Thursday Throughput: COVID Vaccine Side Effects Edition

Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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24 Responses

  1. fillyjonk says:

    ThTh5: And it’s a limited resource, because the auto companies have changed how they coat cars! (Also: there are a number of craftspeople who have stock of Fordite and make jewelry out of it. I have a Fordite pendant I ordered after seeing the original stuff online because it’s just a cool thing)Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to fillyjonk says:

      Does it have to be from the auto plants? Seems like something that is easy enough to make at home, if you have the time and the paint. If it’s valuable enough, I could see building a bench top robot that would make some for you.Report

      • fillyjonk in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        yeah, but part of the coolness factor of the pendant is that it was from a plant that manufactured Corvettes; a homemade simulacrum wouldn’t have the same history factor

        At one time also, my dad had a piece of “fused” asphalt from when lightning struct a road; apparently he saw the strike and picked it up later because he wanted to thin section it and look at it (it had gone glassy). Now I don’t know what happened to it, if he even kept it…Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to fillyjonk says:

          I can see that.

          The software that I work on is often used for modeling automotive paint application, specifically to make sure that when they dip the whole body into the pain tub, air bubbles aren’t trapped and causing voids in the paint application.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    Our very own Clare Briggs had a vaccination cartoon.

    The Spain thing was nuts. How did this take this long to catch?Report

  3. Brandon Berg says:

    Serious side effects were about 1% of the trial participants, but those incidents were actually slightly higher in the control arm.

    I believe that the term you should use here is adverse event. Whether it’s actually a side effect of the drug is uncertain, especially when it occurs at higher rates in the control arm.Report

  4. Pinky says:

    I’d get the vaccine without a moment’s hesitation. But let’s be honest. It’s a vaccine with a nearly zero chance of killing me for a disease with a nearly zero chance of killing me. I’d take it for the same reason I’d let women and children have a seat on the bus or on a life raft, but this is much closer to a bus situation than a life raft.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

      Even if Covid doesn’t kill you, it can cause serious damage to your lungs, heart, and other vital organs. I can’t find definitive numbers, but that seems to affect 5-10% of Covid victims. The vaccine is a much better bet.Report

    • Susara Blommetjie in reply to Pinky says:

      Of more pertinance than your own nearly zero chance of being killed, is the fact that you can pass this on to someone else with a very much more than nearly zero chance of dying from it.

      So ja, vaccination is the Right Thing to Do.Report

  5. Oscar Gordon says:

    Well, this is somewhat better than “Solar Roads”.Report

  6. Swami says:


    Good commentary. Here are some thoughts, add-ons and disagreements.

    “I don’t [sic] these comparisons are quite appropriate. California was hit very early in the pandemic…”

    And Florida has an older population. Like all comparisons they are useful, but can be taken too far.

    “It’s also not clear that government mandates and private behavior coincide…. But how they will act tends to be a more individual decision.”

    The governor of Florida didn’t say people COULDN’T wear masks, or that they HAD to go to crowded beaches and bars. The point is that one governor used the state to prohibit behavior more than the other and, assuming all else equal (admittedly not a valid assumption), the less restrictive state had better economic outcomes and similar medical outcomes. This is an extremely useful, albeit limited, data point. Data is good.

    “We have spent the last year blundering in a dimly lit room trying to contain this thing.”

    And as the fog begins to clear we can start to see early returns on our actions. Perhaps we can make a hypothesis that warnings and information can control the virus as effectively as edicts and lockdowns in some cases. Reasonable, albeit still unproven, hypothesis.

    “As we enter what I hope is the final stages of the pandemic, it’s important to keep in mind that there is no winning in this game. There are only degrees of losing.”

    That is pretty much what the NR author said: “Coronavirus has been a disaster and a challenge for everyone. Nobody has got it completely right, because it was not possible to get it completely right. ”

    The question has always been how to respond to the threat in the most judicious manner considering that there are costs not just from the disease but from our cures and controls. I believe the term in medicine is “iatrogenic harm” — causing harm while trying to help. The optimal solution would balance the human health results with the economic, educational, and psychological iatrogenic harms.

    “Hopefully, we will get to the point where we have the luxury of looking back, figuring out what worked and planning appropriately for the future.”

    Why would we want to wait until afterwards if we can start to learn earlier? Isn’t this deciding what we should have done with the barn door after all our cows are gone?

    I am not arguing that Florida or California handled it better. But the major media made their opinion pretty clear every single day, passing judgment for one side and against the other. A lot of people on this site did the same. It is pretty much expected that the party that the major media despises would respond with a counter opinion/judgment/cheer in their own little conservative media space.

    The only thing I despise more than democrats are republicans (and vice versa). But beyond all the political tribalism, there is some evidence starting to emerge on the costs and benefits and pros and cons of various responses to the viral threat. Maybe some places will learn from it and handle it better moving forward. Others will just play to their tribal base. Lives will be saved and lost, jobs will be preserved and destroyed.

    But, considering everything, did politicizing this issue help us or hurt us?Report

    • Michael Cain in reply to Swami says:

      One of the things that we will probably never know is what the actual contact rates looked like in any of the states. For example, we know now that in New York, during the supposed lock down, there were religious funeral observations with hundreds of unmasked people crowded shoulder-to-shoulder. Outside my area of expertise, but it seems more likely that we could use the data to work backwards from the known case rates to get an actual contact rate, and then use that to judge the effectiveness of policies like closures.

      One of the things I hope the experts learned in my state is that locking down elderly care facilities is not as effective as anyone thought it would be because of the sizeable number of staff that work multiple jobs at multiple facilities. We closed the front doors but not the back doors.Report

      • Swami in reply to Michael Cain says:

        My contact rate (15 minutes indoors closer than 6 feet) plummeted and my contact circle narrowed considerably. Personally it would not have been much different for me or any family member on contact rate if my gov (Newsom) had made recommendations and best practices rather than edicts.

        Indeed, I suspect tens of millions of conservatives and Christians intentionally stopped wearing masks and increased contact rates just to defy the orders which they honestly resented. The heavy hand of the California state may have backfired. Now they distrust everything the state says as they have mobilized a resistance.

        Again, I am not arguing for Florida vs California, just suggesting that we are getting useful feedback on stringent lockdowns vs public service messages and minimal regulatory adjustments. The final results will include secondary and unintended effects, perversely including that a firmer hand may actually lead to more rather than less contact.Report