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Thread: COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus pandemic

  1. #1176
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    https://nypost.com/2021/01/15/23-die...id-19-vaccine/

    Twenty-three people died in Norway within days of receiving their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, with 13 of those deaths — all nursing home patients — apparently related to the side effects of the shots, health officials said.

    Common reactions to the vaccine, including fever and nausea, “may have contributed to a fatal outcome in some frail patients,” Sigurd Hortemo, chief physician at the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said in a Friday statement.

    All 13 were nursing home patients and at least 80 years old. While officials aren’t expressing serious concern, they are adjusting their guidance on who should receive the vaccine.

    The news comes just over a week after officials reported the deaths of just two nursing home residents after they received the Pfizer jab.

    More than 30,000 people in Norway have received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine in the Scandinavian country since late last month, according to official figures.

    “We are not alarmed by this,” Steinar Madsen, medical director with the agency, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients.”

    “Doctors must now carefully consider who should be vaccinated,” he added. “Those who are very frail and at the very end of life can be vaccinated after an individual assessment.”

    SEE ALSO

    Norway probes deaths of two nursing home residents who got Pfizer’s COVID vaccine
    The agency reported Thursday that a total of 29 people had suffered side effects, including the 13 people who died.

    Twenty-one women and eight men experienced side effects, officials said.

    Besides those who died, nine had serious side effects — including allergic reactions, strong discomfort and severe fever — while seven had less serious ones, including severe pain at the injection site.

    In total, more than 57,000 cases and 500 coronavirus-related deaths have been reported in Norway, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    Health officials noted that around 400 people die each week in the nursing home population.

    A Pfizer rep said the pharmaceutical giant is “aware of reported deaths” following the administration of the vaccine in Norway and is working with the Norwegian Medicines Agency “to gather all the relevant information.”

    “Norwegian authorities have prioritized the immunization of residents in nursing homes, most of whom are very elderly with underlying medical conditions and some which are terminally ill,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “[The Norwegian Medicine Agency confirms] the number of incidents so far is not alarming, and in line with expectations.”

    “All reported deaths will be thoroughly evaluated by [the agency] to determine if these incidents are related to the vaccine,” she added. “The Norwegian government will also consider adjusting their vaccination instructions to take the patients’ health into more consideration.”

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  2. #1177
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://biologydiscussionsblog.blogs...-in-30-us.html

    NEW YORK (AP) — Coronavirus deaths are rising in nearly two-thirds of American states as a winter surge pushes the overall toll toward 400,000 amid warnings that a new, highly contagious variant is taking hold.
    As Americans observed a national holiday Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pleaded with federal authorities to curtail travel from countries where new variants are spreading.

    Referring to new versions detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil, Cuomo said: “Stop those people from coming here.... Why are you allowing people to fly into this country and then it’s too late?”

    The U.S. government has already curbed travel from some of the places where the new variants are spreading — such as Britain and Brazil — and recently it announced that it would require proof of a negative COVID-19 test for anyone flying into the country.

    But the new variant seen in Britain is already spreading in the U.S., and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection has warned that it will probably become the dominant version in the country by March. The CDC said the variant is about 50% more contagious than the virus that is causing the bulk of cases in the U.S.

    While the variant does not cause more severe illness, it can cause more hospitalizations and deaths simply because it spreads more easily. In Britain, it has aggravated a severe outbreak that has swamped hospitals, and it has been blamed for sharp leaps in cases in some other European countries.

    As things stand, many U.S. states are already under tremendous strain. The seven-day rolling average of daily deaths is rising in 30 states and the District of Columbia, and on Monday the U.S. death toll surpassed 398,000, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University — by far the highest recorded death toll of any country in the world.

    Full Coverage: Coronavirus pandemic
    Ellie Murray, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health, said cases have proliferated in part because of gatherings for Christmas and New Year — and compounded previous surges from Thanksgiving and the return of students to schools and universities in the fall.

    The pace of any further spread will depend on whether those who did gather with family and friends quarantined afterward or went back to school or work in person, she said.

    One of the states hardest hit during the recent surge is Arizona, where the rolling average has risen over the past two weeks from about 90 deaths per day to about 160 per day on Jan. 17.

    “It’s kind of hard to imagine it getting a lot faster than it is right now, because it is transmitting really fast right now,” said Dr. Joshua LaBaer, director of the Biodesign Institute research center at Arizona State University. “But there is some evidence that Thanksgiving didn’t help things.”

    Rural Yuma County — known as the winter lettuce capital of the U.S. — is now one of the state’s hot spots. Exhausted nurses there are now regularly sending COVID-19 patients on a long helicopter ride to hospitals in Phoenix when they don’t have enough staff. The county has lagged on coronavirus testing in heavily Hispanic neighborhoods and just ran out of vaccines.

    But some support is coming from military nurses and a new wave of free tests for farmworkers and the elderly in Yuma County.



    Amid the rise in cases, a vast effort is underway to get Americans vaccinated — what Cuomo called “a footrace” between the vaccination rate and the infection rate. But the campaign is off to an uneven start. According to the latest federal data, about 31.2 million doses of vaccine have been distributed, but only about 10.6 million people have received at least one dose.

    In some cases, vaccine supplies thus far do not meet demand. More than 172,000 people in Missouri’s St. Louis County have registered for the vaccine, but the local health department so far has only received 975 doses, said County Executive Sam Page.

    In California, the most populous state, counties are pleading for more vaccine as the state tries to reduce a high rate of infection that has led to record numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.

    Although the state last week said anyone age 65 and older can start receiving the vaccine, Los Angeles County and some others have said they don’t have enough to immunize so many people. They are concentrating on protecting health care workers and the most vulnerable elderly in care homes first.

    On Monday, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District sent a letter asking for state and county authorization to provide vaccinations at schools for staff, local community members — and for students once a vaccine for children has been approved.

    The death rate from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County — an epicenter of the U.S. pandemic — works out to about one person every six minutes. On Sunday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District suspended some pollution-control limits on the number of cremations for at least 10 days in order to deal with a backlog of bodies at hospitals and funeral homes.

    In other areas of the country, officials are working to ensure that people take the vaccine once they’re offered it amid concerns that many people are hesitant. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, in a livestreamed event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, received a shot, and urged other Marylanders to do likewise.

    “We’re all looking forward to the day we can take off and throw away our masks,” Hogan said. “The only way we are going to return to a sense of normalcy is by these COVID-19 vaccines.”

    But challenges to the vaccine campaign are surfacing worldwide.

    The World Health Organization chief on Monday lambasted drugmakers’ profits and vaccine inequalities, saying it’s “not right” that younger, healthier adults in some wealthy countries get vaccinated against COVID-19 before older people or health care workers in poorer countries.

    Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus lamented that one country received a mere 25 doses while over 39 million doses have been administered in nearly 50 richer nations.

    “Just 25 doses have been given in one lowest income country — not 25 million, not 25,000 — just 25. I need to be blunt: The world is on the brink of a catastrophic moral failure,” Tedros said. He did not specify the country, but a WHO spokeswoman identified it as Guinea.

    ___

    AP writers Suman Naishadham in Phoenix and Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed to this report.



    https://apnews.com/article/new-york-...90289ebb9d7630

  3. #1178
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    https://biologydiscussionsblog.blogs...-european.html

    BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Vaccines from the West, Russia or China? Or none at all? That dilemma faces nations in southeastern Europe, where coronavirus vaccination campaigns are off to a slow start — overshadowed by heated political debates and conspiracy theories.

    In countries like the Czech Republic, Serbia, Bosnia, Romania and Bulgaria, vaccine skeptics have included former presidents and even some doctors. Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic was among those who said he did not want to be forced to get inoculated.

    False beliefs that the coronavirus is a hoax or that vaccines would inject microchips into people have spread in the countries that were formerly under harsh Communist rule. Those who once routinely underwent mass inoculations are deeply split over whether to get the vaccines at all.

    “There is a direct link between support for conspiracy theories and skepticism toward vaccination,” a recent Balkan study warned. “A majority across the region does not plan to take the vaccine, a ratio considerably lower than elsewhere in Europe, where a majority favors taking the vaccine.”

    Only about 200,000 people applied for the vaccine in Serbia, a country of 7 million, in the days after authorities opened the procedure. By contrast, 1 million Serbians signed up for 100 euros ($120) on the first day the government offered the pandemic aid.

    Hoping to encourage vaccinations, Serbian officials have gotten their shots on TV. Yet they themselves have been split over whether to get the Western-made Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or Russia’s Sputnik V, more divisions in a country that is formally seeking European Union membership but where many favor closer ties with Moscow.

    Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Saturday greeted a shipment of 1 million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine, saying he will receive a shot to show that it is safe.

    “Serbs prefer the Russian vaccine,” read a recent headline of the Informer, a pro-government tabloid, as officials announced that 38% of those who have applied to take the shots favor the Russian vaccine, while 31% want the Pfizer-BioNTech version — a rough division among pro-Russians and pro-Westerners in Serbia.

    In neighboring Bosnia, a war-torn country that remains ethnically divided among Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats, politics also are a factor, as the Serb-run half appeared set to opt for the Russian vaccine, while the Bosniak-Croat part likely will turn to the Western ones.

    Sasa Milovanovic, a 57-year-old real estate agent from Belgrade, sees all vaccines as part of the “global manipulation” of the pandemic.

    “People are locked up, they have no lives any longer and live in a state of hysteria and fear,” he said.

    Djokovic has said he was against being forced to take a coronavirus vaccine in order to travel and compete but was keeping his mind open. The top-ranked tennis player and his wife tested positive in June after a series of exhibition matches with zero social distancing that he organized in the Balkans. They and their foundation have donated 1 million euros ($1.1 million) to buy ventilators and other medical equipment for hospitals in Serbia.

    Serbian Health Ministry official Mirsad Djerlek has described the vaccine response as “satisfactory,” but cautioned on the state-run RTS broadcaster that “people in rural areas usually believe in conspiracy theories, and that is why we should talk to them and explain that the vaccine is the only way out in this situation.”

    A study by the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, published before the regional vaccination campaign started in December, concluded that virus conspiracy theories are believed by nearly 80% of citizens of the Western Balkan countries striving to join the EU. About half of them will refuse to get vaccinated, it said.

    Baseless theories allege the virus isn’t real or that it’s a bioweapon created by the U.S. or its adversaries. Another popular falsehood holds that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is using COVID-19 vaccines to implant microchips in the planet’s 7 billion people.

    A low level of information about the virus and vaccines, distrust in governments and repeated assertions by authorities that their countries are besieged by foreigners help explain the high prevalence of such beliefs, according to the Balkans think tank.

    Similar trends have been seen even in some eastern European Union countries.

    In Bulgaria, widespread conspiracy theories hampered past efforts to deal with a measles outbreak. Surveys there suggested distrust of vaccines remains high even as coronavirus cases keep rising. A recent Gallup International poll found that 30% of respondents want to get vaccinated, 46% will refuse and 24% are undecided.

    Bulgarian doctors have tried to change attitudes. Dr. Stefan Konstantinov, a former health minister, joked that people should be told neighboring Greece would close resorts to tourists who don’t get vaccinated, because “this would guarantee that some 70% of the population would rush to get a jab.”

    In the Czech Republic, where surveys show some 40% reject vaccination, protesters at a big rally against government virus restrictions in Prague demanded that vaccinations not be mandatory. Former President Vaclav Klaus, a fierce critic of the government’s pandemic response, told the crowd that vaccines are not a solution.

    “They say that everything will be solved by a miracle vaccine,” said the 79-year-old Klaus, who insists that people should get exposed to the virus to gain immunity, which experts reject. “We have to say loud and clear that there’s no such a thing. … I am not going to get vaccinated.”

    Populist authorities in Hungary have taken a hard line against virus misinformation, but rejection of vaccines is still projected at about 30%. Parliament passed emergency powers in March that allows authorities to prosecute anyone deemed to be “inhibiting the successful defense” against the virus, including “fearmongering” or spreading false news. At least two people who criticized the government’s response to the pandemic on social media were arrested, but neither was formally charged.

    Romanian Health Minister Vlad Voiculescu said he is relying on family doctors to “inform, schedule and monitor people after the vaccine” and that his ministry will offer bonuses to medical workers based on the number of people they get onboard. Asked if such incentives would fuel anti-vaccination propaganda, Voiculescu said: “I am interested more by the doctors’ view on the matter than I am about the anti-vaxxers.”

    Dr. Ivica Jeremic, who has worked with virus patients in Serbia since March and tested positive himself in November, hopes vaccination programs will gain speed once people overcome their fear of the unknown.

    “People will realize the vaccine is the only way to return to normal life,” he said.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Veselin Toshkov in Sofia, Bulgaria; Karel Janicek in Prague, Czech Republic; Justin Spike in Budapest, Hungary; and Vadim Ghirda in Bucharest, Romania, contributed.



    https://apnews.com/article/conspirac...8d499ec08e0504

  4. #1179
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://biologydiscussionsblog.blogs...-to-top-3.html

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — California on Monday became the first state to record more than 3 million known coronavirus infections.
    The grim milestone, as tallied by Johns Hopkins University, wasn’t entirely unexpected in a state with 40 million residents but its speed stunning. The state only reached 2 million reported cases on Dec. 24.
    The first coronavirus case in California was confirmed last Jan. 25. It took 292 days to get to 1 million infections on Nov. 11 and 44 days to top 2 million.
    California’s caseload is also far ahead of other large states. Texas had more than 2 million and Florida topped 1.5 million.
    The state has recorded more than 33,600 deaths related to COVID-19.
    A caseload surge that began last fall has strained hospitals and especially intensive care units as a percentage of the infected — typically estimated to be around 12% by public health officials — become sick enough weeks later to need medical care.
    On average, California has seen about 500 deaths and 40,000 new cases daily for the past two weeks.
    Officials warn that a recent slight downward trend in hospitalizations could reverse when the full impact of New Year’s Eve gathering transmissions is felt.
    The state is placing its hopes on mass vaccinations to reduce the number of infections but there have been snags in the immunization drive. On Sunday, Dr. Erica S. Pan, the state epidemiologist, urged that providers stop using one lot of a Moderna vaccine because some people needed medical treatment for possible severe allergic reactions.
    More than 330,000 doses from lot 41L20A arrived in California between Jan. 5 and Jan. 12 and were distributed to 287 providers, she said.
    In Northern California, Stanislaus County health officials responded by announcing they wouldn’t be holding vaccination clinics until further notice.
    “Out of an extreme abundance of caution and also recognizing the extremely limited supply of vaccine, we are recommending that providers use other available vaccine inventory” pending completion of an investigation by state officials, Moderna, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the federal Food and Drug Administration, Pan said in a statement.
    Fewer than 10 people, who all received the vaccine at the same community site, needed medical attention over a 24-hour period, Pan said. No other similar clusters were found.
    Pan did not specify the number of cases involved or where they occurred.
    Six San Diego health care workers had allergic reactions to vaccines they received at a mass vaccination center on Jan. 14. The site was temporarily closed and is now using other vaccines, KTGV-TV reported.
    Moderna in a statement said the company “is unaware of comparable adverse events from other vaccination centers which may have administered vaccines from the same lot.”
    The CDC has said COVID-19 vaccines can cause side effects for a few days that include fever, chills, headache, swelling or tiredness, “which are normal signs that your body is building protection.”
    However, severe reactions are extremely rare. Pan said in a vaccine similar to Moderna’s, the rate of anaphylaxis — in which an immune system reaction can block breathing and cause blood pressure to drop — was about 1 in 100,000.
    The announcement came as California counties continue to plead for more COVID-19 vaccine as the state tries to tamp down its rate of infection, which has resulted in record numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.
    California has shipped about about 3.2 million doses of the vaccine — which requires two doses for full immunization — to local health departments and health care systems, the state’s Department of Public Health reported Monday.
    Only about 1.4 million of those doses, or around 40%, have been administered.
    So far, the state has vaccinated fewer than 2,500 people per 100,000 residents, a rate that falls well below the national average, according to federal data.
    Although Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that anyone age 65 and older would be eligible to start receiving the vaccine, Los Angeles County and some others have said they do not have enough doses to vaccinate that many people and are first concentrating on inoculating health care workers and the most vulnerable elderly living in care homes.
    The death rate from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County — the nation’s most populous and an epicenter of the state pandemic — works out to about one person every six minutes.
    On Sunday, the South Coast Air Quality Management District suspended some pollution-control limits on the number of cremations for at least 10 days in order to deal with a backlog of bodies at hospitals and funeral homes.
    “The current rate of death is more than double that of pre-pandemic years,” the agency said.
    Adding to concerns, California is experiencing new, possibly more transmissible forms of COVID-19.
    The state health department announced Sunday that an L452R variant of the virus is increasingly showing up in genetic sequencing of COVID-19 test samples from several counties.
    The variant was first identified last year in California and in other states and countries but has been identified more frequently since November and in several large outbreaks in Northern California’s Santa Clara County, the department said.
    Overall, the variant has been found in at least a dozen counties. In some places, testing has found the variant in a quarter of the samples sequenced, said Dr. Charles Chiu, a virologist and professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California San Francisco.
    However, not all test samples receive genetic sequencing to identify variants so its frequency wasn’t immediately clear.
    Health officials said it was linked to a Christmas-time outbreak at Kaiser Permanente San Jose that infected at least 89 staff members and patients, killing a receptionist. The outbreak has been blamed on an employee who visited the hospital emergency room wearing an air-powered inflatable Christmas tree costume.
    The variant is different from another mutation, B117, that was first reported in the United Kingdom and appears to spread much more easily, although it doesn’t appear to make people sicker. That variant has already shown up in San Diego County and Los Angeles County announced over the weekend that it had detected its first case.
    https://apnews.com/article/los-angel...6553a27603ba4e


  5. #1180
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    Freaking fabulous.

    https://www.cnn.com/world/live-news/...d362295bdc64ba

    New coronavirus variant could be problematic for vaccines, a second study in two days suggests

    As researchers around the world race to see if new coronavirus variants will pose a problem for the vaccines, a second study in two days says a variant from South Africa could possibly do just that.

    The variant was first spotted in South Africa in October and has now been found in more than a dozen countries.

    In both studies, the work was done in the lab and not in people, so more research is needed to gauge the true threat of the new variant.

    In the most recent study, which was small, researchers took antibodies from six people who had been hospitalized with Covid-19 before the new variant was discovered. They found, to varying degrees, that antibodies for all six of the survivors were unable to fully fight off the virus.

    It's unclear whether this means someone would be vulnerable to the new variant if they'd already had Covid-19, or what this might mean for people who've been vaccinated.

    The findings of this study were very similar to those of a study released Tuesday by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa.

    "When you see two groups independently arriving at same basic answer, that's good -- there's more consonance that they are correct," said Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

    A third study also released Tuesday was more optimistic. It showed that mutations in the new variant allowed them to evade some of the immunity induced by vaccination, but it was far from a complete escape.

    That study looked at three mutations in the variant. The South African studies looked at eight.

    None of the studies was peer reviewed or published in medical journals.

    The most recent study was posted on the website for KRISP, the Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform.

    https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/f...rnd/index.html

    For flight attendants, getting people to wear masks is now one of the hardest parts of the job

    Masks have become a matter of course on airplane flights, and unfortunately, so have ugly confrontations about wearing them. Since the pandemic started, flight attendants and crew members have reported more than 200 incidents to the federal government in which they were harassed or threatened over in-flight mask policies.

    In one case, a flight attendant said four passengers who would not keep their masks on harassed her over what they called "a simple mask issue." The situation got so tense, the plane had to return to its gate. In another incident, a passenger who kept removing his mask rolled his eyes and told a flight attendant to shut up. Then, he yelled it: "SHUT UP!"

    Other flight attendants have been met with passive aggressive displays of defiance. One flight attendant said a passenger refused to put his mask back on after the in-flight beverage service despite multiple warnings. Finally, he told the crew, "Well, if I hold my water bottle, I cannot wear my mask, right?" He then sipped water slowly for the rest of the flight, exploiting a policy that allows passengers to remove their masks while actively eating or drinking.

    When airlines institute mandatory mask policies to keep their business operating, the task of enforcing them often falls to flight attendants. In the United States, where such a basic safety measure against Covid-19 is highly politicized, that task can be challenging. Sometimes, it's downright dangerous.

    "Enforcing mass compliance has been one of the most difficult parts of our job," says Allie Malis, a flight attendant for American Airlines and a government affairs representative for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. "We're considered essential workers, but there's no hazard pay or anything like that."

    While airlines and crew members note that a vast majority of passengers do abide by mask policies, flight attendant unions say their members regularly encounter travelers who respond with belligerence, verbal threats and even physical assault.

    In the absence of federal mask regulations, many flight attendants felt there was little they could do to ensure compliance -- or protect themselves against backlash and aggression.
    But with President Joe Biden planning to issue an executive order Thursday requiring masks in airports and on planes, that could be about to change.

    The FAA is adopting a stricter approach
    The situation has become so troubling that the Federal Aviation Administration recently announced it would adopt a stricter approach to dealing with unruly passengers.

    Through March 30, 2021, passengers who assault, threaten, intimidate or interfere with airline crew members can face fines of as much as $35,000 and even imprisonment, according to the FAA. The agency had previously addressed such instances with warnings and civil penalties, among other methods.

    "We have zero tolerance for threatening or violent behavior by passengers, and we will take the strongest possible enforcement action against any passenger who engages in it," FAA Administrator Steve Dickson said in a video message last week.

    In a January 13 news release, the FAA said that it had seen a "disturbing increase in incidents where airline passengers have disrupted flights with threatening or violent behavior," citing both refusals from passengers to wear masks and recent violence at the US Capitol.

    The change comes after the FAA in December proposed civil penalties against two passengers who allegedly assaulted flight attendants who asked them to wear masks.

    In one of the cases, the agency alleged that a passenger on an Allegiant Air flight last August hit a flight attendant, screamed profanities and grabbed a phone from them as they as were talking to the captain about the passenger's refusal to wear a mask. The agency proposed a $15,000 fine.

    In a separate case that same month, a passenger on a SkyWest Airlines flight from Atlanta to Chicago took off their mask, pestered other passengers and sexually harassed a flight attendant, the FAA alleged. The agency proposed a $7,500 fine.

    A federal mask mandate would provide backup, unions say
    All major US carriers already have mask policies in place, while several have instituted "no-fly lists" banning certain passengers who refuse to wear masks from flying with them during the pandemic.

    As of early January, United Airlines says it has banned nearly 615 passengers for non-compliance since it strengthened its mandatory mask policy last June. Delta Air Lines told CNN more than 700 people have been added to the company's no-fly list since last May -- a small proportion, the company noted, considering about 1 million travelers fly with them each week. American Airlines did not provide a specific number to CNN, though it said a vast majority of customers abide by its mandatory mask policy.

    Still, a federal requirement to wear masks on planes would provide critical backup for flight attendants who regularly deal with unruly passengers, flight attendant unions say.

    "The lack of federal guidelines or mandates has made (flight attendants') jobs harder, and it has been made harder by inconsistent mask mandates across the United States," Taylor Garland, spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told CNN.

  6. #1181
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the...d-19-vaccines/

    Over a decade ago, I partnered with some colleagues to establish a Facebook group that refuted misinformation about the H1N1 vaccine. It was a challenging, if futile task. At the time, public health agencies had little active engagement on social media. Few seemed to recognize the growing importance of “Web 2.0” (as it was called at the time) as a communications tool that could be used positively, but equally as a vector for spreading fear and sowing doubt. Frustrated with our experience, we made our way on to the agenda of subsequent public health conference where we described the tactics and tropes of the anti-vaccine movement, and did our best to convince public health professionals to take social media, and the antivaccine movement, seriously. The anti-vaccine movement was highly organized and growing, and public health was not.

    Looking at all that work in hindsight, it’s remarkable but also entirely predictable that we are in in our current situation. But what I didn’t realize back in 2009 was how much social media companies stood to gain from the anti-vaccine movement. In January 2021 we in the midst of a deadly pandemic that has already killed millions, and continues to kill thousands daily. Despite hospital intensive care units that are at capacity, there is ongoing disease denial and deliberate minimization of the harms of COVID-19 infections. There is limited but strident opposition to basic, simple public health measures, like distancing and masks. And despite newly-developed vaccines showing high rates of efficacy and good safety profiles, there is considerable and widespread vaccine hesitancy.

    The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) recently published a report, The Anti-Vaxx Playbook, that describes in detail how key members of the anti-vaccine movement are collaborating and partnering in new ways to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic, create consistent anti-vaccine messaging, and destroy confidence in vaccination. The report is based on observations from the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC)’s conference held online in 2020. Misleadingly titled “Protecting Health and Autonomy in the 21st Century“, this event brought together a long list of anti-vaccine advocates with the apparent goal of helping participants more effectively push back against science, evidence, and public health measures.

    The problem
    In early 2020 the CCDH put out a report entitled The Anti-Vaxx Industry which examined anti-vaccine social media, noting that 409 different English language anti-vaccine accounts had 58 million followers, with evidence that collectively, followers had grown approximately 19% since 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a booming business opportunity for anti-vaxxers and social media alike. The CCDH named four different sub-communities of anti-vaxxers:

    Campaigners are full-time, anti-vaccine professionals who may be seen as “experts”. They make a living based on promoting anti-vaccine sentiment and ideas. Their examples include: Informed Consent Action Network (Del Bigtree), Children’s Health Defence (Robert F. Kennedy Jr.), and the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC).
    Entrepreneurs leverage and amplify vaccine fears to sell content, products and services. Examples include Rashid Buttar, Ty and Charlene Bollinger, David Wolfe, Judy Mikovits, and the biggest, Joseph Mercola.
    Conspiracists focus on vaccines from an conspiracy angle, but vaccines are not their full-time focus. They may also ben entrepreneurs. Examples they listed include Brian Rose, David Icke, and Patrick Bet-David.
    Communities are groups that share anti-vaccine ideas and stories, usually in Facebook Groups. Examples include “Stop Mandatory Vaccination”, “Vaccine Re-education Discussion Forum”, “Vaccine Choices”, and many more hidden, private groups.
    Certainly there is some overlap in these categories, and while I might quibble with their classifications, it’s worth acknowledging that anti-vaccine sentiment and rhetoric can be driven by an variety of motivations. While Facebook and other providers took some steps to address anti-vaccine sentiment after measles outbreaks in the US, the measures were largely ineffective in preventing their continued growth on the platforms. For example, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who has touted COVID-related conspiracies since the beginning of the pandemic, has seen his Instagram following rise from 121,000 at the beginning of the pandemic to 792,000 today. He is just one example of the number anti-vaccine advocates who have seen large increases in audience and reach. This type of growth is continuing largely unabated, probably because the CCDH has estimated that the anti-vaccine movement could be generating up to $1 billion in advertising revenue across the different platforms. Facilitating and spreading vaccine misinformation is highly profitable.

    The master narrative
    Despite the disparate group of individuals that are driving anti-vaccine sentiment, messaging has consolidated around a few key messages. NVIC’s virtual conference in October 2020 was accessible to anyone that registered, and CCDH attended. Prominent speakers included Barbara Loe Fisher (NVIC), Joseph Mercola, Del Bigtree, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Sherri Tenpenny, and Andrew Wakefield. CCDH noted that these speakers see COVID-19 as a historic opportunity:

    A number of speakers at the NVIC conference presented the Covid pandemic as an historic opportunity to popularise anti-vaccine sentiment. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. told activists listening to the conference “All of the truths that we’ve been trying to broadcast for many, many years. There are people hearing it and the impact and those seeds are landing on very fertile ground.” The disgraced physician Andrew Wakefield echoed these sentiments, saying “The population who are aware of these issues has grown dramatically in the face of coronavirus, Covid-19. It is now an issue for discussion by everyone.” Other anti-vaxxers such as Sherri Tenpenny highlighted the Covid pandemic as an opportunity to build a wider movement with campaigners against masks and lockdowns: “We need everyone to get politically active, get behind this cause, get behind Hugs Over Masks, get behind MAD, Mothers Against Distancing, get behind the NVIC, the National Vaccine Information Center, get behind the things that we’re doing over at vaxxter.com, and Courses for Mastery, and our boot camp course that open enrolment is coming up again, the end of September. All the things that we’re doing, we need all hands on deck. We need everybody to release their fear from their brains, get rid of their masks, go hug people and absolutely say no. Wake up your community.”

    There are three key messages identified by the CCDH that are overlapping and common across these different speakers. They are recurrent and you will see them, in some form, in almost all anti-COVID-19-vaccine messaging:

    COVID-19 is not dangerous. Talking points: There are few deaths, and death reports are exaggerated. “It’s just the flu.” “It will just go away on its own.”
    COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous. Talking points: “The vaccines were rushed.” “The vaccines are killing people.” “Natural” immunity is better. Other treatments (e.g., hydroxychloroquine) are safer and better. “Vaccines are toxic.” “Vaccines will change your DNA/destroy your immune system.” etc. etc.
    Vaccine advocates cannot be trusted. Talking points: “It’s politics over health.” “It’s Big Pharma profits over health.” Vaccines are “too big to fail” and manufacturers are “not liable for injuries.” “Bill Gates! Bill Gates! Bill Gates!”
    Adapting the Master Narrative
    The Master Narrative is easily adaptable to target specific groups. The CCDH lists four, and describes how messaging is being modified to make the messaging more appealing:

  7. #1182
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the...ntinues-apace/

    Think of this post as a continuation of a series related to COVID-19 vaccines. You might recall that, right before the holidays last December, I predicted an impending tsunami of adverse events (AEs) falsely attributed to COVID-19 vaccines that would be spread by the antivaccine movement as the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines found their way into more and more arms around the world and more and more bad things happened to people by coincidence soon after COVID-19 vaccination. I won’t take any credit for the prediction coming true, as anyone who’s followed the antivaccine movement for a while could have predicted it (and did). After all, every pre-pandemic antivaccine trope in the book had already been picked up, dusted off, and recycled for use with COVID-19. Examples abound, including the claim that the COVID-19 vaccine renders females infertile, permanently alters your DNA, causes autoimmune disease, or even kills. The only claim, it seems, not yet made by the antivaccine movement about COVID-19 vaccines is that they cause autism, but give them time – the vaccines are not approved for children yet. I fully expect that when young children start receiving the vaccines, antivaxxers will claim they cause autism just as they have for nearly every other vaccine.

    To continue the series, I thought I’d survey how antivaxxers are spinning stories about possible adverse events after vaccination against COVID-19, as more and more vaccines are finding their way into more and more arms. As you might expect, antivaxxers are doing everything they can to use such stories to stoke fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the vaccine. Indeed, reading antivaccine social media and listening to antivaxxers about the vaccine rollout, I’m reminded of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters describing what was coming.

    Doctors, don’t give quotes like this to the press
    Last week, I discussed the tragic case of an OB/GYN from Miami who died a little more than two weeks after receiving the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and whose story went viral as a result of a Facebook post by his widow Heidi Neckelmann. What made the case of Dr. Gregory Michael so dramatic and unusual was that he developed lesions on his skin three days after vaccination and then went on to have a case of immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) so severe that it actually killed him. He died of a hemorrhagic stroke 16 days after vaccination.

    At the time, I conceded that it is possible that Dr. Michael’s death could be related to the vaccine but also, as always, cautioned that it was impossible to tell from one anecdote whether there was an association between the vaccine and Dr. Gregory’s death. Also, given that there were tens of thousands of people in the phase III clinical trials that tested both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, even if the vaccine did cause Dr. Michael’s ITP, we can safely conclude that this is a relatively rare issue, given that no signal that the vaccines might cause ITP was observed in the clinical trials. Obviously, the antivaccine movement was nowhere near as…cautious…as I was in my assessment. Predictably, they immediately leapt on the story as “proof” that the vaccine kills.

    There isn’t really any new news since last week other than further reactions of the antivaccine movement. I haven’t been able to find any news of the investigations or whether the FDA or Pfizer have yet concluded if there might have been causation. Unfortunately, not all physicians quoted in the press have been as cautious.

    In The New York Times last week:

    Dr. Jerry L. Spivak, an expert on blood disorders at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in Dr. Michael’s care, said that based on Ms. Neckelmann’s description, “I think it is a medical certainty that the vaccine was related.”

    “This is going to be very rare,” said Dr. Spivak, an emeritus professor of medicine. But he added, “It happened and it could happen again.”

    Predictably, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s antivaccine group Children’s Health Defense, was all over it in an article entitled, “Johns Hopkins Scientist: ‘A Medical Certainty’ Pfizer Vaccine Caused Death of Florida Doctor“. They even used it to make this deceptive claim:

    Redwood also pointed out that ITP has been reported to occur following exposure to drugs containing polyethylene glycol (PEG), a compound used in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

    If you go to the actual study cited by antivaxxer Lynn Redwood, you’ll find that the drug was peg-interferon-alpha2a, in concert with ribavirin and telaprevir antiviral treatment and that Redwood failed to mention that ITP is a known issue with interferon treatment, with the PEG likely having nothing to do with the case of ITP reported.

  8. #1183
    Moderator puzzld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowieluva View Post
    lol at Nestle being some vicious smiter, she's the nicest person on this site besides probably puzzld. Or at least the last person to resort to smiting.
    Quote Originally Posted by nestlequikie View Post
    Why on earth would I smite you when I can ban you?

  9. #1184
    Senior Member curiouscat's Avatar
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    Welp! It looks like I now know someone that died from covid-19. My husband's cousin had a stroke recently and he's been in and out of the hospital for other health reasons. He was like 46 or something. He leaves behind a wife and two young teenage daughters.
    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbywolves View Post
    "he had Skittles so he could have made drugs".
    Quote Originally Posted by daisylane View Post
    Yo mama such a ho, that Foursquare has made her vag a place to "check in".

  10. #1185
    Moderator raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiouscat View Post
    Welp! It looks like I now know someone that died from covid-19. My husband's cousin had a stroke recently and he's been in and out of the hospital for other health reasons. He was like 46 or something. He leaves behind a wife and two young teenage daughters.
    I'm sorry for your loss. I don't think many of us will get out of this unscathed somehow.

  11. #1186
    Senior Member Angiebla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiouscat View Post
    Welp! It looks like I now know someone that died from covid-19. My husband's cousin had a stroke recently and he's been in and out of the hospital for other health reasons. He was like 46 or something. He leaves behind a wife and two young teenage daughters.
    I'm sorry for your loss CC. Did he get COVID before or after the stroke?



    My stepmom apparently got sick from the second shot. Not trying to scare anyone, just an FYI.

    "The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man" -Charles Darwin

    Quote Originally Posted by bowieluva View Post
    Chelsea, if you are a ghost and reading mds, I command you to walk into the light.

  12. #1187
    Cranjis McBasketball Nic B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angiebla View Post
    I'm sorry for your loss CC. Did he get COVID before or after the stroke?



    My stepmom apparently got sick from the second shot. Not trying to scare anyone, just an FYI.
    How sick?


    Quote Originally Posted by marakisses View Post
    yes i said i will leave it under you storage he said cuddle with me i said shut up it over??? what am i doing wrong??

  13. #1188
    Moderator puzzld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by curiouscat View Post
    Welp! It looks like I now know someone that died from covid-19. My husband's cousin had a stroke recently and he's been in and out of the hospital for other health reasons. He was like 46 or something. He leaves behind a wife and two young teenage daughters.
    So sorry for your loss.
    Quote Originally Posted by bowieluva View Post
    lol at Nestle being some vicious smiter, she's the nicest person on this site besides probably puzzld. Or at least the last person to resort to smiting.
    Quote Originally Posted by nestlequikie View Post
    Why on earth would I smite you when I can ban you?

  14. #1189
    Senior Member Angiebla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nic B View Post
    How sick?
    Fever 102, tired, sore, joint and muscle pain. But it only lasted a day.

    My dad says it's because the mRNA directs muscle proteins to assemble the virus's outer shell and spikes, which the human antibodies are directed to attack.

    I don't know what that means

    "The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man" -Charles Darwin

    Quote Originally Posted by bowieluva View Post
    Chelsea, if you are a ghost and reading mds, I command you to walk into the light.

  15. #1190
    Cranjis McBasketball Nic B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angiebla View Post
    Fever 102, tired, sore, joint and muscle pain. But it only lasted a day.

    My dad says it's because the mRNA directs muscle proteins to assemble the virus's outer shell and spikes, which the human antibodies are directed to attack.

    I don't know what that means
    Me neither. But one day doesn't sound too bad.


    Quote Originally Posted by marakisses View Post
    yes i said i will leave it under you storage he said cuddle with me i said shut up it over??? what am i doing wrong??

  16. #1191
    Moderator raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nic B View Post
    Me neither. But one day doesn't sound too bad.
    I'd much rather have a day of that than actually get COVID!

  17. #1192
    Moderator puzzld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angiebla View Post
    Fever 102, tired, sore, joint and muscle pain. But it only lasted a day.

    My dad says it's because the mRNA directs muscle proteins to assemble the virus's outer shell and spikes, which the human antibodies are directed to attack.

    I don't know what that means
    This is an explanation of how the virus works https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AMPxRH3LFg you need to understand that, then the "vaccine assembles shells and spikes so human antibodies learn to attack them" makes sense. It also makes sense that vaccines make you feel bad for a short time. You don't actually "get" the flu from the flu vaccine, but sometimes your body thinks you did..
    Quote Originally Posted by bowieluva View Post
    lol at Nestle being some vicious smiter, she's the nicest person on this site besides probably puzzld. Or at least the last person to resort to smiting.
    Quote Originally Posted by nestlequikie View Post
    Why on earth would I smite you when I can ban you?

  18. #1193
    Senior Member curiouscat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbywolves View Post
    I'm sorry for your loss. I don't think many of us will get out of this unscathed somehow.
    Thank you. I didn't know him real well. I met him a handful of times. He seemed like an okay guy. He must've been somewhat smart since I rarely saw him at any of my dumbass mil's family get togethers. Usually the smart ones don't go.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angiebla View Post
    I'm sorry for your loss CC. Did he get COVID before or after the stroke?

    My stepmom apparently got sick from the second shot. Not trying to scare anyone, just an FYI.
    Thank you. I believe after. I just went and looked at his wife's Facebook. He had a stroke in September.

    Quote Originally Posted by puzzld View Post
    So sorry for your loss.
    Thank you.
    Quote Originally Posted by raisedbywolves View Post
    "he had Skittles so he could have made drugs".
    Quote Originally Posted by daisylane View Post
    Yo mama such a ho, that Foursquare has made her vag a place to "check in".

  19. #1194

  20. #1195

  21. #1196
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://fox40.com/news/local-news/in...id-19-vaccine/

    DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — The Placer County Sheriff’s Office and Public Health reported Saturday that they are investigating the death of a man who received a COVID-19 vaccine.

    According to officials, the person had tested positive for COVID-19 in late December and received the vaccine Thursday. The sheriff’s office says the man was not administered his vaccine by Placer County Public Health.

    It’s unknown where he got his vaccine or which vaccine he received, as officials have yet to say.
    A cause of death has not been reported yet and agencies are still investigating, but they reported he died hours later after receiving the vaccine.

    The announcement was made in a Facebook post by the sheriff’s office.


    “Many people are going to make the connection with the vaccine because of the timing,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg.

    Blumberg, an infectious disease expert at UC Davis Children’s hospital, warns people shouldn’t be too quick to place blame.

    “My first inclination is that it’s probably not related to the vaccine,” Blumberg told FOX40. “We know that the severe allergic reactions that occur following immunization, the vast majority of those occur 15-30 minutes following immunization.”

    Blumberg says that if it happened several hours later it is “probably not the severe allergic reaction, anaphylaxis, that we worry about.”

    A recommendation from Dr. Anthony Fauci also states that people should not get vaccinated within 90 days of being sick with the virus.

    Blumberg says people who had COVID-19 participated in the vaccine trials and did not show any increased risk.

    “That’s why we do these large studies to look for any of those kinds of signals and in the studies, we didn’t see any signal that showed that people who are vaccinated were more likely to die,” Blumberg said. “I think the odds are that it was more likely due to chance.”

    Blumberg says there are still many questions that need to be answered regarding the incident.

    Multiple agencies are actively investigating the case, including the California Department of Public Health.

    Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased. We tak
    e these instances seriously which is why we are working with our government partners to investigate the cause. We are working collaboratively and will continue to use data and science to determine how to proceed.

    CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH

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  23. #1198
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://www.kron4.com/health/coronav...d-19-vaccines/

    Merck is giving up on two potential COVID-19 vaccines following poor results in early-stage studies.

    The drugmaker said Monday that it will focus instead on studying two possible treatments for the virus that also have yet to be approved by regulators. The company said its potential vaccines were well tolerated by patients, but they generated an inferior immune system response compared with other vaccines.

    Merck entered the race to fight COVID-19 later than other top drugmakers.

    Investigation: Person dies hours after COVID-19 vaccine, Placer County Sheriff says
    It said last fall that it had started early-stage research in volunteers on potential vaccines that require only one dose. Vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna were already in late-stage research at that point.

    The Food and Drug Administration allowed emergency use of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines late last year. Each requires two shots.

    Five potential vaccines have reached late-stage testing in the United States, the final phase before a drugmaker seeks approval from regulators. Results from a single-dose candidate developed by Johnson & Johnson are expected soon.

    Moderna study: COVID vaccine neutralizes UK, South Africa variants
    Since vaccinations began in December, nearly 22 million doses have been delivered to people nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 6% of the population has received at least one dose.

    A total of 3.2 million people, or 1% of the population, have received both doses required for those vaccines.

    More than 419,000 people have died in the United States due to the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    Allergic reactions to COVID-19 vaccine
    The government is paying Merck about $356 million to fast-track production of one of its potential treatments under Operation Warp Speed, a push to develop COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The money will allow Kenilworth, New Jersey, company to deliver up to 100,000 doses by June 30, if the FDA clears the treatment for emergency use.

    The treatment, known as MK-7110, has the potential to minimize the damaging effects of an overactive immune response to COVID-19. This immune response can complicate the life-saving efforts of doctors and nurses.

  24. #1199
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    https://apnews.com/article/china-cor...1bb3d0c90f7418

    TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Chinese state media have stoked concerns about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, despite rigorous trials indicating it is safe. A government spokesperson has raised the unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus could have emerged from a U.S. military lab, giving it more credence in China.

    As the ruling Communist Party faces growing questioning about China’s vaccines and renewed criticism of its early COVID-19 response, it is hitting back by encouraging conspiracy theories that some experts say could cause harm.

    State media and officials are sowing doubts about Western vaccines and the origin of the coronavirus in an apparent bid to deflect the attacks. Both issues are in the spotlight because of the rollout of vaccines globally and the recent arrival of a World Health Organization team in Wuhan, China, to investigate the origins of the virus.



    Some of these conspiracy theories find a receptive audience at home. The social media hashtag “American’s Ft. Detrick,” started by the Communist Youth League, was viewed at least 1.4 billion times last week after a Foreign Ministry spokesperson called for a WHO investigation of the biological weapons lab in Maryland.

    – EU proposes more travel restrictions to stop virus variants
    “It’s purpose is to shift the blame from mishandling by (the) Chinese government in the pandemic’s early days to conspiracy by the U.S.,” said Fang Shimin, a now-U.S.-based writer known for exposing faked degrees and other fraud in Chinese science. “The tactic is quite successful because of widespread anti-American sentiment in China.”

    Yuan Zeng, an expert on Chinese media at the University of Leeds in Great Britain, said the government’s stories spread so widely that even well-educated Chinese friends have asked her whether they might be true.

    Inflaming doubts and spreading conspiracy theories might add to public health risks as governments try to dispel unease about vaccines, she said, saying, “That is super, super dangerous.”

    In the latest volley, state media called for an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway after they received the Pfizer vaccine. An anchor at CGTN, the English-language station of state broadcaster CCTV, and the Global Times newspaper accused Western media of ignoring the news.

    Health experts say deaths unrelated to the vaccine are possible during mass vaccination campaigns, and a WHO panel has concluded that the vaccine did not play a “contributory role” in the Norway deaths.

    The state media coverage followed a report by researchers in Brazil who found the effectiveness of a Chinese vaccine lower than previously announced. Researchers initially said Sinovac’s vaccine is 78% effective, but the scientists revised that to 50.4% after including mildly symptomatic cases.

    After the Brazil news, researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, a government-supported think tank, reported seeing an increase in Chinese media disinformation about vaccines.

    Dozens of online articles on popular health and science blogs and elsewhere have explored questions about the effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine at length, drawing on an op-ed published this month in the British Medical Journal that raised questions about its clinical trial data.

    “It’s very embarrassing” for the government, Fang said in an email. As a result, China is trying to raise doubts about the Pfizer vaccine to save face and promote its vaccines, he said.

    Senior Chinese government officials have not been shy in voicing concerns about the mRNA vaccines developed by Western drug companies. They use a newer technology than the more traditional approach of the Chinese vaccines currently in use.


    In December, the director of the Chinese Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said he can’t rule out negative side effects from the mRNA vaccines. Noting this is the first time they are being given to healthy people, he said, “there are safety concerns.”

    The Pfizer mRNA vaccine and another one developed by Moderna have passed both animal and human trials in which they were tested on more than 70,000 people.

    The arrival of the WHO mission has brought back persistent criticism that China allowed the virus to spread globally by reacting too slowly in the beginning, even reprimanding doctors who tried to warn the public. The visiting researchers will begin field work this week after being released from a 14-day quarantine.

    The Communist Party sees the WHO investigation as a political risk because it focuses attention on China’s response, said Jacob Wallis, a senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

    The party wants to “distract domestic and international audiences by pre-emptively distorting the narrative on where responsibility lies for the emergence of COVID-19,” Wallis said.

    Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying got the ball rolling last week by reviving earlier Chinese calls for a WHO investigation of the U.S. military lab.

    State media have referenced past scandals at the lab, but China has given no reliable evidence to support the coronavirus theory.

    “If America respects the truth, then please open up Ft. Detrick and make public more information about the 200 or more bio-labs outside of the U.S., and please allow the WHO expert group to go to the U.S. to investigate the origins,” Hua said.

    Her comments, publicized by state media, became one of the most popular topics on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

    China isn’t the only government to point fingers. Former U.S. President Donald Trump, trying to deflect blame for his government’s handling of the pandemic, said last year he had seen evidence the virus came from a Wuhan laboratory. While that theory has not been definitively ruled out, many experts think it is unlikely.

  25. #1200
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    . MILWAUKEE ? The former Aurora Health Care pharmacist accused of attempting to intentionally spoil nearly 600 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has reached a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, agreeing to plead guilty to two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products.

    Steven Brandenburg, 46, agreed to plead guilty to two criminal counts which carry a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The charges are in violation of federal 18 U.S. Code ? 1365: attempting to tamper with consumer products, with reckless disregard for the risk that another person will be placed in danger of death or bodily injury.

    Brandenburg also faces an attempted felony criminal damage to property, a class A misdemeanor, in Ozaukee County Court - a charge he pleaded not guilty to. That charge carries a $10,000 fine and nine months behind bars. The Ozaukee County district attorney has not announced whether they are dropping the charge, but said in a statement Tuesday that,?I?m grateful for the hard work and dedication of all the law enforcement officers, and the prosecutors from the federal government, that was necessary to bring an appropriate level of prosecution and punishment to this case."

    According to prosecutors, Brandenburg attempted to spoil Moderna-manufactured vaccines at the Grafton Aurora Medical Center in December because he didn't believe they were safe. Brandenburg took the vials out of a freezer and left them out for 12 hours, hoping the warmer temperature would make the doses ineffective, prosecutors say.

    The plea agreement released Tuesday states Brandenburg believed in conspiracy theories, followed notions of alternative history and was skeptical of vaccines, in particular the Moderna vaccine. The agreement continues that Brandenburg shared conspiracy theories beliefs with co-workers at the pharmacy for at least the last two years.

    Before the extent of Brandenburg's actions were discovered, the doses in question were administered to 57 people, according to federal prosecutors.

    The Ozaukee County District Attorney, Adam Gerol, had previously said Brandenburg could face a felony charge in connection to the incident. That depended upon then unfinished tests by vaccine manufacturer Moderna to find out if the doses were spoiled or not.

    The conclusion of that investigation remains unclear, but the two counts of attempting to tamper with consumer products Brandenburg pleaded guilty to suggest the doses, in the end, were not spoiled, though Brandenburg did intend them to be.

    The market value of the doses is in excess of $8,000, according to Ozaukee County prosecutors.

    Ozaukee County prosecutors explained in a criminal complaint that Dr. Randall Hyer of Moderna Pharmaceuticals wrote on Jan. 5, 2021 that the vaccine would not have been rendered less effective if they were only left at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Moderna later provided guidance on testing the remaining vials of the vaccine for efficacy.

    On Jan. 13, Brandenburg's pharmacy license was suspended, pending the outcome of criminal and disciplinary hearings.

    https://www.wxyz.com/news/national/c...-vaccine-doses

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