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week of June 2, 2022

Hepatitis and adults

The claim:

While we are all distracted by the pandemic, other diseases continued to exist. Many adults are completely unaware of the risk Hepatitis A and B pose to them. Should they even care?

The facts:

We do need to care about these two forms of viral hepatitis.

Organic strawberries were recently recalled due to contamination after two dozen people developed Hepatitis A infections. Hepatitis is a general term for liver inflammation, and Hepatitis A and B are viral diseases that cause hepatitis. Hepatitis A is spread via contaminated food and water and can last weeks and in rare cases, up to 6 months. This virus can cause loss of liver function in rare cases.

Hepatitis B is spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected person or via transmission from parent to baby during pregnancy and childbirth, and can last for weeks or months, and even become a chronic infection. In fact, infants with Hep B have a 90% chance of developing chronic hepatitis.

As terrible as these infections are, the good news is that both can be prevented with vaccines! The Hep B vaccine, which is now recommended for all adults, is 98-100% effective against disease after a full course, while the Hep A vaccine is more than 95% effective after 2 doses.

It's like flu for kids

The claim:

One of the persistent rumors keeping children from being vaccinated is that COVID is not a big deal for kids and that it's mostly just like the flu for them.

The facts:

While the individual death rate for COVID is relatively low in children, it has been 500% more deadly than influenza in children. In 2021, 600 children died from COVID, whereas the 10-year average pediatric flu deaths is 120 per year. Of course, 120 children lost to flu each year is still too many.

Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston wrote in Inside Medicine that "since 2000, there have only been seven times that a respiratory virus killed more than 65 children in a month. Twice those deaths were from the flu, but the other five times were from COVID-19."

Now is not the time to underplay the devastation that COVID can cause in our children.

Pharma fakes vaccination

The claim:

The idea that people in the know and in power are not vaccinated has been a well-loved myth of the anti-vaccine movement. Unfortunately, a Spanish pharmaceutical company chair has only bolstered this myth by getting caught up in a vaccine registry falsification scandal.

The facts:

Jose Maria Fernandez Sousa-Faro, president of European pharmaceutical company PharmaMar, appeared on a list during an investigation as someone who may have paid to include his name in the vaccine registry as having received a booster shot when he had not.

This accusation lends credibility to the idea that the vaccine is somehow dangerous since those "in the know" appear to be refusing it. In fact, studies show the COVID vaccines to be overwhelmingly safe, with hundreds of millions of COVID vaccines given across the world.

It's also important to note that the pharmaceutical head in question is not necessarily a person "in the know." He is a businessman who runs a pharmaceutical company that develops cancer drugs, not vaccines.

Meanwhile, scientists who actually worked on the COVID vaccine are proudly and publicly vaccinated and boosted.

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