COVID19 mini-update, April 9, 2021: Dr. John Campbell on Oxford/AstraZeneca rare side effects; Israel reopening further

(a) In response to rare (but clearly statistically significant) instances of thrombosis among younger patients dosed with the old-school Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, a number of European countries have limited its use to older patients (55+, 60+, 65+, depending). Dr. John Campbell covers this story in detail here:

In the course of his explanation, he points to infographics from a presentation by the Winton Centre at Cambridge University:

For comparison, among those who’ve gotten the Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs in the UK, just short of 80 thrombotic adverse events occurred. A bit more than half as many people got Pfizer jabs in the UK, for which… 2 (two) similar events were seen, statistically equivalent to the frequency in unvaccinated people. Dr. Campbell, incidentally, still advocates the O/AZ vaccine, especially in older people, but by chance he got Pfizer when he showed up for his jab.

Dr. Campbell points to something else that had escaped me, as I am not a nurse (he spent much of his career teaching nursing school and writing textbooks). Intramuscular vaccinations are not supposed to be given in a blood vessel — and a simple technique to ensure this isn’t happening is, after you jab into the deltoid muscle, to pull back the plunger a little and this aspirate a little bit of fluid into the syringe. If it’s red, you hit a blood vessel, and you should pull out and jab again. if it’s clear, you can safely push the plunger down. Danish health authorities, it seems, has issued instructions to nurses always aspirate: when Dr. Campbell was younger, this was still what he taught to all students.

(b) Israel continues to see further drops in COVID19 statistics: half a percent test positive; severe cases in hospitals have dropped to just 270 (i.e., below a quarter of peak levels), mortality has been in single digits for over a week now. Further lockdown relaxations have been issued, just short of full opening: it is rumored that the outdoor mask mandate will be rescinded next week. (Anecdotally, police have stopped enforcing it.) On my morning power walk and grocery shopping (I live in a dense ‘sub’urban area where it is often faster to get around on foot than by car), I noticed sidewalk cafés and eateries full to the brim, even inside the nearest indoor mall.

2 thoughts on “COVID19 mini-update, April 9, 2021: Dr. John Campbell on Oxford/AstraZeneca rare side effects; Israel reopening further

  1. In the general population, what percent who opt for the “jab” receive the treatment and what percent receive the placebo? Or, do they all receive the treatment?

    • Not sure what you mean. Placebos are only given during clinical trials. The various Phase III trials last year were done with about 30K people each, split 50:50 vaccine and placebo. (There are statistical techniques for ensuring that the vaccine and control groups are otherwise as similar as possible in terms of age distribution, ethnicity mix, pre-existing conditions,… in order to exclude “confounding factors”.)
      Nobody during the actual vaccination campaigns gets placebos. Any “control group” here would be the not-yet-vaccinated people, but this is obviously not a “double-blind” trial, albeit can be of great value because of the sheer size of the samples.

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