Booster shots simplified: Just like a stoplight, it is either red, yellow, or green.

I have been inundated with questions on the booster vaccines that were approved during the FDA advisory committee this past week. My opinion on COVID-19 vaccine boosters depends on which vaccine you initially got. To simplify the message, I use a traffic light analogy to evaluate the boosters from the three approved vaccines. Johnson andContinue reading “Booster shots simplified: Just like a stoplight, it is either red, yellow, or green.”

Merck’s COVID drug and why BARDA did not fund it.

First the disclaimer. I’m the former global head of the vaccine division at Merck and still own significant stock in the company. Merck on Monday submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first oral antiviral drug to treat Covid. The drug, molnupiravir, would be a true advance against COVID-19,Continue reading “Merck’s COVID drug and why BARDA did not fund it.”

The most intriguing part of how the COVID RNA vaccines work.

I received a very strong response to the first part of my discussion about how RNA vaccines work. However, several people wanted more information particularly on why an RNA vaccine would be better or different from a protein vaccine. The comment below was typical. “Why screw around with mRNA (rife with technical difficulties even ifContinue reading “The most intriguing part of how the COVID RNA vaccines work.”

How do mRNA vaccines work?

I received several comments from individuals who are not vaccinated saying that their biggest concern about MRNA vaccines is that they don’t understand how they work. Their remarks also indicate that because these vaccines involve genetic material, they are worried it might alter their own genes, potentially causing long-term problems like cancer or passing onContinue reading “How do mRNA vaccines work?”

Five COVID-19 related things bothering me right now.

1) No rapid tests. In Europe you can buy a packet of 14 rapid tests for COVID for a few dollars. In the United States, in contrast, you can’t even find rapid tests for COVID because so few of them have been approved by the FDA. It’s time to make these tests generally available toContinue reading “Five COVID-19 related things bothering me right now.”

A great article on how unvaccinated individuals are responsible for most current COVID-19 infections.

I refer you to an excellent article in The Atlantic that explains the source of most current COVID-19 infections. Despite the commentary from misinformation campaigns, almost all infections are now caused by unvaccinated people. The Atlantic article presents data that explains infected, vaccinated individuals are much less likely to spread COVID-19. This has significance forContinue reading “A great article on how unvaccinated individuals are responsible for most current COVID-19 infections.”

What the FDA’s decision on Pfizer booster shots really means.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee rejection of Pfizer’s proposed booster shots in all Pfizer vaccinated Americans was predicated entirely on the science. Despite the opportunity for Pfizer to make the case for vaccinating everyone 16 and older six months after they are fully vaccinated, and political support for this approach, theContinue reading “What the FDA’s decision on Pfizer booster shots really means.”

Do you need a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine?

Yesterday an article in The Lancet provided an independent scientific assessment of the need for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses. The publication reviewed the current data on booster vaccines, which generally shows very good efficacy even with the Delta variant for the mRNA based vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna. The general tone of the article  suggestedContinue reading “Do you need a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine?”

Questions that arise from yesterday’s CDC update on COVID-19

The CDC provided an update on the status of COVID-19 infection in the United States yesterday with a particular focus on the utility of the vaccines. It was a welcome message, including a formal analysis of breakthrough infections. The results showed that the vaccines continue to work even in the presence of the Delta variantContinue reading “Questions that arise from yesterday’s CDC update on COVID-19”