Category: Science and the Media

Nuance in Science Reporting

A study explores the pitfalls of following simple narratives in science reporting.

/ June 2, 2021
COVID-19 vs. FDA and CDC

“The vaccinated are a danger to the unvaccinated because of shedding!”: The latest COVID-19 antivaccine disinformation

Antivaxxers are masters of projection, which is why the latest antivaccine disinformation about COVID-19 vaccines is that they lead the recipient to "shed" spike protein, which can can cause menstrual irregularities or even miscarriages in women who come into contact with the vaccinated and even make people very sick. This trope is nothing more than a clever repackaging of the old antivaccine...

/ May 3, 2021
John Ioannidis with Laura Ingraham on Fox News

What the heck happened to John Ioannidis?

John Ioannidis is one of the most published and influential scientists in the world, someone whose skewering of bad medical research we at SBM have frequently lauded over the years. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Since then, Prof. Ioannidis has been publishing dubious studies that minimize the dangers of the coronavirus, shown up in the media to decry "lockdowns," and, most recently,...

/ March 29, 2021

COVID-19 vaccination and screening mammography

Reports of enlarged lymph nodes under the arm after COVID-19 vaccination have led doctors to tweak mammography guidelines. Antivaxxers, unsurprisingly, have tried to weaponize this observation to spread fear and confusion about these vaccines.

/ March 22, 2021

A “not antivaccine” antivax pediatrician asks how we will know a COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective

Dr. Liz Mumper is associated with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.'s antivax organization Children's Health Defense. She recently gave a presentation asking: How will we know that a COVID vaccine is safe? It's a presentation that provides an excellent example of how to identify if someone is antivaccine.

/ March 1, 2021
Prions and Creutzfeldt‐Jakob disease

Can mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines cause prion disease or Alzheimer’s?

Antivax immunologist J. Bart Classen published a paper claiming that mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines can cause prion disease leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's dementia. What are prions, and can these vaccines cause prion disease? (Spoiler alert: The answer to the second question is almost certainly no. It's speculation based on highly implausible biology.)

/ February 22, 2021
Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

The efforts of antivaxxers to portray COVID-19 vaccines as harmful or even deadly continue apace (VAERS edition)

With the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines continuing apace, so are the efforts of antivaxxers to portray the vaccines as dangerous. This time around, they've resurrected the old antivaccine trick of deceptively misusing the VAERS database to imply causation from VAERS reports. That's not how VAERS works, however.

/ February 1, 2021

All science denial is a form of conspiracy theory

Regular readers of this blog know that many forms of quackery and science denial have conspiracy theories associated with them, but a further examination suggests that all forms of science denial are a form of conspiracy theory. In the middle of a deadly pandemic, science denial represents a form of conspiracy theory with potentially deadly consequences.

/ January 25, 2021

The Anti-Vaxxer Playbook to Destroy Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines

Major anti-vaccination voices and organizations have coalesced around three key messages to keep people from accepting the COVID-19 vaccine. Their playbook has now been exposed.

/ January 21, 2021

Deliberately Spoiled Vaccines: Conspiracy thinking and health professionals

A Wisconsin pharmacist is facing charges after deliberately tampering with a batch of COVID-19 vaccines, demonstrating that a health professional's education is no vaccine against conspiracy beliefs.

/ January 7, 2021