Sperm Parameters Before and After COVID-19 mRNA Vaccination

“In this study of sperm parameters before and after 2 doses of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, there were no significant decreases in any sperm parameter among this small cohort of healthy men. Because the vaccines contain mRNA and not the live virus, it is unlikely that the vaccine would affect sperm parameters. While these results showed statistically significant increases in all sperm parameters, the magnitude of change is within normal individual variation and may be influenced by regression to the mean.5 Additionally, the increase may be due to the increased abstinence time before the second sample. Men with oligospermia [low sperm count] did not experience further decline.”

(J. Harris: Thank goodness the family jewels are safe — and in good working order?)

Christus ends Longview mass vaccine hub, transitions appointments to Trinity clinics

The COVID-19 vaccine will now be available Monday through Friday at designated Christus Trinity Clinic primary care locations in Longview, Marshall and Kilgore. Walk-in appointments also are available at Christus Trinity Clinic Urgent Care, 2021 W. Loop 281 in Longview….

All patients will receive the Pfizer vaccine, which is available to everyone 12 and older. The vaccine remains free to patients. Those interested in receiving a vaccine may schedule an appointment online at

(J. Harris: Thank you Christus Hospitals in Longview, Tyler, and Marshall for your tireless vaccination work. THANK YOU AGAIN! We also want to thank Texas Eastman for their financial donation and support  as well.)

From JAMA:

Lung Transplants for COVID-19—The Option of Last Resort

“….As of today, close to 33 million people in the US have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Some reports have suggested that up to 80% of these patients, even many who were asymptomatic, can have demonstrable lung injury. It remains to be seen whether or not other patients who have recovered from mild, moderate, or even severe COVID-19 are going to be organ donors. If not, this may lead to a significant contraction of our donor pool.’

(J. Harris: A moving interview with a transplant surgeon.)

From Hopkins:

1. Inside Pfizer’s Race to Produce the World’s Biggest Supply of Covid Vaccine (Washington Post) The first attempt to produce industrial-scale quantities of the experimental vaccine that has played a central role in arresting the coronavirus pandemic in the United States was a total failure. Operators at a Pfizer plant outside Kalamazoo hoped the trial run could provide quick validation of the company’s gamble on a newfangled mRNA technology. It also was an early test of Pfizer’s strategy of refusing government aid to develop and rapidly ramp up commercial scale production of its vaccine.

2. Hope Amid Challenging Times for Antibiotic Developers (CIDRAP) A new report from the Access to Medicine Foundation (AMF) is highlighting innovative approaches that these small- and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, are using to navigate this challenging environment. These approaches could help ensure that powerful new antibiotics not only come to 

market, but are used judiciously and are available to the populations that need them the most.

3. Has a ‘Moscow Strain’ of Coronavirus Emerged? (Moscow Times) The developers of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine are studying the jab’s effectiveness against the so-called “Moscow strain” of the virus, they told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency Tuesday. Gamaleya Center head Alexander Gintsburg’s comments come as Moscow officials have sounded the alarm over the Russian capital’s surge in new infections, with reported daily cases more than doubling in the past week. 

4. How the COVID pandemic Is Changing Global Science Collaborations (Nature) Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, science leaders talked widely about leveraging global knowledge and working together. Researchers have paid particular attention to collaboration between the United States and China, the two nations with the biggest scientific output. In the first few months of the pandemic, these two countries collaborated on COVID-19 papers more than any other pair of nations, and at higher rates than they did for non-COVID-19 science. But as the pandemic wore on, the United States turned instead to collaborating on COVID-19 papers with other countries, such as the United Kingdom.. This corresponded with a decline in China’s relative contribution to the literature, as case rates went down and as the government restricted the flow of information about COVID-19.

 5. CureVac’s Covid-19 Vaccine Disappoints in Clinical Trial (New York Times) The trial, which included 40,000 volunteers in Latin America and Europe, estimated that CureVac’s mRNA vaccine had an efficacy of just 47 percent, among the lowest reported so far from any Covid-19 vaccine maker. The trial will continue as researchers monitor volunteers for new cases of Covid-19, with a final analysis expected in two to three weeks.

Deaths of younger people from Covid-19 have upended Hispanic American families.



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Opinion: Critical Race Theory

Opinion: Critical Race Theory

By George Smith  — June 19, 2021

Critical race theory (CRT). I thought I knew what it meant. I didn’t.

Is “critical race theory” a way of understanding how American racism has shaped public policy, or a divisive discourse that pits people of color against white people? Liberals and conservatives are in sharp disagreement. (What else is new?)

The topic has exploded in the public arena this spring—especially in K-12, where numerous state legislatures are debating bills seeking to ban its use in the classroom, in effect, banning episodes in history that may be unpleasant.

In truth, the divides are not nearly as neat as they may seem. The events of the last decade have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, the impacts of criminal justice policy in the 1990s, and the legacy of enslavement on black Americans. But there is much less consensus on what the government’s role should be in righting these past wrongs. Add children and schooling into the mix and the debate becomes especially volatile.

School boards, superintendents, even principals and teachers are already facing questions about critical race theory, and there are significant disagreements even among experts about its precise definition as well as how its tenets should inform K-12 policy and practice. This explainer is meant only as a starting point to help educators grasp core aspects of the current debate.

Just what is critical race theory anyway?

“Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that racism is a social construct, and that it is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies,” according to Wikipedia.

The basic tenets of CR emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.

A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to Black people in those areas.

(Note: The older I get, the more I read, the more research I do to help explain things.)

Growing up in Avery, an all-white East Texas enclave of about 300 souls, I was fortunate to have teachers that “taught” history as it should be taught, as a series of events that formed our present. They taught the good, the bad and the ugly.

I learned the name of the first black man to set foot on Texas soil (Estavancio,),  was a slave to Spanish explorers;  I was taught how Texas independence fighters wrested the future state from Mexico in a massive land grab; and  how settlers mistreated Native Americans in a series of illegal land acquisitions and broken treaties.

You know, history, real history, not the sanitized version being taught mostly back then…and still today.

History is history, it is truth. Truth: George Armstrong Custer was no gallant prairie warrior defending “real” Americans from savages; Abraham Lincoln had human flaws, including a plan to relocate tens of thousands of former slaves to a Caribbean island; and, when the Constitution was written, “All men are created equal…” did not mean what it said.

To teach the flaws in our development of this country is important to enlighten citizens to past mistakes so we do not repeat them.

That’s the beauty of looking at the past objectively, so we can learn from past mistakes and, thus, create a path to a brighter future.


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