Antivaccine nonsense Bad science Medicine Skepticism/critical thinking

“Can colleges mandate Ozempic?” Clever or clueless analogy? You be the judge!

Dr. Vinay Prasad compares college booster mandates to mandating Ozempic in obese students. How are these things different from each other? Let me count the ways. How disingenuous is Dr. Prasad? Let me count the ways.

It’s been a while since my attention has been drawn back to Dr. Vinay Prasad, the 0.2 FTE academic oncologist at UCSF who before the pandemic first caught my attention because he appeared to be a champion of evidence-based medicine and more rigor in clinical trials used to approve oncology drugs. The operative phrase is “appeared to be” because, soon after the pandemic hit, Dr. Prasad took a heel turn into COVID-19 contrarianism and antivax-adjacent propaganda to the point of going full Godwin and likening interventions to slow the spread of the pandemic to incipient fascism, whining about the “misinformation police” and “obsessive criticism” on social media of COVID contrarians like him, and disparaging fear of COVID-19 as irrational anxiety. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been so surprised, given how a few months before the pandemic Dr. Prasad had started attacking skeptics who debunked antivaccine pseudoscience and alternative medicine like homeopathy because, apparently, he viewed such an activity as too beneath his massive intellect, likening it to “dunking on a 7′ hoop.” In retrospect, I suppose that it was inevitable that he’d write something as mind-bogglingly stupid as his latest Substack, Can colleges mandate ozempic? and violate Betteridge’s law of headlines by answering, “Established precedent says yes!”

Many facepalms ensued, beginning with mine, not the least of which because I now can’t get that horrible Ozempic song out of my head, in which an irritatingly catchy pop song that had annoyed the crap out of me for early 50 years was transformed into an even more irritating Ozempic jingle. It’s a good thing that I wear a mask most of the time of the sort that Dr. Prasad says I don’t need to wear, because it covers up the red welts from all my facepalming after I read his post and saw the articles that that he cited while likening COVID-19 vaccines to Ozempic. I dare not read another one of his articles, lest the welts grow to the point where they can no longer be hidden by a surgical or N95 mask.

Dr. Prasad, being Dr. Prasad, starts out his “not antivax” analogy—remember, he takes great umbrage if you even imply that he might have said something the least bit antivax, much less accuse him of being antivax—thusly:

Consider this: colleges were among the most relentless in mandating boosters for young men and women. Most made no exemption for having had and recovered from covid. Even though it was clear that boosters were a net harm to young men, they mandated them anyway.

Covid19 vaccines do not protect others. With time, there is an ~100% chance everyone will get covid whether we force vaccines on college kids or any other subset of Americans.

I note that the article he cited in teeing up his Ozempic analogy is an “extended essay” (not even a review article!) in a medical ethics journal co-authored by him and a gang of COVID-19 contrarians that tried to argue that for young men COVID-19 vaccines did more harm than good. It’s the same sort of bogus argument that COVID-19 antivaxxers have been making ever since it was noticed that the mRNA vaccines can cause a transient and mild myocarditis in young men, a risk that was most pronounced after the booster, even though the risk due the virus is much greater than the risk of myocarditis due to the vaccine,. Of course, none of this stops people like Dr. Prasad from being very “concerned” regardless of what the true risk of myocarditis is from the vaccine and the virus.

Next up:

Covid19 vaccines do not protect others. With time, there is an ~100% chance everyone will get covid whether we force vaccines on college kids or any other subset of Americans.

Critics distract from this point and talk about short term transmission reduction, but that is silly. If your house is washed away by a hurricane, it’s no longer important that you nailed the shutters and tossed a sandbag out front beforehand.

By this rationale, why treat any disease? Why have medicine or surgery at all? Every single one of us currently drawing breath is going to die someday anyway. So what’s the point of trying to forestall the inevitable, since we can only just forestall it and not prevent it? Seriously, the stupid, it burns, as even the hurricane analogy ignores the fact that you can greatly reduce the damage to most houses by taking precautions and even reduce the chances that the hurricane will wash them away. Again, the stupid, it burns, even as it sounds superficially reasonable.

Here’s where Dr. Prasad sets up what he obviously thinks is a devastatingly clever analogy. In fact, you can almost feel and visualize him patting himself on the back for his cleverness at coming up with it, particularly given that the SEO for it is probably crazy good, as it combines multiple highly searched-for terms:

Therefore, when colleges mandate these shots, they are saying: we are allowed to mandate interventions if we believe it is in the best interest of our students. We don’t need benefits to third parties. We are allowed to embrace surrogate endpoints, and no one can question us. 

By that logic, it is clear, colleges can mandate ozempic for overweight students

Ozempic, as you might or might not know, is a drug whose generic name is semaglutide, which was originally approved by the FDA as a treatment for type II diabetes in 2017 under the brand name Ozempic. However, more recently, semaglutide was approved in 2021 to treat obesity under the brand name Wegovy. (Ain’t pharma marketing grand?) Adding to the confusion is that, predictably, Ozempic is being prescribed off-label for weight loss in people with obesity because it’s basically the same drug, and that is contributing to a serious shortage of both drugs, to the detriment of people with type II diabetes. Basically, the drug lowers blood sugar levels and regulates insulin, as well as mimicking the activity of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1, which decreases appetite by signaling to our bodies that we feel full and slowing gastric emptying. Oddly enough, these drugs also have some major side effects, such as facial aging, pancreatitis, and even kidney failure, although Ozempic does decrease the risk of cardiovascular complications from type II diabetes.

With that bit of background, let’s see where Dr. Prasad goes with his “analogy“:

Consider the facts:
  1. Boosters do not provide benefit to others/ Ozempic does not provide benefit to others
  2. Boosters increase antibody titers/ Ozempic lowers weight
  3. We don’t know if boosters reduce severe disease at these ages/ we don’t know if Ozempic makes you live longer at these ages
  4. Expert groups recommend bivalent boosters (CDC) and experts recommend ozempic (AAP)
  5. Both are FDA approved/ authorized
Ergo, by established precedent, colleges can mandate Ozempic.

First of all, while it is true that a lot of colleges mandated boosters according to the CDC recommendations last year (i.e., the 2021-2022 school year), this year the mandating of boosters, in particular the bivalent booster that COVID-19 contrarians seem to hate and disparage so much is hardly “relentless,” as this MedPage Today story describes, noting that Harvard University, Tufts University, Yale University, Fordham University, and Wellesley College mandated the bivalent booster last fall, but “few other institutions have enacted such a requirement” and that there was a major backlash to the requirement at Fordham University, which was described as “one of a small group of institutions to mandate the new COVID-19 booster.”


Data from No College Mandates, a project opposing college vaccine requirements that documents institutions’ vaccine policies, show that fewer than 20 colleges and universities have mandated the new booster this fall.

Only 20 colleges? That’s not a very large number! But maybe Dr. Prasad was referring to last year and the first booster required in response to the Omicron surge. Actually, even last year the number of colleges mandating boosters was not large:

Over 1,000 colleges and universities required the initial vaccines, and more than 60 required the first booster in the wake of the Omicron surge last winter.

For the math-challenged, that’s just 6% of the colleges that originally required the initial vaccine series for their students and staff that then went on to require the first booster.

It’s even less “relentless” than what Dr. Prasad describes:

And even at institutions in states that are staunchly pro-vaccine, mask mandates, social distancing and other COVID prevention measures have largely been abandoned.

That’s putting it mildly.

Let’s just say that I get the feeling that Dr. Prasad is fighting last year’s antivax battle, one that “his side” basically won rather conclusively, given how few colleges and universities this year have mandated the bivalent booster for their students, faculty, and staff. However, noting that universities haven’t been “relentlessly” pushing boosters for over a year now wouldn’t provide him with the narrative of unreasonable persecution that he craves to make his analogy. It’s an analogy that cost me some neurons, as I haven’t encountered neuron-apoptosing stupidity this powerful since dealing with prepandemic antivaxxers. So I guess that Dr. Prasad is due…congratulations?

Naturally, I can’t help but note that Dr. Prasad also falls into the common antivax fallacy about vaccines and transmission, in which he equates anything less than 100% effectiveness at preventing infection and transmission as being equivalent to the vaccines not working at all. As I like to retort, even modest prevention of infection and transmission works exponentially to slow transmission, and it’s not true that COVID-19 vaccines don’t prevent transmission. Also, we do know that bivalent boosters prevent severe disease and that the increased protection against hospitalization or death was seen regardless of age or whether people had previously received a different booster. We also know that there is a lot of evidence that Ozempic is likely to reduce mortality from type II diabetes, although it should be noted that Ozempic is a second- or third-line therapy for this disease, particularly in younger patients. It is a treatment that is generally implemented when patients fail to reduce their glucose and A1c sufficiently using first-line therapies.

I could also nitpick and point out that Ozempic is not approved for use to lose weight in obesity. That would be Wegovy. But Ozempic and Wegovy are the same drugs; so I mention this only because it will likely annoy Dr. Prasad if I point this out and he sees it.

To finish off the flaming neuronal apoptosis that is Dr. Prasad’s article, he decides to invoke the slipperiest of slippery slope fallacies:

The puzzle I am illustrating is that once a university crosses the Rubicon and decides it can mandate what it thinks is in the best interest of students (without benefit to third parties), the logical end is far. Ozempic could be mandated.

I mean, it’ll be human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… MASS HYSTERIA!

Seriously, though, I like to concede that the slippery slope argument is not always a logical fallacy. It usually is, however, because in order to make an effective slippery slope argument you have to be able to show how each step inevitably leads to the next one, something Dr. Prasad fails miserably at doing here. Also, if you’re going to use an analogy to undergird your slippery slope argument needs to be applicable.

As one Twitter denizen put it:
Of what Korenevsky says in that latter Tweet, I have no doubt.

I’ll finish by quoting this statement from near the end of Dr. Prasad’s jeremiad:

Of course, obviously I oppose these braindead mandates and this essay is just meant to further show the absurdity. 

Absurdity shown, just not in the way that Dr. Prasad thinks. What he has shown is the absurd lengths he will go to demonize vaccines in the name of attacking boosters in young men. He knows very well that his comparing just boosters in young men to Ozempic will provide him with plausible deniability that he is not attacking COVID-19 vaccines in general. I know very well that people who read his article will not see the analogy as narrowly as that. That’s a feature, not a bug, of Dr. Prasad’s antivax rhetoric.

Unfortunately, I now feel obligated to apologize to my readers, as I realize that, like me, you too probably have that damned Ozempic jingle stuck in your head. It will pass. Eventually.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

94 replies on ““Can colleges mandate Ozempic?” Clever or clueless analogy? You be the judge!”

If they mandate it can I finally get insurers to PAY for it?
(I’m only partially serious…partially)

“Most made no exemption for having had and recovered from covid.” This right here is enough to discredit all of it. It was always overblown, a symptom of the crisis’ cronyism that has sucked up our country and maybe more.

Regardless of how safe? Any risk at all makes it not worth it and this, definitely non-gene therapy medicine, is brand new. Where’s the caution? What about first do no harm?

“Any risk at all makes it not worth it”

Dumb. All vaccines and all medicines have some level of risk.

Stop being a stupid troll.

“Any risk at all makes it not worth it…”

Says the guy wearing a bike helmet.

Live RNA virus vaccines have of course RNA, so “RNA injection” is not a new thing.

“Any risk at all makes it not worth it”

So the greater risk associated with the wild disease is acceptable.

You do realise that following the riskier path, whilst bemoaning the risk of the safer path, makes you look stupid? Bungie jumping without a rope because you’re worried about a detached retina.

Also you board up a house just prior to a hurricane not years in advance. His analogy is perfect.

Your endorsement of that nonsensical analogy is perfect as well LOL.

Obesity is not an infectious disease, you cannot spread it to others. Cure to it is not some drug but eating less.
Hurricane is not infectious disease either, and here is no cure to hem.

Also you board up a house just prior to a hurricane not years in advance.

Actually, you have suitable building codes in place for years before a severe hurricane strikes, in order to minimise damage.

That was done after the Australian city of Darwin was severely damaged (70% of buildings destroyed) by tropical cyclone Tracy in 1974: “Several new building codes were drawn up, trying to achieve the competing goals of the speedy recovery of the area and ensuring that there would be no repeat of the damage that Darwin took in 1974.”

The ten days warning that the residents had was not nearly enough time to adequately prepare for the cyclone.

Well, to be honest, I like the song, if it is indeed the song I think it is Magic from Pilot. Members of that group also worked in Alan Parsons Project.
This doesn’t mean I agree in anything with Dr. Prasad.
People just should get vaccinated, to protect themselzes and others. I suppose missing college because you are ill is not a big deal for Dr. Prasad.

When you see the commercials constantly any time you watch local TV or any cable or streaming TV that has ads, you will come to hate this song, as I do now. (I never liked it that much before, but the commercials led me to hate it.)

I can imagine that. I don’t watch commercial TV and tend to skip commercial blocks.

I killed my television 35 years ago. Never heard it that I know of. Haven’t seen a commercial either. I drive cross country mostly in Canada to avoid billboards. Advertising is absolutely insidious.

I assume Orac is going to get to it, but this is like the new Cochrane review of masks that “wearing masks in the community “probably makes little or no difference” to the number of people with influenza or COVID-19-like illnesses.” Even though the review did not quite say that.

Go over to Science Based Medicine. He discussed some aspects of it there Monday last.

Opposition from Football coaches alone would put a stop to any widespread usage of Ozempic on college campuses.

Among Vinay Prasad’s recent flailings is his contention that we are on the slippery slope to preventing Republicans from being doctors. From his Substack earlier this year:

“If all professional organizations and universities hold Democrat points of views on all issues, and issue statements denouncing anyone for holding Republican views, the question naturally becomes should we just finish this off and Republicans be banned from being doctors entirely?”

“Obviously, even though I am a progressive, I find that point of view chilling…”

“As a corollary, can we next ban, center left doctors? Shouldn’t we only accept doctors who agree with all our political positions? After all, all of medicine and public health is ultimately political.”

Seems to me that Prasad and his compadres are the ones most intent on politicizing all of medicine and public health. And he might well ask himself (but won’t), why do Republicans consistently wind up on the wrong side of health issues? Could it be that the G.O.P. spurns science not for valid reasons, but due to flawed ideology and perception of political benefit?

“Obviously, even though I am a progressive, I find that point of view chilling…”

Hint: If Dr. Prasad was ever truly a “progressive,” he long ago ceased to be one and fully embraced the right wing pandemic minimizing media and social media ecosystem.

@ Orac:

Progressive can mean many things to many people: for example, at the Progressive Radio Network, it means ( paraphrase) neither liberal nor conservative, neither left nor right but focused upon problem solving,
consolidating freedoms, cutting taxes, preserving family values and maintaining scientific integrity…
and selling stuff.

The use of “Democrat” as an adjective is right-wing signaling, pioneered by Rush Limbaugh.

And fwiw, the idea that medical organizations are bastions of leftist ideology is bonkers. Like our host, most physicians criticizing positions now advanced by the right started out as country club Republicans or libertarians, and only became apostate by the exponential growth of anti-science and anti-public-health politicking on that side of the aisle.

Prasad’s right that all of medicine and public health is ultimately political, but that doesn’t mean the “views” (kind of a demeaning term for science, eh?) involved have their origins in partisan party politics.

BTW, this guy is really bad at arguing. Straw men and Reductio ad absurdum R Us.

To be fair, Korenevsky is off target as Prasad is imagining an Ozempic mandate for obese students, not “otherwise healthy young males”. The stupidity of the analogy is all on the side of misrepresenting the value of the vaccine. “Boosters do not provide benefit to others,” is just absolutely false, which Prasad might understand if he’d ever been a classroom teacher of undergraduates, but then again, maybe not given his apparently growing need to play the contrarian.

According to the excerpt here, he referred to a mandate for “overweight” students, not obese ones. And it’s not labeled to treat overweight, nor would it be given the nonexistent health risks from overweight.

Make no mistake, there are health risks from being overweight. Some are metabolic, others involve premature arthritis, and the list goes on.

Orac: “under the brand name Ozempic. However, more recently, semaglutide was approved in 2021 to treat obesity under the brand name Wegovy. (Ain’t pharma marketing grand?)”

They’re the same drug, but at different doses. Because it’s packaged in a pre-loaded injector, they’re different products. My guess is that FDA required them to use a different brand name in order to reduce risk of dosing errors.

The real question is how many colleges “require” a vaccine without providing for an exemption if the student doesn’t want it. We’re always hearing vaccines are “required” for school, which is deceptive, since all that’s actually required is for the student to either submit to the shots, or fill out an exemption form acknowledging they received the school’s medical advice and rejected it. There are only a few states where parents must either submit their child to vaccination or lose the education.

I suspect most colleges are allowing exemptions for “required” COVID19 vaccines–if they aren’t, it’s because they’re being paid not to, because even though they’ve been promised immunity from liability, it’s an unnecessary risk, and they’ll lose students, and good faith with students.

” “require” a vaccine without providing for an exemption if the student doesn’t want it ”

I’m not sure you understand the meaning of the word “require”. What’s that? You’d like to murder someone? Certainly sir, here’s an exemption, stab away.

all that’s actually required is for the student to either submit to the shots, or fill out an exemption form acknowledging they received the school’s medical advice and rejected it

You have just described a personal belief exemption.

There are only a few states where parents must either submit their child to vaccination or lose the education.

Only 15 states have full PBEs, and “religious” exemptions are not always equivalent.

College students can make their own decision whether to give big $$ to an institution that demands they submit to injection with anything. It’s so utterly sick, it’s hard to believe it’s happening.

The school is well aware that all vaccines carry some risk of death or serious injury, but I can guarantee they never tell their students anything so stark. Nor do they provide students with any kind of risk analysis with actual numbers. Nor will they accept financial responsibility for injured students.

The oligarchy is colluding to poison and subjugate young people, while the people carrying out this sick plan consider themselves heroes.

I’m confused. How can you teach empathy? You can teach people what it means (and the difference between empathy and sympathy) but you can’t make them feel it and if they can feel it, surely they don’t need to be taught it?

Also, why do they want to prevent teaching something that might sway people to their point of view?

Yes, empathy is a skill, not an innate behavior. Altruism is the innate behavior. There are many tactics for teaching empathy at different ages and for different endgoals. Medical students are supposed to be taught empathy, but of course you have to be guarded in that field, for instance. The field itself would close off emotions like empathy to gain pure objectivity but the end results are too poor, so they have to have the empathy for patients increased.

Helen Riess. (2017) The Science of Empathy. Journal of Patient Experience. 4(2): 74–77. Published online 2017 May 9. doi: 10.1177/2374373517699267

I saw that video and thought it was a parody. Maybe Borat at work?

Is it actually real?

Some of these people literally do not know what they are talking about. It’s probably an end goal of buzz-word politics. They train supporters to hear a word or phrase and immediately react against it.

Here’s a clip of a woman being interviewed who says she is opposed to teaching “critical race theory” because she wants real black history taught instead like kids learning about Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, etc. I wonder if she would support the Florida schoolbook revisions of the Rosa Parks story?

Also, I suspect the woman in that tweet video was more set off by the suggestion to kids that a child could have two mommies.

A lot of schools will have motherhood and apple pie slogans that can get used during the school year to try to encourage and reinforce good behavior. My kids’ middle school had a list like that. It may have listed friendship, honesty, patriotism, cooperation, etc. and maybe even empathy.

That’s why she mentioned empathy as a word of the week.

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. People with strong social-emotional skills are better able to cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially.

But she equates that with teaching critical race theory, queer theory, etc.

It’s especially rich that she talks about getting a therapist to help her child with that instead of having the school teach these skills. It’s s bit like Ben Shapiro railing against free school lunches because the parents should be spending their money first on feeding their kids and CPS should intervene to take the kids away if the parents don’t!

While this absurd analogy can destroy neurons, I cannot wait to see how he [or others] will soon pervert the new findings on the presence of
Raccoon Dog DNA in the Wuhan Market. One sure sign of concern, is crickets on the right side of the media, so far. I am sure that they have noted this and are preparing some sort of not-so-novel conflation.
I did watch 1 1/10 U-tube videos of his on the Cochrane Mask “study”. Between his video & his writings, you would think good ole Jefferson was his beloved father. I actually have read the entire hundred or so pages of the Cochrane report & am slowly reading and evaluating most of the references, which few, if any have time for. I find it both horrifying and fascinating….but should be “mandated” reading.
I also note that on Doximity, more docs are sadly putting links to him, as some sort of “valid new” reference.
These are some of the very same docs who push narratives from “COVID Contrarianism” to “LNPs are evil” to “masks kill neurons via CO2 toxicity”.

“Boosters do not provide benefit to others”

He just repeats this lie, over and over and over again. The reduction in transmission is just one benefit. If you don’t get COVID you can’t pass it on is another benefit. Lowered usage of limited hospital and emergency services is another benefit to the community.

So why even go further, his entire diatribe dies with his very first claim being a lie.

Is there anyone who has had the full series that hasn’t also had Covid?

I haven’t had covid yet. However, I haven’t had all the boosters so it doesn’t count as the full series. As usual, you are measuring effectiveness on a binary scale of your own devising. I wonder if you apply the same scale to sunscreen or insect repellent? 100% or you don’t use it eh?

I have not had COVID either, though without boosters (medical exemption),

Nope, haven’t had COVID. First vaccine dose was in August 2020 in the Pfizer phase 3 trial, latest dose (#5) was the Moderna bivalent in the Fall.

I’ve had two initial COVID shots and two boosters (four shots altogether), which was the Australian full schedule for my cohort up to the start of this month. No COVID.

I expect to be having the recommended third booster (probably Pfizer BA.4/5 bivalent) in the next few weeks.

No COVID, four doses (I missed No. 3 because of an inability to get around in winter 2021/2022).

One J&J single dose.
One Moderna booster. One Pfizer booster. One Pfizer Bivalent booster. No Covid.

Hi there! First 2 doses done in spring 2021, booster in spring 2022 (should have had a booster before that; I got lazy), bivalent booster in mid Sept. 2022.
Never tested positive for COVID, never felt like I was experiencing any symptoms.

Me. I have had the full set of Pfizer vaccines and boosters and have had close contact with multiple people with COVID, both socially and at work. No COVID infection to date.

I did slip on some ice and fractured my right humerus in January, 8 months after my last booster. Obviously caused by the vaccine.

Me too,over here in the UK. 1st, 2nd, boosters. Not had covid. But I am also quite an introvert. I don’t like being in large groups such as parties, pubs and bars, restaurants, sports, concerts etc etc. Even the weekly food shop is done at quiet times of the day. In other words, I can’t stand being around people. Give me a sunny day out in the wilderness with my camera….bliss.

The great thing about this is that JLB is just going to change the subject, as usual.

Yes – As if what ever answer provided will have any effect on your conclusions…

My wife and I, our two sons, the older son’s girlfriend, all the pfizer shots, no covid.
My sister and her husband, in their 80s, same: no covid. Their 3 kids (and adult grandkids): same, no covid. I could go on with people with whom I teach, same story.

Do I know people who were up on shots and got it? Yes.

Two — no, three — points here.

My comments about family and friends who were vaccinated and covid free, anecdotes. Same for the comments about people who were vaccinated and got covid: anecdotes, not reliable data
You need to look at real data for information on the effectiveness of the vaccines, and when you do [and if you’re capable of understanding it and honest about it] you’ll see that overall it does a good job: not perfect, but no vaccine is, despite the dishonest portrayal of folks like you
You [and igor, and lucas, and the other anti-vacc folks] simply continue to be dishonest two ways: your portrayal of the covid vaccines as worthless because they don’t give 100% protection, and your continued lies about the dangers associated with them. Your continued BS on both those things is tiresome, but it seems to be all you’re capable of.

Main series, booster, bivalent booster, no Covid.

All those shots and no development of horns or 12-foot-long superclots.

To my disapointment, I haven’t gotten horns, while I’ve gotten all my vax and all boosters.

I’ve never had covid (that I know, I accept I may have had asymptomatic covid) despite working in front line health care the entire time. Vaccinated, boosted and mask wearing all mandated, not that I needed to be told.

One massive and long standing benefit of the mandate, well here at least where it remains in place, is it weeded out the very small number of AV cultist Dr’s and Nurses and made patient care better for it. We now can have more confidence those delivering evidence based care actually believe in evidence based care.

I’ll have to give that essay he got published a more careful reading. But Prasad practically never cites evidence to support his claims. It makes it easier to convince his audience he knows what he is talking about. And it obfuscates the fact that he is using methodolatry to reinforce his cognitive bias when he only selects evidence that reinforces his claims.


I’ve been notified by Youtube that a video presented a decade ago titled “Vaccine Delivery and Autism (The Latex Connection) has been removed because it violates their medical misinformation policy.

MJD says,

Now that vaccines are not manufactured with natural rubber latex (hevea brasiliensis), there’s no need for such respectful information?

@ Orac,

What is the procedure for removing “The Latex Connection” from Respectful Insolence?

While the music appropriated for the Ozempic ads is annoying, it’s not as bad as the loud tinkly piano notes that introduce unwanted Vrbo ads when you’re trying to view a YouTube video.

You can’t hit the mute button fast enough.

Prasad isn’t just wrong about the value of vaccines: the other half of his analogy is also flawed:

Colleges have always mandated things that the administration thinka are in the best interest of the students, including requirements that students take foreign language, gym, writing, or math classes. Many require a passing grade in Introductory Whatever before taking Advanced Whatever, even if the student wants to jump in at the deep end.

The college I went to required first-year students to live in the dorms, with an exception for students who were living with their families in the same city, because they thought it would help build friendships/community. They also required everyone, no matter what their major, to take a minimum number of math or science classes, and a minimum number of English or foreign language classes, without bothering to argue about whether me studying Latin or my roommate studying astronomy, benefits the rest of the student body.

You are right, but that’s not usually the justification here.

Worst possible outcome for the student, if the administration is wrong that it’s good for them to take language, gym, writing, or math classes? Some wasted time and money.

Worst possible outcome if the administration is wrong that it’s good for them to take a vaccine? Death, serious injury or permanent disability.

A requirement to take certain classes or live in the dorms is hardly comparable to a mandatory medical treatment.

Are you still proud of being the dumbest anti-vaxxer that trolls this page? John might be incredibly stupid, but you’re for actively harming people with lies.

I’m not surprised you posted a heartstrings story designed to persuade with emotion, rather than actual scientific evidence that taking COVID19 vaccines prevents death in teenagers.

“…a heartstrings story designed to persuade with emotion”

So, you reject the main tactic used by antivaxers?


Preach it, Ginny.

Appeals to emotion are hardly a main tactic used by antivaxers, Bacon–as you just aptly illustrated, it’s much more commonly used by provaxers–and without shame, as you also just aptly illustrated.

Appeals to emotion are hardly a main tactic used by antivaxers…


Seriously, that was really funny.

rather than actual scientific evidence that taking COVID19 vaccines prevents death in teenagers

Is it Irony Day? I didn’t get the memo.

Yes, antivaxxers basically won most of the battles so far:

Vaccine mandates are 99% gone
Vaccine uptake is next to zero
Covid boosters are no longer given in the UK
Retribution talk and begging for “pandemic amnesty” are in the air

Considering all of that, why are there 20 remaining colleges who mandate “bivalent boosters”? Why do Harvard, Yale, and other famous institutions that are known for preparing the “leaders of tomorrow” insisting on making their students and applicants receive the useless and dangerous boosters for students (but not for faculty)?

It seems weird upon the first sight that Harvard and Yale are insisting on bivalent boosters for students. It surely cannot be to make these young people healthier!

They are not stupid, of course, and have a good reason.

Most young people REFUSE bivalent boosters. Harvard and Yale want to have, as students, those who AGREE to receive those boosters. Such a requirement leads to self-selection of students. They want their student body to either conform to the Covid vaccine religion, or, worse, be ready to sacrifice their health to advance their careers. Thus, the obviously harmful and nonsensical mandate makes sense – if you consider that they want a student body of conformists and/or unhinged progressives.

If you ask for my personal opinion about these specific colleges, I do not care too much either way. At this point, if people choose to believe in bivalent boosters or want to harm their health to advance their careers by joining crazy institutions, it is their problem for the most part.

“Vaccine uptake is next to zero.”

A “fact” Igor pulled out of his ass.

270 million Americans (81%) have had at least one Covid vaccination; 230 million (69%) are fully protected.

“If you ask my personal opinion* about these specific colleges (with vaccine mandates), I do not care too much either way.”

Which is why Igor spends most of his lengthy post ranting about them. 😉

*the world doesn’t clamor for it.

Update is close to zero, eh?

Jeez, I’ve had FIVE covid jabs, and apparenlty I’m due for another before too long, which I’ll eagerly get.

And so far I haven’t had COVID that I know of. I’ll take it!

Meant to say, UpTAKE is close to zero. The entry box shows up in tee-nee-wee-nee little type on my weird system.

I think what he is saying is that uptake of the boosters has been decreasing with each subsequent dose and now with the bivalent booster it’s close to zero. Seems like that its probably close to right, from the data I’ve seen.

@Igor, well put. But do you think any of the priesthood here will ever consider the evidence that the jabs aren’t safe and effective? They have an apparent unwavering devotion to the jabs even for people that just had Covid, despite there being no upside.

I’m not required to respect information acquired from Christmas crackers, even if you worship it.

Actually colleges want to protect their students. Can you a paper about vaccine efficiency,
A religion based on RCTs ? Usually it is divine inspiration. You seem to think that religions are stupid, too. Not very conservative attitude.

Aside from the extreme projection involved in antivaxers sneering at opponents for being “religious”*, it does raise the question: why do they hate religion? Must be a bunch of atheists.

*over at Age of Autism, they once defended the exclusion of pro-vaccine commenters by saying that religious organizations didn’t have to make room for doubters.

“Retribution talk and begging for “pandemic amnesty” are in the air”

This says everything anyone ever needs to know about you. Come get me, sweetheart. It’s not bad enough I had to work those wards, units, and ERs during the pandemic and actually see they damage liars like you did; now you want “retribution” for us saving your behind?

I assume your empty, pathetic threats are aimed at folks like Fauci and not run-of-the-mill doctors like me but they are doubly-pathetic when you consider how much we went through during the pandemic. I now know seven experienced doctors who retired or quit medicine after the pandemic (one more announced this week) and several worked the ER where we all exchanged stories of antivaccine bs that we saw that lead to bad outcomes. One of these docs was threatened several times for recommending vaccines by nutjobs like Igor. She was tired of it all.

Side note to others – this was match week where US medical school grads find out if they matched and where for training. Emergency Medicine went heavily unfilled everywhere for the first time in over a decade. This outcome is certainly multifactorial but anyone who thinks COVID had nothing to do with it was nowhere near an ER during the pandemic.

I got news for you, Igor, that means you are now very likely to be seen by an NP or a PA in the ER when you are having a stroke or MI; or, worse, you’ll have to drive or be transported dozens of miles to find an ER that hasn’t closed. I hope they get you there and correctly assessed in time for the cath lab to do you any good.

The rest of us are getting fed up with how much of medicine is becoming political. Everything seems to have some sectarian bend to it nowadays here in the US and it is becoming VERY tiresome for those of us who just want to do right by ourselves and our neighbors and live a good life. BS threats from the Igors of the world are getting loathsome and the garbage he and his kind spew as “fact” on blogs is just making medicine harder by the day.

I choose to refer to RFK Jr’s Children’s Health Defence as Children’s Health UnDefence, which conveniently provides the acronym CHUD.

Igor, my fruit, the vaccines and boosters are very much available. Vaccines are being rolled out by age groups and vulnerability and that is still the case. However, if you miss the window of opportunity by its closing date you will not get one at a walk in centre. You will have to make an appointment with your GP. The UK is gearing up for a spring booster for the older cohorts and vulnerable. However, they may not offer walk in dates for younger people.

In March 2021 the VA contacted me about getting the Moderna shot and booster. Since then I have kept up with the additional shots with the last one last November. I am probably an outlier as I always called my getting a “cold” the sniffles. I had no noticeable fever or aches of a serious cold. I always thought that I never could get a “cold”. Of course I always got a flu shot, maybe 20 years Air Force mad that mandatory? When I read of flu symptoms I thought well maybe not having the flu shot was important, after all I never had those symptoms with a cold. Well, until the time I had Strep Throat, oh the 102.5 fever and sweats and oh give all the antibiotics I need.

No, I need all the shots I need. What is weird is I thought I never had Chicken Pox but later found I had the titres for it, ok lets do the Shingles shot and booster just in case. So my point is, maybe my immune system is robust in certain ways but I take no chances. With all the covid shots I have had, I did show positive last August. In my case, it was like those “cold”s I had. But would I want to have covid “naked” with no shots? NOPE!

Five doses in 18 months? Sounds amazingly effective!

August 2020 to fall 2022 is more than 24 months, Jethro.

I’m not sure why that one wound up in the wrong place — it was supposed to be under JLB’s cipherin’ above where he was disabused of the notion that everybody who had been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 had contracted COVID.

Further, the universities did not justify the mandates based on the benefits to the students getting the vaccine themselves; by and large the justification is the benefit to others, including the other students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community.

I understand Dr. Prasad thinks the justification does not hold – though as Orac points out, his arguments on that are problematic – but he cannot just throw it out and come up with his own substitute argument and use that for an analogy. His analogy is not even relevant to the actual justification.

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