Making sense of Covid-19 with Silman: my blog

What do the numbers mean !

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 […]

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 […]


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