March 15, 2021
COVID-19 Quick Takes—Part Four
By Michael D. Shaw
While there surely are other topics in healthcare to cover, the media’s nonstop emphasis on scaring us with horror stories, changing narratives, and moving goalposts makes it difficult to stray too far from the COVID-19 beat. Here then, are a few more quick takes…
1. CDC’s advice for the fully vaccinated—Hot off the press! According to the summary, the fully vaccinated can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
If you are confused by the second item, don’t feel bad. I’m not sure how you are supposed to determine who is at risk for severe COVID-19 and who isn’t. But the troubling dead giveaway is that they apparently still don’t know if a vaccinated person can be contagious. Masks and social distancing are still recommended, and medium and large gatherings are to be avoided. It is recommended to get tested if COVID-19 symptoms are experienced.
This seems to be the first time that a highly-touted vaccine comes with such caveats.
2. Vaccine and pregnancy/lactation—According to the FDA Fact Sheet covering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, “Available data on Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine administered to pregnant women are insufficient to inform vaccine-associated risks in pregnancy.” And, “Data are not available to assess the effects of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine on the breastfed infant or on milk production/excretion.”
Obstetrician-gynecologist Shelley Cole, MD commented, “It concerns me that the CDC says that there are no studies, but it’s okay to get it and you don’t even need to discuss it with your doctor. I mean this is the opposite of everything that the scientific models and methods, and standard of care has been for a century.” Interestingly, WHO does not recommend the vaccination of pregnant women at this time.
Bearing in mind that mishaps do occur in pregnancy, it is still disconcerting to note that 34 cases of pregnant women experiencing spontaneous miscarriages or stillbirths after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine have been submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).
3. Vaccine and mammograms—Articles published in January and February detail several cases of ipsilateral axillary swelling / lymphadenopathy (aka swollen lymph nodes in the armpit area) in women whose mammograms were taken soon after they received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the second article puts it, “Reactive axillary lymphadenopathy following COVID-19 vaccination may mimic metastasis. Therefore, radiologist/clinicians should question recent history of COVID-19 vaccination in cases of unilateral axillary lymphadenopathy.”
Now, to the expert recommendations:
Sandhya Pruthi, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic recommends that women should not necessarily postpone their mammograms. Rather, they should advise their radiologist that they recently took the vaccine, and such information “will be helpful for understanding the mammogram images.”
Jessica Leung, M.D., of the MD Anderson Cancer Center recommends the opposite. She says to either get the mammogram before the vaccine, or wait six to ten weeks after your second dose.
If you’re a woman worried about false positive results from the mammogram, whose advice would you take? The only “understanding” of tainted mammogram images would be to repeat the test some weeks after the last dose, or move on to additional diagnostics. Insistence on business as usual here reflects a bizarre Colonel Blimp medical attitude.
4. Unexplained deaths—The medical establishment is not doing itself any favors by immediately dismissing any unusual deaths that seem to be related to the vaccine. In every case that I have followed, the death is announced with a pronouncement that it was probably not due to the vaccine, and that more information would come out after the autopsy—only it never does.
The latest case to gain wide coverage occurred in Utah. Four days after receiving the second dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, 39-year-old Kassidi Kurill died of organ failure after her liver, heart, and kidneys shut down. She had no known medical issues or pre-existing conditions, family members said.
Cold comfort that “Multiple organ dysfunction syndrome is caused by an overwhelming, uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response that is activated by a number of hostile stimuli including sepsis, hypovolemic shock, and severe trauma resulting in massive tissue injury.”
Any guesses on what could have triggered that inflammatory response?