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LDH, community partners announce Monkeypox vaccine events in Baton Rouge

LDH, community partners announce Monkeypox vaccine events in Baton Rouge

The Louisiana Department of Health, the East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor’s Office and other community partners are hosting a series of monkeypox and COVID-19 vaccination events in Baton Rouge, starting Saturday, August 27.


As of August 26, Louisiana has identified 162 cases of monkeypox in Louisiana residents since the start of the 2022 U.S. Monkeypox Outbreak. In the Capital region alone, 13 cases have been identified to date.


“With the rising numbers of monkeypox cases in our state, our goal is to meet people who are at risk where they are so they can protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Region 2 Medical Director Dr. Paulette Riveria. “We are so thankful to our community partners for their collaboration and support. We couldn’t do it without them.”


“Similar to our response to COVID-19, we are working with our local partners to ensure equitable access to the necessary resources to keep residents safe and healthy. We know our community partners are vital to the success of addressing this public health emergency,” said Mayor-President Sharon Weston-Broome. “We appreciate our continued partnership with LDH to address the public health needs of our community.”


Health officials will administer the monkeypox and COVID-19 vaccines at the following events:   


George’s Place

860 St. Louis St.

Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022 

5 – 9 p.m.


Cedarcrest Bar by Provo

10467 Airline Highway

Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022

5 – 9 p.m.


Splash Nightclub 

2183 Highland Road

Friday, Sept. 2, 2022

9 – 11 p.m.


Those who are eligible for the vaccine include:


  • Gay, bisexual, other (cis or trans) men who have sex with men OR transgender women and nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men AND
    • Have had intimate or sexual contact with multiple or anonymous partners in last 14 days or
    • Have had intimate or sexual contact with other men in a social or sexual venue in the last 14 days
  • Individuals (of any sex/gender identity) who have given or received money or other goods/services in exchange for sex in the last 14 days
  • Individuals (of any sex/gender identity) who have been determined to be at high risk for monkeypox exposure by a healthcare provider or public health official.


While not new, monkeypox is a potentially serious viral illness caused by a virus not commonly seen in the United States, that is spread through close physical contact. The disease can make you sick, including a possibly painful rash, which may look like bumps on your skin, blisters or ulcers. Some people have a flu-like illness before they develop a rash. 


According to CDC, early data suggest that gay, bisexual, same-gender-loving, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases. However, anyone who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox can be infected, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.


Monkeypox Guidance

Testing for or monkeypox is now widely available. If you have symptoms and would like to be tested for monkeypox, contact your healthcare provider. Anyone without a provider or insurance can also be tested at their local parish health unit or community clinic:


If your test for monkeypox is positive, stay isolated until your rash has healed,

all scabs have fallen off, and a fresh layer of intact skin has formed.


People interested in receiving the vaccine can visit the LDH monkeypox webpage for information, including a list of locations in Louisiana that have received vaccine. People can also call 211 to get their monkeypox questions answered. 
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Monkeypox vaccine shortage persists as major events loom in Atlanta – WABE

Monkeypox vaccine shortage persists as major events loom in Atlanta - WABE

“The appointments ran out within minutes of being posted online,” he said. 

“I’ve definitely heard from dozens of people with similar experiences,” he added.

Local county health departments have been periodically posting dates and times where a link goes live with new appointments, but their websites often crash as vaccine seekers flood the page and hundreds of slots get filled up within minutes. 

Meanwhile, Jones and others continue to look for the shots as officials on the local, state and federal levels play catchup to try and contain the spread of an often misunderstood disease. 

And the outbreak is — so far — disproportionately affecting Black gay and bisexual men in particular, as the world’s largest Black Pride event comes to Atlanta in a few weeks. 

Underordered vaccines and delayed declarations

The first monkeypox case of the current outbreak was confirmed in the United Kingdom on May 6. The Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first monkeypox case in the U.S. — in Massachusetts — on May 17. The Georgia Department of Public Health confirmed the first monkeypox case of the 2022 outbreak in the state on June 6. 

But as of July 22, the state of Georgia had requested less than half of its Phase 1 and 2 allotments of nearly 14,000 JYNNEOS vaccine doses from the Strategic National Stockpile, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Every other state with the top 10 highest number of cases besides Georgia had requested more than 100% of their allotment by that point. 

By then, the mostly gay and bisexual men that the outbreak was affecting were already searching county health departments and nonprofits across metro Atlanta for the vaccine and coming up empty. 

Nancy Nydam, a spokesperson for the Georgia Department of Public Health, told WABE that they didn’t request the full allotment earlier because they wanted to stagger the shipments to local providers, who Nydam said have limited storage for the vaccine. GDPH had requested their full allotment from the national stockpile as of July 27, Nydam added. 

Compounding the problem was a shortage of available monkeypox vaccines on the federal level, an issue many public health experts have pinned on the Biden administration. The shortage was caused in part by the Department of Health and Human Services’ delay in asking that bulk stocks of vaccine it already owned be bottled for distribution, according to administration officials who spoke to the New York Times.

The Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Aug. 4, which the head of the National Coalition of STD Directors called “long overdue.” The World Health Organization issued a similar declaration nearly two weeks earlier. The declaration unlocks additional funding and flexibility and raises awareness about the issue. 

“For nearly three months, STI clinics have been alone on the front lines of this outbreak, fighting a battle to keep their communities safe without the necessary resources to adequately treat their patients, prevent further infection or enough access vaccines,” NCSD Executive Director David Harvey said in a statement. “HHS’s declaration of a public health emergency is the right thing to do and we applaud their actions. It’s about time.” 

Daniel Driffin, co-founder of the HIV nonprofit THRIVE SS and a public health doctoral candidate at Georgia State University. (Photo courtesy Daniel Driffin)

Racial disparity worries event organizer, public health experts

Every Labor Day Weekend, tens of thousands of people from across the world descend on Atlanta for Atlanta Black Pride. Attendees can be found at a festival in Piedmont Park, workshops and parties throughout the city that weekend. 

But the disproportionate impact of the monkeypox outbreak on Black gay and bisexual men has Atlanta Black Pride organizer Tyai Green “extremely concerned.” There are 775 reported cases of monkeypox in Georgia as of Aug. 10, according to GDPH. Nearly all of those cases are gay and bisexual men, and over 80% are Black. 

“We are the largest Black Pride in the world, and that could get majorly out of hand for the Black LGBT community,” Green said of the outbreak. “If they don’t have the proper knowledge and take the proper precautions, there could be catastrophic damage.”

Green said that up until early August, there hadn’t been enough outreach from the CDC and the Georgia Department of Public Health to local Black gay and bisexual men about testing, treatment and a vaccine. But it’s picked up since then. 

“What we’ve found is information is key to prevention,” he said. “We don’t want a repeat of COVID.”

Daniel Driffin is the co-founder of the Atlanta-based HIV nonprofit THRIVE SS and a public health doctoral candidate at Georgia State University. He said the demographics of the monkeypox outbreak expose the racial inequities present in health care.

“It is a travesty and crime that more than 80% of the affected are Black,” he said. “With Black Gay Pride approaching Atlanta, local boards of health, [the] Department of Public Health, community organizations and Black Pride vendors should be convening right now to implement pop-up viral testing for monkeypox, COVID-19, HIV and hepatitis C. Similar efforts are needed for vaccination sites.”

“We can do better, we must do better,” he added.

While monkeypox is rarely fatal, Ralph Jones said that the outbreak, the most affected population and the government response bring up memories of the early days of a different infection. 

“For LGBTQ people, our community’s collective reaction to this moment has to be colored by the memory of an entire generation that was lost to government inactions in the face of the AIDS public health crisis that disproportionately affected gay and bisexual men,” he said. “So, this is certainly something that holds additional weight for us.”

Doses of monkeypox vaccine at the DeKalb County Board of Health North DeKalb Health Center in Chamblee during a mass vaccination clinic on Friday, August 5, 2022. (Dean Hesse/Decaturish)

More doses on the way to Georgia

The Georgia Department of Public Health has received and distributed the full Phase 1 and 2 allocations of nearly 14,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine, according to Nydam. But it’s a two-dose vaccine (given four weeks apart), so that will only cover about 7,000 people. 

The Phase 3 allocation is about 34,000 doses and will be available over the next four to six weeks. But the Department of Health and Human Services allowed GDPH to order only up to 40% of that allocation — or about 13,600 doses — right away, according to Nydam. Those doses have been received and are being distributed to health departments and community-based organizations statewide. 

GDPH will be allowed to order about another 10,000 doses this week. They recommend that people most at risk of the disease contact their local health department for information about testing and vaccine availability.

The governors of New York, California and Illinois — which have three of the six highest numbers of monkeypox cases in the U.S. — declared states of emergency to fight the outbreak. 

A spokesperson for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp told WABE that the monkeypox outbreak is “a top concern” for the governor, but he won’t be declaring a state of emergency at this time.

“While we can’t speak to California or Illinois’ particular laws or needs, nor those of any other state that may or may not issue an emergency declaration of this kind, we can say that there is nothing a new state of emergency order would do for Georgians that isn’t already being done,” said Andrew Isenhour, Kemp’s deputy director of communications. 

Monkeypox 101

Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia Department of Public Health

What are the symptoms? A rash on or near the genitals, anus, hands, feet, chest, face or mouth; fever; chills; swollen lymph nodes; exhaustion; muscle aches and backache; headache; and/or respiratory symptoms.

How long do symptoms last? Symptoms usually start within three weeks of exposure and typically last two to four weeks.

How does it spread? Through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact including direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs or bodily fluids from a person with monkeypox; touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding or towels) and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox. Contact with respiratory secretions.

Is it a sexually transmitted infection? Monkeypox is not considered an STI, but sex is one of the ways that it can be spread.

Does it only affect certain people based on sexual orientation or race? No. Anyone can get monkeypox.

How can it be prevented? Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash that looks like monkeypox. Avoid contact with objects and materials that a person with monkeypox has used. Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially before eating or touching your face and after you use the bathroom. 

Where can I get a vaccine? There is a shortage of vaccines locally and nationwide, but check with your local county health department for availability. You do not have to be a resident of the county to get a vaccine there, but priority is currently being given to those most impacted by the outbreak so far. Community-based organizations such as Positive Impact Health Centers, A Vision 4 Hope and AID Atlanta are also good resources. 

What should I do if I think I have monkeypox? Stay home and call your medical provider or local health department for additional guidance. Testing for monkeypox can only be done if a person has a rash, bumps or sores. If you test positive, you should quarantine until the rash has fully healed, any scabs have fallen off and a fresh layer of skin has formed. This can take up to two to four weeks. 

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Concern growing about monkeypox vaccine availability before valley Pride events – KESQ

Concern growing about monkeypox vaccine availability before valley Pride events - KESQ

The push for more monkeypox vaccines continues in the Coachella Valley and Riverside County.

“It’s moving way, way, way too slow,” said Cathedral City resident David Wichman.

Vaccine access continues to be a key struggle in the fight against the rapidly spreading viral outbreak, Wichman said.

Riverside County reported one new monkeypox case Wednesday, bringing the total to 71 countywide. 66 of those cases were in the Coachella Valley.

With tight eligibility restrictions and low supply from the state and federal governments, county Public Health Director Dr. Kim Saruwatari took the opportunity to call for help Tuesday in a state Senate monkeypox committee hearing.

“We need to figure out a way to get more vaccine out into the community faster,” Saruwatari said.

As of Tuesday, Riverside County had received 5,384 vaccine doses, according to the California Dept. of Public Health, which are being distributed through Borrego Health, DAP Health, Eisenhower Health and Kaiser Permanente.

The county requested 1,500 more doses – but that request was not immediately approved. Instead, 750 doses were offered which are expected to arrive Wednesday or Thursday, a county spokesperson said.

Dr. Phyllis Ritchie, CEO and founder of Palm Spring STI clinic PS Test, has tried to get vaccine doses to distribute to her patients, a complicated process she said has not yet been successful.

“We have a horde of patients that are qualified to get the monkeypox vaccine,” Ritchie said. “They’re not part of Borrego, they’re not part of Eisenhower, they’re not part of DAP – and they are unable to access the vaccine. They just don’t even know who to call.”

For Wichman, concern is growing with less than two months until Pride celebrations kick off in Palm Springs.

“Tens of thousands of people come to Palm Springs for that event,” Wichman said. “There are numerous events and parties and people are going to be hooking up. And there’s lots of opportunity for monkeypox to spread.”

He is calling for open vaccination clinics to get many people vaccinated quickly.

“If we’re not vaccinating people by the middle of September, and that’s really cutting it close…within the next few weeks, we’re it’s going to be too late,” Wichman said.

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Kaiser Permanente hosting community vaccination events on Oahu

Kaiser Permanente hosting community vaccination events on Oahu

Kaiser Permanente hosting community vaccination events on Oahu | COVID-19 |

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For any issues, contact or call 808-535-0400 .

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Attendance plummets at LA covid vaccination events

Attendance plummets at LA covid vaccination events

Nurse Angel Ho-king sways her head to the sound of salsa music as she waits for people willing to roll up their sleeves to get a shot. Ho-king is part of a four-person crew staffing a covid-19 vaccine table at a health fair in Rampart Village, a predominantly immigrant neighborhood about 10 minutes from Dodger Stadium.

In three hours on a recent Saturday, Ho-king and Brenda Rodriguez, a medical assistant, vaccinated 16 people — far fewer than they had anticipated. Nearly everyone who showed up at the fair, organized by Saban Community Clinic, was an adult seeking a booster shot or a young child getting a first dose (children ages 5 to 11 became eligible for a vaccine late last year).

As covid infections have declined so too has interest in covid vaccines — even though the shots are highly effective at preventing serious illness and death from the virus.

In California’s most-populous county, where more than 1.7 million people have not received even one dose, vaccination events have turned desolate. About 46,000 county residents got their first dose in March, a 79% decline from January, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Those who remain unvaccinated are harder to convince, telling health care workers and vaccination coordinators that they don’t feel a sense of urgency.

According to a January survey by the Public Policy Institute of California, about 1 in 10 California adults said they definitely won’t get vaccinated, which has remained consistent since January 2021, and 86% of unvaccinated adults said the omicron variant wasn’t enough to persuade them. Employers and businesses are dropping or rolling back vaccination mandates. And although proof of vaccination once offered perks like allowing people to go maskless indoors, face coverings are generally no longer required in California.

At a recent vaccination drive coordinated by an immigrant advocacy group in Palmdale, near Lancaster in northern LA County, only two people showed up over four hours, both for second doses. As of April 1, 25% of Palmdale residents ages 5 and up were unvaccinated, compared with 17% of county residents, according to county data.

Jorge Perez, Salva Organization‘s vaccine coordinator, spent a week promoting the event with his team, going door to door, visiting local businesses, and publicizing it on social media. At previous vaccine drives, “we got 42 people, then 20, then four,” said a disappointed Perez. “Now two.”

Perez reduced the number of staffers at vaccination events from five to two in February as the numbers started to dwindle.

Much work remains to be done to combat vaccine misinformation, especially given the spread of BA.2, an omicron subvariant that is highly transmissible, said Dr. Richard Seidman, chief medical officer for L.A. Care, a public Medicaid insurance plan that serves county residents. The number of covid cases and hospitalizations had been declining since February, but the county is again seeing a bump in cases, according to data released this week.

People have various reasons for remaining unvaccinated, Seidman said. “For some, it’s distrust of the government or health care providers in general,” he said. “Some are more cautious and want to take a wait-and-see approach. Others simply don’t believe the science.”

A study published April 11 by JAMA Internal Medicine shows just how entrenched views are. Many people who refused to get vaccinated early on said they were waiting for the shots to get full approval from the FDA. But when the agency’s first full approval of a covid vaccine came in August 2021, the study concluded, it did little to change people’s minds and “had little immediate impact on vaccination intentions.”

In California, unvaccinated people were nearly 14 times as likely to die from covid as people who had been fully vaccinated and received a booster dose, according to state data from March 7-13.

Perez said people getting their first shots now are doing so mainly because they feel obligated — to meet a work requirement, for example, or enter places such as restaurants, bars, and gyms that require proof of vaccination.

That was the case for Modesto Araizas, one of the two people who showed up at the Palmdale vaccine event. Despite contracting covid twice, missing work, and having a hard time breathing, he didn’t get vaccinated until he needed proof of vaccination to eat at his favorite seafood restaurant.

“I haven’t been scared,” said Araizas, 46. “I take vitamins, eat healthy food, and I work out.”

Until recently, the federal government reimbursed doctors, hospitals, and other providers for tests, treatments, and vaccines for uninsured people. But the Health Resources and Services Administration stopped accepting reimbursement claims for tests and treatments March 22, and for vaccinations April 5.

Many uninsured people now will likely need to pay out-of-pocket for tests and other services.

Perez is hoping people might become more open to vaccines if covid tests become too expensive for them. No one will want to keep paying for tests when they can just get a shot, he reasoned.

Nurse Roxanna Segovia works at a pop-up vaccine and testing clinic in front of South LA Cafe in South Central LA. She recently spent 45 minutes trying to persuade a man who had visited the clinic regularly for free tests to get vaccinated.

“He gave me all the reasons he has not been vaccinated, like his civil rights were being violated and Bible verses,” Segovia said. “His job requires it now, and he said he was losing money by missing work waiting for test results. If he continued this way, he wouldn’t be able to feed his family, but even so, he still wasn’t sure if he was making the right choice.”

At the end of their conversation, he got the shot.

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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Rates of neurological events higher with SARS-CoV-2 infection than with COVID-19 vaccine

Source: Adobe Stock.

March 23, 2022

2 min read

Li reports receiving the Clarendon Fund and Brasenose College scholarship from the University of Oxford to support her DPhil study. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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Incidence rates for Bell’s palsy, encephalomyelitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome were higher in unvaccinated people with SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with those vaccinated against COVID-19, researchers reported in BMJ.

“Immune-mediated neurological disorders have been identified as adverse events of special interest by regulators, such as the FDA in the U.S. and the EMA in Europe,” Xintong Li, MHS, a doctoral student at the Center for Statistics in Medicine at the University of Oxford, and colleagues wrote. “These adverse events of special interest have been closely monitored during immunization campaigns, and several severe neurological disorders were reported as rare adverse events during the first clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines.”

Source: Adobe Stock.

Source: Adobe Stock.

Li and colleagues conducted a population-based, historical rate comparison study using primary care records from the United Kingdom and Spain to assess rates of neurological events in 8,330,497 individuals who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and in 735,870 unvaccinated individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

Investigators assessed incidence rates for Bell’s palsy, encephalomyelitis and Guillain- Barré syndrome for the vaccinated group 21 days after receiving a vaccine dose and 90 days post-infection for those who were unvaccinated.

Among 3,776,803 participants who received a vaccine dose from AstraZeneca, there were 117 observed cases of Bell’s palsy, compared with 164.5 expected cases (standardized incidence ratio = 0.71; 95% CI, 0.59-0.85). Among 1,693,453 participants who received a dose from Pfizer, 46 cases of Bell’s palsy were observed compared with 116.4 expected cases (SIR = 0.40; 95% CI, 0.30-0.53). Participants who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection had a reported 53 cases, higher than the 39.8 expected cases (SIR = 1.33; 95% CI, 1.02-1.74).

Post-vaccine rates of encephalomyelitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome were consistent with expected rates in both vaccination groups. However, higher rates for both conditions were reported in the SARS-CoV-2 group (encephalomyelitis: SIR = 6.89; 95% CI, 3.82-12.44 and Guillain-Barré syndrome: SIR = 3.53; 95% CI, 1.83-6.77).

“We found no safety signal for any of the studied immune-mediated neurological events after vaccination against COVID-19,” Li and colleagues wrote. “Infection with SARS-CoV-2 was, however, associated with an increased risk of Bell’s palsy, encephalomyelitis and Guillain-Barré syndrome.”

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What is an ‘adverse event?’ Inside the recently released report on Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

What is an 'adverse event?' Inside the recently released report on Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine

A document circulating on social media and elsewhere is being cited as a smoking gun to suggest Pfizer knew its COVID-19 vaccine causes more “adverse events” than previously stated, a claim some experts say requires a more nuanced look.

Released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as part of a recent U.S. court order, the one-year-old, 38-page report of post-marketing data from Pfizer includes an appendix listing hundreds of reported adverse events from its COVID-19 vaccine, all of which are defined as being of “special interest.”

Whether the data is being, or can be, accurately interpreted is a point some experts are flagging as an issue with the document, particularly given the amount of real-world data gathered since then.

Experts say not every adverse event cited in the report can be chalked up to the vaccine, while others are consistent with the vaccine’s known side-effects. spoke to two infectious disease specialists about the report to better understand what the data does, and does not, show.


The document itself is an accumulation of post-authorization adverse event reports from Dec. 1, 2020, through to February 2021, taken from the U.S. and other countries, of which there were 42,086 cases in total.

An adverse event is defined as “any untoward medical occurrence that follows immunization,” including an unfavourable or unintended sign such as a skin rash, an abnormal lab finding, symptom or disease.

Dr. Dale Kalina, an infectious disease doctor at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ont., told in a Zoom interview on Tuesday that Pfizer is required to report any adverse events.

However, just because someone reports an adverse event doesn’t mean it was caused by the vaccine itself.

As the document states, adverse event reports do not necessarily mean they were caused by the drug in question, but could be due to an underlying disease or other factor.

During the Pfizer vaccine trial for those between five and 11-years-old, Kalina says one participant swallowed a penny, which was reported as an adverse event.

“And I think we can all agree that swallowing a penny isn’t related to the vaccine itself,” he said.

“But of course, it highlights the fact that it needs to be reported and that’s what we’re seeing, and that’s the type of data that we’re getting.”

During Modern’s vaccine trials, a 72-year-old participant with arrhythmia, who died after being struck by lightning 28 days post-vaccination, was reported as experiencing a severe adverse event.

Dr. Martha Fulford, an associate professor of medicine at McMaster University, says it’s also unclear in the list whether the adverse events were actually linked to the vaccine or if it was by coincidence.

“I look at this document and I think I sort of come away thinking it’s a little uninterpretable to me,” she told in a phone interview on Wednesday.

One of the events listed is hantavirus pulmonary infection, which can occur after coming into contact with rodent urine, droppings or saliva.

“Product availability issue” also is another adverse event on the list.

“Some of that stuff strikes me as highly improbable as doing anything with the vaccine,” Fulford said.

Reporting of adverse events, generally, is underreported, Fulford says, which is something the Pfizer document notes, as well.

But she says it’s unclear how many actual cases of each adverse event were reported or if they appeared at higher rates than what you would see by random chance in the general population.

“The key is whether or not there’s a link and so people reporting something that’s happened, we would need to look at what the overall reported rates would be across a population in a normal period of time,” Fulford said.


Both Kalina and Fulford pointed to the lack of a denominator in the document, or in this case how many people received the vaccine at that point in time.

Near the end of February 2021, the United States was vaccinating as many as 1.7 million Americans on average per day, with 63 million Modern and Pfizer vaccines administered.

Looking at the more common adverse events in the Pfizer document, seen in two per cent of cases or more, all are what one would expect after getting a vaccine and when the immune system is excited, namely sore arm, mild fatigue and headache, Kalina says.

The “heaps” of data produced since then around the world have underscored that, he says.

“But to label it as adverse, I think, is a bit of a misnomer because it is actually exactly what you would expect,” he said.

“You’re expecting that reaction and although it’s adverse, it’s not pleasant, it is what you would expect from the medication itself.”

Kalina says any suggestion of a cover-up by Pfizer is being made for “nefarious purposes.”

“It’s a pharmaceutical company, they’re here to make money and I recognize that, there’s no doubt in my mind about that, but the product works,” he said.

While the initial optimism around transmission, for example, has certainly waned as more vaccinated individuals became infected with the Omicron variant, that doesn’t take away from the power of the vaccine to prevent serious disease, hospitalization and death, Fulford says.

“I think most of us, myself included, feel very strongly that for vulnerable people who are at risk from COVID, the vaccines have fundamentally changed what we were dealing with,” she said.

“We saw a huge difference in hospital admissions and severe disease mortality in people who had been vaccinated, this is unquestioned. The risk-benefit conversation obviously changes very much depending on the baseline risk of the person receiving the vaccine, it’s just not an absolute answer.”


The Public Health Agency of Canada says that as of Feb. 25, 2022, a total of 40,011 adverse events following immunization have been reported, out of nearly 80.8 million doses administered, for a rate of 0.05 per cent. Most of the adverse effects are classified as non-serious.

At the time the Pfizer report was made, many of those who got the vaccine initially were generally older and potentially vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.

Since then, vaccines have been administered to more, and younger, age groups, providing further evidence to back certain adverse events.

As Fulford says, what needs to be monitored with any medication or vaccine is whether certain signals present at a higher rate than what you would normally see.

This proved to be the case with blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Although blood clots can emerge from sitting too long due to travel and certain birth control, their presence after receiving AstraZeneca, while rare, made it distinct, Fulford says.

A similar situation has played out with myocarditis and pericarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle and lining around the heart respectively.

While also considered rare, people have reported cases after receiving a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, with higher rates observed following a second dose, among young and adolescent males, and with the Moderna vaccine, the latter possibly due to it being a higher dose than Pfizer.

A report on adverse events from Public Health Ontario shows that rates of myocarditis and pericarditis in males 12-17 and 18-24 after receiving a second dose was 157.9 and 199.4 respectively per million doses, which is roughly two to 13 times higher compared to other age groups.

One recent study also points to the need for individual strategies for vaccinating adolescent boys, due to the elevated risks of myocarditis and pericarditis, and depending on their health and history of COVID-19 infection.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended in December 2021 that Pfizer be the preferred COVID-19 vaccine over Moderna for those 12 to 29-years-old.

Some studies also have looked into the potential effects of COVID-19 vaccines on women’s menstrual cycles.

Ultimately, Fulford says conversations around the risks and benefits of getting the vaccine will vary depending on the individual.

“It’s not to say that people should or should not be vaccinated, it’s simply acknowledging that yes, we have seen in some people adverse events, and acknowledging that there’s an adverse event is not an all or nothing, and we’ve sort of made it an all or nothing,” Fulford said.

“One can be in favour of vaccines while acknowledging this is the risk in this age group of this adverse outcome, and have that risk-benefit conversation.”

With files from CTV News

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– Lewiston-based humane society to host free vaccine events

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LEWISTON — The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society is partnering with national nonprofit Petco Love to host two free pet vaccine events on Saturdays, March 12 and 26.

Petco Love established March as “National Pet Vaccination Month” to encourage pet parents to keep their pets up to date on vaccinations and will provide free pet vaccines to the society for family pets in need. As puppy and kitten season approaches, pet exposure to contagious and deadly diseases — parvovirus, distemper, and panleukopenia — increases but is preventable with a simple vaccine, according to a news release from the society.

The society aims to vaccinate 350 pets through this effort. The first event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon at the 55 Strawberry Ave. shelter in Lewiston. The second vent will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 26 at the Minot Town Hall, 329 Woodman Hill Road in Minot.

Vaccines distributed through the Petco Love initiative will be the DAPPv Canine and HCP Feline vaccines. The society also will be distributing free rabies vaccines — people should bring proof of previous vaccine history.

The Give Pets Their Best Shot initiative makes crucial pet vaccines accessible to pet parents who may be experiencing financial challenges and assures that cost is not a barrier to protecting pets from preventable diseases.

“Treatment for these deadly diseases can be prohibitively expensive for many pet parents,” said Susanne Kogut, Petco Love president. “By providing free vaccines to those in need, we can help these pets live a healthy life. Through this national effort and our other Petco Love Care initiatives, we continue our 22-year history of strategic investments and innovation to end unnecessary pet euthanasia.”

For more information about the society’s vaccine events, visit or Learn more about Petco Love’s national vaccine effort and lifesaving impact at or