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A critical review of Florida’s new vaccine analysis

Florida just announced the results of an analysis that they performed, claiming the results show “an increased risk of cardiac-related death among men 18-39” for the mRNA vaccines, and recommend this group not receive these vaccines.

Is this justified? Let’s look at the data…

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A case study in graphs that crush my soul

Graphs are central to scientific communication, and when used appropriately are amazing tools that help people understand complex data. But with a few small changes, graphs can also be used to mislead and distort what’s going on. Recently I came across a graph (trying to minimize the effectiveness of COVID vaccines in kids) that was so bad it deserves its own entire post. Check out a break down of the chart crimes here.

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BA.5: What do you need to know?

Recently, BA.5 has been all over the news, raising alarming questions about immune evasion, reinfections, and the future of the pandemic. What makes BA.5 different from previous COVID viruses? In our latest post, we address what makes BA.5 special, along with what these differences mean for vaccine efficacy and the chances of reinfection.

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Where do new variants come from?

Why do new variants keep emerging, and do they render vaccines useless? This post tackles the genetics of where variants come from and how changes to the spike protein impact vaccine effectiveness.

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How does COVID impact the brain?

COVID is not just a respiratory disease; it attacks multiple systems, including the brain. More and more COVID-induced strokes are being reported, as are cases of long COVID, which involve brain fog and other neurological symptoms that can persist for years after infection. So how can COVID affect the brain? This post explores the neurological symptoms of COVID and signs of brain damage after infection, as well as possible explanations for how COVID could cause these problems.

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Ninety five percent. NINETY FIVE PERCENT!

In November 2020, we got the news: the results from the first COVID vaccine phase 3 trial were released, and they were better than even the most optimistic expectations: 95% efficacy! This was far better than we had dared to dream. But, in the midst of all the celebrating and enthusiasm, groundwork was laid for a communication blunder that later left many feeling confused and betrayed. Check out part 2 of the series covering the story of the COVID vaccines (and the communication around them.)

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About

Kristen Panthagani, MD, PhD is a physician-scientist who likes to help people understand science.  She saw a lot of people getting unnecessarily confused by inaccurate claims flying around, and started this blog to help clarify some of those things.

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Reviews

"Dr. Panthagani has an unmatched ability to take complex, nuanced concepts and break them down into easily understandable nuggets, backed whenever possible by rigorous evidence and data. A picture is worth a thousand words, and I have especially enjoyed the numerous visualization tools that she has developed for the “You Can Know Things” updates, which have enabled many of us to better explain to the lay public certain paradoxes that have been an inevitable consequence of the pandemic." Dr. Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S., Professor, MD Anderson Cancer Center
"Kristen is a rising star in the field of science communication. As a meteorologist, particularly one interested in the communication challenges surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, I have found Kristen’s ability to explain complex aspects of the evolving information in understandable and accessible language to be both interesting and very helpful. Because of this, her blog has been indispensable through the pandemic, and I suspect it will continue to be a must-follow beyond the pandemic as well." Matt Lanza, Managing Editor, Space City Weather
"I can’t count the number of times I have shared one of Kristen’s articles to explain a point. I always learn something new and find a new perspective reading this well-researched content. I appreciate the timeliness and links to sources that I can read further if I want to delve deeper."
"Without you, I wouldn’t know what information to trust. Thank you for everything you do, we wait for every new post."
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