Playbooks, approvals, anecdotes, and more…

FSM Friends’ News and Articles

The anti-vaxxer playbook to destroy confidence in COVID-19 vaccines: “The COVID-19 pandemic is the public health crisis of this generation. Despite the appearance of a brand new infectious disease – and within months, an effective vaccine, the anti-vaccine movement has built enough strength to potentially threaten our ability to bring this disease under control. These groups are highly organized, social-media savvy, and are coordinating effectively. Public health advocates and agencies are still playing a game of catch up and struggling to use social media effectively after more than a decade.”


Not sure about the Pfizer vaccine, now it’s been approved in Australia? You can scratch these 4 concerns straight off your list: “All technologies were new once. Of all the vaccine technologies being explored against COVID-19, mRNA vaccines have proved the most efficient in reducing the incidence of severe COVID disease. However, we still don’t fully understand their long-term safety, as with all new medicines. The TGA’s approval is valid for two years and it will continue to monitor the vaccine’s safety both in Australia and overseas”.

Tips for better thinking – Anecdotes are not reliable: “That is not to say that testimonials about health products and interventions are always wrong; it’s that they are not reliable. They can be contaminated by phenomena that are well known to skeptics: regression to the mean, self-limiting illnesses, multiple treatments used at once, confirmation bias, and the placebo responses. We need to conduct robust scientific studies to eliminate all of these phenomena and figure out if something truly works on its own.”

Study finds no benefit for dietary supplements: “More than half of U.S. adults take dietary supplements [1]. I don’t, but some of my family members do. But does popping all of these vitamins, minerals, and other substances really lead to a longer, healthier life? A new nationwide study suggests it doesn’t. Based on an analysis of survey data gathered from more than 27,000 people over a six-year period, the NIH-funded study found that individuals who reported taking dietary supplements had about the same risk of dying as those who got their nutrients through food. What’s more, the mortality benefits associated with adequate intake of vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, zinc, and copper were limited to food consumption.”

Emergency department visits for adverse events related to dietary supplements: “We estimate that over twenty thousand emergency department visits annually in the US are attributed to dietary supplement adverse events. Emergency department visits due to dietary supplement adverse events commonly involved cardiovascular adverse effects from weight loss/energy herbal products among young adults, micronutrient ingestions by unsupervised children, and swallowing problems from micronutrients among older adults. These findings can help target interventions to reduce the risk for dietary supplement adverse events.”