Making sense of Covid-19 with Silman: my blog

What do the numbers mean !

Booster Jabs for Covid-19: What we know and what we don’t?

Two weeks ago the committee advising the UK government on vaccine policy recommended a booster (3rd) dose of a Covid-19 vaccine from September this year with a roll out to protect the whole currently vaccinated population  By contrast, last week the similar committees advising the USA government stated there was no evidence to support a […]

Will my vaccine protect me against the Indian Variant?

First data from Pfizer vaccine. The Indian Variant (now referred to as ‘Delta’) is recognised as being highly transmissible and, as a consequence, it is now the predominant variant in the UK and elsewhere.  The question in many people’s minds is whether, despite the rising number of cases, those who have been fully vaccinated will still […]

Our poo – the best early warning system against future waves of Covid-19

Amongst the unsung research heroes for tackling this pandemic have been waste water engineers and geographers.  Examining sewage for traces of the virus has been a truly worldwide effort that is now a key component for managing the pandemic. In this post I address the background and the questions raised by this development.  How is sewage testing […]

Indian variant, vaccines and immune escape: what do we know?

Hitting the headlines this week is news about yet another mutant strain, particularly newsworthy because of the accelerating tragedy of the pandemic in India.  This variant is now present in 40 countries. What do we know about this strain, its impact and in particular any possibility that the success of the vaccines could be imperilled? Is […]

High vaccine uptake can control pandemic even with lifting social distancing

That vaccines can protect against Covid-19, in its severe forms, is well established from clinical trials.  Questions remained as to whether (i) when applied to the wider population, these benefits would hold, (ii) vaccines could reduce transmission and asymptomatic infection and (iii) in the ‘real world’ these benefits would be achieved after allowing a return to […]

Vaccinating children: arguments for and against

One of the tragic aspects of the news about the escalating pandemic in India is the relatively high proportion of children and young people, not just in the number of cases overall, but also – unexpectedly given Western experience – amongst those with serious infection.  This raises the issue as to the possibility of children being […]

Why social distancing will be needed even after vaccination, despite the experts disagreeing!

As vaccination progresses in most countries, there is still the concern that although the vaccines protect against severe infection, they are less successful in preventing transmission, especially with the so-called “variants of concern”.  Yet experts are even this week arguing as to what is the most important route for catching the virus.  Public confidence and adherence to […]

New wave despite vaccine success: how likely/how large?

Vaccine roll out success, coupled with adherence to behavioural rules, has led to substantial declines of infections in the UK and Israel.  Increasing vaccine coverage in North America and Europe is seen also as the route back to normality.  Yet infectious disease epidemiologists are still worried about a third wave causing large numbers of severe cases.  Are they […]

New calculation: Risks from AstraZeneca vaccine exceed benefits in people under 30

In my post earlier today, I stated that “it is possible that the risks of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis in younger women are greater than the risks from Covid-19 infection”.  This afternoon, the regulator in the UK announced the results of their detailed calculation addressing this question.   This is the result of their calculation and I […]

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