Making sense of Covid-19 with Silman: my blog

What do the numbers mean !

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 […]

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis and AstraZeneca vaccine: understanding the risk

In my post on March 16, I considered the evolving information on rare blood clotting events in relation to the AstraZeneca vaccine.  I concluded that the risk of pulmonary embolism, although higher with the AstraZeneca than the Pfizer vaccine, was no higher than that in the general population.  Attention recently has focused on the rarer brain clotting […]

I’ve had Covid once, will I get it again?

Two recent  studies, one from the UK and the other  from Denmark, have addressed the question as to how likely is it that having been infected with Covid-19 once, you can catch it again.  The hope is that a previous infection would give sufficient immunity to protect against a second infection.  How far is this the case? What did […]

Swallow it, sniff it or even make it at home: the future of Covid-19 vaccines

The last week has seen headlines across the world concerning both the supply and uptake of vaccines.  The AstraZeneca vaccine has been the subject of twin concerns: not enough is being produced and – in some countries – hesitancy in accepting this (or indeed any other) vaccine.  Aside from worries about exceptionally rare health hazards, the hesitancy […]

Could vaccines actually protect against pulmonary embolus?

My headline conclusion from yesterday’s post was that, compared to the general population, there was no increased risk of pulmonary embolism following the AstraZeneca vaccine: indeed, the published general population rate was about 6 times that following the AstraZeneca vaccine. More than one reader has commented that far from showing that the vaccine increased the […]

Blood clots and AstraZeneca vaccine: do not ignore completely!

News internationally has been dominated in the past two days by a string of European countries pausing their use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, due to reports of a possible increased risk of blood clots.  European regulators are not concerned, citing that the rates of these disorders just reflect the background population rates.  I have taken a deeper […]

Long CoVid: is it different from the long term effects after flu?

As the concerns about the life-threatening risks from CoVid-19 are beginning to recede, so there is growing interest in the long-term effects following infection.  Whereas it might be expected that those who had suffered severe complications and been hospitalised would have continuing health issues, the concern now is that those with mild, or even asymptomatic, infection […]

Predicting when the pandemic will end: the role of super-spreaders?

The rolling out of national vaccination programmes on their own will not completely eradicate the virus, because even the most successful vaccines cannot prevent some transmission.  Interest is now focusing on the possible role of ‘super-spreaders’ in maintaining the pandemic.  In this post I review some very recent data on what makes a super-spreader and what influence […]

Pfizer vs AstraZeneca vaccine: first comparative data

The number one question that people in the UK when chatting to each other in the past few weeks is “Which vaccine did you have?”! Yesterday (22nd February) the Scottish Government published preliminary data from their first 1.1 million people who had been enrolled in the national vaccine roll out programme.  This programme, like the rest of […]


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