This article explains how to learn guidance and regulations of the use of face coverings in Northern Ireland and explores some of the available evidence regarding their use. Continue reading COVID-19 and face masks/coverings
What is seasonal flu?
“Seasonal flu” is a very common illness, and tends to be more severe than the common cold. The most common symptoms are a sudden high temperature, sore throat, cough, headache, tiredness and general aches and pains. Flu can also cause nausea, loss of appetite, a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, and cause you difficulty sleeping. The World Health Organisation explains that “in temperate climates, seasonal epidemics occur mainly during winter, while in tropical regions, influenza may occur throughout the year”. Continue reading Seasonal flu and COVID-19
CLAIM: Vegans cannot take COVID-19 vaccines because they contain animal products.
CONCLUSION: INACCURATE. No COVID-19 vaccine currently in use contains animal products. Continue reading Do COVID-19 vaccines contain animal products?
The issue of how COVID-19 vaccines may impact fertility and/or pregnancy continues to be live. Health Minister Robin Swann told the Stormont health committee on 14 January 2021, that an anti-vaccination group targeted young female healthcare staff outside vaccination centres, saying COVID-19 vaccination would affect their fertility. He added that this message was “quite negative, quite wrong, potentially quite damaging”. This was also reported in the local media.
These particular anti-vaccination campaigners are not alone in this view. Theories are being spread across social media, particularly about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, about how a protein on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus which causes COVID-19), called a “spike protein” works.
This is where it gets a little complicated. Continue reading COVID-19 vaccinations: fertility and pregnancy
On 16 April 2021, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advised that all pregnant people should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, in line with the age group roll out.
Prior to this, they had recommended a risk-based approach and said that pregnant people with high risk medical conditions — and met the definition of being “clinically extremely vulnerable” — should consider having a COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy. This was because they viewed that their underlying condition may put them at a higher risk of experiencing serious complications of COVID-19.
However, the guidance regarding vaccination against COVID-10 during pregnancy has changed as new research and evidence has emerged.
It has been indicated that it is preferable for pregnant people in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, as there is more safety data available on these vaccines in pregnancy. Continue reading Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines
UPDATE: This article was updated on 27 July 2021, in response to a query about whether an mRNA vaccine by CureVac uses fetal cell lines in any stage of its development. It does not. This article was previously updated on 2 February 2021 to explain about the use of MRC-5 and HEK 293 cell lines in the design and testing of some vaccines.
By December 2020, there were 78 COVID-19 vaccines in development. Thirteen were in third stage trials, and seven already had limited approval for use. The Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine was the first to be approved for use in the UK on 2 December 2020.
Concerns have been expressed on social media that COVID-19 vaccines are made from aborted fetuses, and some people object to the vaccines on religious and ethical grounds.
Most of the COVID-19 vaccines in development do not use human cell lines in their production. For example, Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA technology. Continue reading COVID-19 vaccines and aborted fetuses