seem like science communicators are not being forthright. I appreciate that you said the shots kicked your butt, Dr. Jetelina. Flu shot uptake would tank if flu shots made people feel mRNA-bad for a few days, too.
Interesting experience at CVS during the early roll-out of the Fall Covid Vax: I was picking up an Rx at my local Chicago CVS in September and hoping for a booster. Before I could ask, the clerk said, "We just got our Covid vaccine order, would you like one?" I said, "Yes!" and turned to a bunch of other old folks in the area and said, "They've got the vaccine!" Well, it was like a party. I was so amazed and pleased to see the enthusiasm as we all waited our turn together. Several were also getting the flu shot. The Scientific American article is right on. If we could only make it this easy for everyone...