Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine

A two-dose regimen of BNT162b2 conferred 95% protection against Covid-19 in persons 16 years of age or older. Safety over a median of 2 months was similar to that of other viral vaccines……….The results demonstrate that Covid-19 can be prevented by immunization, provide proof of concept that RNA-based vaccines are a promising new approach for protecting humans against infectious diseases, and demonstrate the speed with which an RNA-based vaccine can be developed with a sufficient investment of resources. The development of BNT162b2 was initiated on January 10, 2020, when the SARS-CoV-2 genetic sequence was released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and disseminated globally by the GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data) initiative. This rigorous demonstration of safety and efficacy less than 11 months later provides a practical demonstration that RNA-based vaccines, which require only viral genetic sequence information to initiate development, are a major new tool to combat pandemics and other infectious disease outbreaks. 

(J. Harris: Initial study shows safety, few side effects, and development techniques that hopefully will be useful in developing vaccines quickly in the future for new inhumane viruses. This must be the Moderna vaccine which will be evaluated in Washington next week. It does not require extremely cold storage.)

Evaluation of Cloth Masks and Modified Procedure Masks as Personal Protective Equipment for the Public During the COVID-19 Pandemic (JAMA Internal Medicine) In this comparative study of face covering FFEs, we observed that consumer-grade masks and improvised face coverings varied widely, ranging from 26.5% to 79.0% FFE. Modifications intended to enhance the fit of medical procedure masks improved FFE measurements from 38.5% (unmodified mask) to as much as 80.2%. Simple modifications can improve the fit and filtration efficiency of medical procedure masks; however, the practical effectiveness of consumer-grade masks available to the public is, in many cases, comparable with or better than their non-N95 respirator medical mask counterparts.


((J.Harris: Above is a picture of a professional model wearing a K95 mask attached to a button on a gimme cap which holds the mask tight and is more comfortable than hooking it to the ear, especially when worn for long intervals. When not being worn, the mask can dangle off one side. Of course, you should sew a button on both sides of the cap.) 

‘The Perfect Storm’: How Vaccine Misinformation Spread To The Mainstream (NPR) Baseless claims that the virus was planned and that vaccines will be used to track or control people rank among the most mentioned pieces of misinformation this year, according to Zignal Labs, a media analytics company. The spread of false claims about the vaccines on social media is so troubling because it risks undermining public health efforts. 

USDA Awards Funding to Bolster Livestock Biosecurity (Homeland Preparedness News) The Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has awarded $14.4 million to states, universities, and other partners with projects addressing livestock biosecurity. The funding allotment would aid 76 projects seeking to strengthen animal health protections.

Coronavirus Apps Show Promise but Prove a Tough Sell

The technology, called “exposure notifications,” doesn’t track users’ locations, instead relying on Bluetooth to detect which phones have been within several feet of one another for more than a few minutes. When a user receives a positive test result, the local health system provides a code by email, text message or phone call to enter into the app. That will alert anyone who was in proximity while the person was infectious…In Switzerland, about 22 percent of the population is using the technology. In a study of contact tracing in Zurich, researchers calculated that for every 100 people who tested positive, the app correctly notified 24 contacts who had caught the virus — a success rate similar to what is seen in human contact tracing...“The app doesn’t stand on its own,” she said. “It requires available rapid testing to work…As with much of the U.S. coronavirus strategy, decisions about the implementation of exposure-notification apps have been left to the states. North Dakota and Virginia embraced the technology quickly…

(J. Harris: CA started cell phone warning on 11 Dec. It seems that this ap is as effective and contact tracing, and it’s surely a lot easier, and, ultimately, more private.)

UK medicine regulator says people with anaphylaxis risk should not take Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine

LONDON (Reuters) – The UK’s medicine regulator said anyone with a history of anaphylaxis to a medicine or food should not get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, giving fuller guidance on an earlier allergy warning about the shot.

“Any person with a history of anaphylaxis to a vaccine, medicine or food should not receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. A second dose should not be given to anyone who has experienced anaphylaxis following administration of the first dose of this vaccine,” said June Raine, chief executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Earlier it had warned that people with a “significant allergic reaction” to those things should not take the shot, without specifying anaphylaxis.

(J. Harris: “Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency with a generalized rash, low blood pressure, shock. People who have experienced it know what it is. Most of them keep epinephrine injections close by. They should not take the Pfizer vaccine.)

Remember when we thought we were going to have a bad week because of the time change, full moon, and Friday the 13th. We didn’t have a clue!

Definition of irony: gas under one dollar a liter and no place to go…


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