Today’s TIP News in Review: A reminder that flu season is still with us; Fox News host Neil Cavuto tells audience his COVID vaccine saved his life; and we have a new vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis. ing.
Hello, and welcome to TIP News in Review for the week of February 21, 2022. TIP News in Review is a production of The Immunization Partnership. My name is John David Powell.
In today’s TIP News in Review: A reminder that flu season is still with us; Fox News host Neil Cavuto tells audience his COVID vaccine saved his life; and we have a new vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis.
Well, let’s start with
Looks like this winter’s flu season has flown, sort of. At least it’s faded to a trickle of cases in the US, but, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over. US health numbers shows a drop in flu infections since the start of the year, but that second wave may be out there. Meantime, we’re also seeing a drop in the number of new COVID cases, and that means more folks are taking off their masks and hanging out with other unmasked folks, which could lead to an uptick in cases of flu and other respiratory illnesses.
Here’s some information from
Lots of folks follow the advice of celebrities, especially those celebs who don’t have much experience in the things they’re talking about. And this is why we keep away from sharing information from or about them. But we’re going to make an exception with Fox Business host Neil Cavuto. For those not familiar with Cavuto, he’s a longtime Fox News host, and Fox News has not been, shall we say, a leader in promoting requirements for vaccinations and masks. Well, Cavuto has been gone for five weeks. And that had viewers wondering if he was suffering from his multiple sclerosis, his stage 4 cancer, his open-heart surgery, or a combination of those conditions. Of course he hadn’t died, but there were some Fox News followers who thought he did. But Cavuto was back this week and told viewers he had a second bout of COVID, this time COVID pneumonia. It put him in the intensive care unit where things were, in his words, touch and go for some time. He then threw out this nugget. He said his doctors told him that his COVID vaccination back in October saved his life. And that’s a good thing. The bad part of it is that his COVID jab announcement last year led to death threats.
By the way, for those keeping score at home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tells us unvaccinated folks are 97 times more likely to die from the Omicron variant compared to those who got booster shots.
Bloomberg reports the Supremes refused to hear an appeal by a group of healthcare workers in Maine who want religious exemptions tacked onto government COVID vaccine requirements. The high-court justices left intact a federal appeals court decision letting Maine fully enforce its shot requirement for workers in licensed healthcare facilities. Maine, New York, and Rhode Island are the only three states that require vaccination of healthcare workers and allow exemptions only for medical reasons.
Next up . . .
Here is something we thought we wouldn’t hear. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust have asked for a pause of all COVID vaccine donations until the third or fourth quarter of this year. That according to POLITICO. The reason? It’s because there is no longer a shortage of the vaccines in Africa. The two big problems now are vaccine hesitance and getting shots in arms. The Africa CDC director says it’s like buying too many groceries, which leads to rotten food if you can’t use it all. Same with the vaccine. Too much will lead to waste. And we bet a lot of you remember when we had way more demand than supply.
Sounds like we have another message on the old teletype. It’s a reminder that The Immunization Partnership is the only statewide non-profit organization in Texas dedicated solely to providing immunization education and advocacy. If your Community-Based Organization provides vital wellness services, we would like to help you increase immunization awareness and vaccination rates among our families, neighbors, and friends. We have a variety of tools specifically designed for community-based organizations. We never charge to help you help those you serve. Please contact us by email at email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.
And that brings us to . . .
ABC News reports that drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline will ask regulators to authorize their new COVID-19 vaccine candidate. They say their data show the shot works either as a primary vaccine, with 100 percent effectiveness against severe disease and hospitalization, or as a booster shot to raise antibody levels.
The CDC says some folks can take as long as eight weeks before getting their second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID vaccines. The CDC says extending the time between jabs may reduce the risk of myocarditis. That’s a type of heart inflammation. The CDC says we’ve seen rare cases of myocarditis primarily after the second dose of mRNA COVID vaccines. Guys between the ages of 12 to 29 are at highest risk. That story from CNN.
The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, or ACIP, recommended Pfizer’s TicoVacTM vaccine. What’s that, you ask? It’s Pfizer’s vaccine against tick-borne encephalitis, or TBE. Get it? TicoVac? It’s for folks 1 year old and older who are moving or traveling to a TBE-endemic area and will have extensive exposure to ticks while doing stuff outside. Pfizer says folks traveling or moving to a TBE-endemic area, who might do stuff where ticks are around, should get the vaccine. Pfizer adds you should decide whether to get the tick jab based on your plans, health condition, and personal feelings about the trade-off between getting vaxxed and getting tick-borne encephalitis.
And we end the week with . . .
The average number of Americans getting their first COVID jab is down to about 90,000 a day, according to a report from NBC News. That is the lowest since the first few days of the vaccination campaign back in December 2020. And, apparently, any hope of a substantial turnaround is quickly evaporating. Only about 76 percent of us received at least one shot. Less than 65 percent are fully vaccinated. And with the drop in the number of COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, anti-vaxx folks don’t see much reason to get poked.
And some of that anti-vaxx sentiment may be the result of Memes, Magnets, and Microchips. That’s the title of a study on the Narrative dynamics around COVID vaccines. It comes from The Virality Project. That’s a consortium of researchers from Stanford Internet Observatory, Graphika, and other universities and institutes. Those researchers found that the usual suspects were usually the most effective at widely spreading misinformation. And who are these spreaders of bovine scatology? Political leaders and celebrities. Researchers say about 37 percent of these misinformation miscreants relied on conspiracies, like QAnon or religious narratives. They say one reason for their success could be that they tend to live on apps where users are more committed and passionate about anti-vaccination, which probably means they’re not that interested in the truth.
So what do you do? The researchers recommend public health experts and those like The Immunization Partnership counter and address misinformation rather than fact-checking individuals, and use personal stories for counter-messaging. And if you have a personal story, we’d like to hear from you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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We hope you'll join us for our 13th Annual Community Immunity Luncheon on April 6, 2022. Dr. Jason V. Terk with Cook Children’s Physician Network in Keller, Texas, will receive the Ralph D. Feigin, MD Award for Excellence, and H-E-B will receive the John R. Boettiger, Jr. Award for Community Partnership. We also will honor Venus Ginés with our first Community Immunization Champion Award. She is the CEO and Founder of Dia de la Mujer Latina.
Dr. Brendan Borrell is our keynote speaker. He’s a Los Angeles-based journalist and author who grew up in Texas. He’s the author of The First Shots: The Epic Rivalries and Heroic Science Behind the Race to the Coronavirus Vaccines, a behind-the-scenes look into how we got today’s COVID vaccines.
You can make your reservation and get more information at immunizeusa.org/getinvolved. That’s one word: getinvolved.
That’s our TIP News in Review for today, Feb. 25, 2022, for the week of Feb. 21.
TIP News in Review is a production of The Immunization Partnership. We invite you to subscribe to our podcasts, Vaxx Voice, which deals with vaccines in general, and Vaxx to the Future, where we feature information specifically related to COVID-19 and its vaccines. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. You can also find more information on our webpage, immunizeusa.org. For all of us at The Immunization Partnership, I’m John David Powell. Thanks for listening.