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Did the pneumococcal vaccine lay Lou Ferrigno low?

Lou Ferrigno, who played the Incredible Hulk in the late 1970s, recently Tweeted that he had been hospitalized for “fluid in his bicep” after a “pneumonia vaccine,” and antivaxers went wild trying to tie it to their bogus concept of “vaccine injury.” What really happened?

So we took the puppies back to the shelter over the weekend, and, I must admit, I’m still kind of sad. But duty calls, particularly since I promised you guys that I’d try to maintain a regular blogging schedule at least until the week of Christmas, when I’ll probably take all or most of that week off from blogging. Today, though, I don’t think I have the energy for a really deep dive into anything. Fortunately (or unfortunately), there was a story that came to my attention over the weekend of a supposed “vaccine injury” in a celebrity. As you will see, the story is…odd. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “vaccine injury” story quite like this one, and I almost didn’t bother to take it on because there’s so little information provided that it’s hard to say much. The story involves Lou Ferrigno, the man made famous in the late 1970s playing The Incredible Hulk on TV. It began with a Tweet from December 12:

Not surprisingly, antivaxers pounced on the report:

And:

And:

And:

And:

You get the idea. Yes, Twitter is a cesspool of antivaccine pseudoscience, and any time any celebrity says anything vaccine-related he or she can expect to be buried in a tsunami of antivaccine stupidity. Still, something happened to send a man a strong as Ferrigno to the hospital. What happened to him?

My first question was: Which “pneumonia shot” did Ferrigno get? Well, he is 67 years old. (I hadn’t realized that he was only in his late 20s when he played the Hulk; I thought he was older.) In any event, if you look at the CDC adult vaccine schedule, you’ll see that the “pneumonia vaccine” is almost certainly the pneumococcal vaccine, either the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13 or Prevnar 13®), which protects against 13 types of pneumococcal bacteria, or the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23 or Pneumovax®), which protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria. The CDC recommends one of these vaccines for adults aged 65 or over or for younger adults at higher risk for pneumococcal pneumonia. So I presume that Ferrigno got one of these two vaccines.

My next question was: Biceps? Normally adult vaccines are not injected in the biceps, but rather the deltoid muscle, and certainly Ferrigno lacks for neither. Back in the day, when I was in high school and college, I was very skinny, which made me worry getting any vaccine whether I had enough muscle to avoid a needle stuck into the bone (the head of my humerus, to be precise). In any event, the CDC reports that after vaccination with Prevnar one-third of those receiving the shot had some swelling at the site of injection, and that after vaccination with Pneumovax about half experience redness or pain at the site of the injection and that around 1 in 100 develop more severe local reactions.

So let’s go back. There really isn’t much to go on other than the Tweets, which is all that most of the news stories I found reported. For instance, this story from CNN cited a physician who speculated:

The fluid in Ferrigno’s bicep could have been a reaction to the vaccine, or it might have been because the vaccination itself was not done properly, according to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

The skin might not have been appropriately disinfected before the shot, or the needle or vaccine could have been mishandled, said Schaffner, who did not treat Ferrigno.

My first thought reading this story is that the volume of fluid in a vaccine is usually 1 mL or less. Most contain 0.5 mL of fluid. Assuming that the vaccine was inadvertently injected into Ferrigno’s bicep, that’s not a lot of fluid in a very large bicep. In any case, What Dr. Schaffner came up with is about what I could come up with, except I can’t help but wonder if maybe the needle hit a blood vessel (possibly more likely in someone whose as muscular as Ferrigno is), leading to bleeding, leading to a hematoma. Alternatively, maybe he had a small abscess from improper sterile technique. The thing is, these possibilities would rarely be serious enough to require even an overnight admission to the hospital. Also, Ferrigno didn’t mention infection, which seems very odd if he had some sort of cellulitis or abscess.

Ferrigno hasn’t commented since last Friday and even then just expressed gratitude that he got out of the hospital in time for a planned appearance that day:

So what happened? Damned if I know. Barring more information from Ferrigno, we might never know. My best guess is that he either had a really bad local reaction or a hematoma and went to the ER. For some reason, it appears that he was briefly admitted to the hospital. Neither of these are life-threatening or reasons not to get vaccinated according to the CDC recommended schedule.

Not surprisingly, the angry band of antivaxers over at that wretched hive of scum and antivax quackery, Age of Autism, are all over Ferrigno’s story. I was amused to see how far they were stretching. The word “pretzel-like” comes to mind:

Note: While most media is using “HULK HURT!” headlines to report on actor Lou Ferrigno’s hospitalization as a result of a pneumonia vaccine injury, I decided to go with a straight forward headline, no mention of his most famous role. Why? Because vaccine injury is a real phenomenon that strikes and strikes down real people. Like the man, Lou Ferrigno, who happened to play The Hulk 30 years ago. Or my daughter Mia, who turns 24 years old today. When a child is injured, the media calls us parents morons looking to blame someone, something, anything. I am glad to see the reporting on this injury.

While fluid in the bicep is probably not life threatening, any American hospitalization costs significant time and money. And what better place to catch a disease, maybe even pneumonia. Makes me see…. green. (Yeah, I had to go there. 😉 )

AoA just doesn’t do humor well. Come to think of it, like all antivaxers they’re all too desperate to take any vaccine-related story and try to convince you that it means that vaccines cause autism.

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]

71 replies on “Did the pneumococcal vaccine lay Lou Ferrigno low?”

they can say this
‘While fluid in the bicep is probably not life threatening, any American hospitalization costs significant time and money. ‘
and not get that preventing vaccine preventable diseases is better than living through them, even if this was a reaction to the vaccine he spent a few hours in hospital, how long would he have spent there if he got the real thing?
they cant even get to the end of their own thoughts.

…because if you are hospitalized from a vaccine-preventable disease, clearly you were weak with a weak immune system because you didn’t buy any of their snake-oil untested “immune boosting” supplements they hawk. In other words, you deserved it for catching that infection. What a bunch of uncaring jerks.

A link to a classic Del-ism. Hard to believe he is one of the smartest guys in the antivaccine room.

Rather than labeling parents as hypochondriacs for seeking medical care when kids are sick with rotavirus perhaps Del should consider why rotavirus is deadly in low income countries but not places like the US and Canada. It’s access to rehydration, stupid!

Prior to a vaccine a bad rotavirus season could clog a hospital with kids needing rehydration. Now, thanks to the vaccine, hundreds of thousands of kids avoid both the disease AND hospitalization (https://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/infectious-diseases-conditions/rotavirus-vaccines-continue-reduce-diarrhea-hospitalizations-us-kids)…

Moose

Bigtree is a horse’s arse and obviously doesn’t have children. Or if he does, is not a caregiver. As for the topic on hand, Ferrigno is a big boy and a mild adverse reaction is just that. Keep your panties on anti-vaxxers as the bigger concern here is…

Did he morph into the Hulk?

“For example, measles is “mild,” even though over 20% or more were hospitalized in the past outbreaks.”

Citation needed (but realize one won’t be forthcoming).

To be honest, I thought Lou Ferringo died years ago. Then I looked it up – turned out I was thinking of Bill Bixby.

Anyway – a temporary adverse reaction (we all know they happen) is better than spending a fortnight in hospital with pneumonia, as I did, or, obviously, much much worse.

He is on an ED trolley, with a set of blood culture bottles and basic blood tubes next to him. My guess would be he has a mild infection, and received a starter of IV antibiotics before discharging him on oral antibiotics

Sounds like Lou has a healthy sense of self-deprecation, and was playing up the infection for comic effect. “I am really such a wuss that after a little prick I had to go to hospital!”

The picture says it’s probably not his right am as it has the BP cuff (around his bicep, systolic pressure slightly high) and capped IV. His L arm is slightly flexed, presumably this is the arm. His gown covers the area of interest. Presumably as a body builder he knows the difference between bicep and tricep for where the “fluid” is (tricep, however, would be more likely site for fluid since as you note bicep is not where a vaccine should be given whereas the tricep is close to the deltoid where it should be given). Anyhow, that next Twitter post shows him still with 2 arms using both with little or no limitation so the universe continues to rotate and the benefits of vaccinating continue to far outweigh the risks. Also he might have been hospitalized as a precaution given his age and celebrity status (who wants to be the ER that sent home The Hulk and had him come back later really sick?).

I do find this ER picture medically bothersome for 2 reasons. First, a side rail is down (fall risk esp if he can’t use that left arm well). Second, you shouldn’t ever leave all those full vials and culture bottles bedside as shown. If Ferrigno moves his right arm at all he’ll send those bottles (perched right next to his arm near the edge) to break on the ground. I’m hoping the picture taker is the person who drew the labs and they stepped away from their work to snap the picture and then quickly came back bedside to collect their bottles.

I didnt see the picture, but from what you describe there was an orgy of evidence he was in a hospital. Sounds like a Hollywood set design thing to me.

I’m going to respectfully disagree on the issue of the siderails, Christopher.

Siderails are a restraint. Federal law requires the least minimal restraint to protect the patient. Leaving one side rail down actually does protect the patient from falls . . . from trying to climb over the side rails. If the stretcher is in the lowest position with the wheels locked, then that is actually best practice. It’s hard to tell if the bed is in the lowest position but I think it may be.

Like you I’m thinking the nurse took the picture for Mr. Ferrigno at his request. I’m thinking the nurse took some of the blood for the culture with the IV stick (I’m hoping two sites were used to collect the blood cultures).

This whole situation screams incorrect technique was used to administer the vaccine. I see a lot of people “eyeball” where to give the injection instead of palpating for the anatomical landmarks. Or, they wipe the injection site with alcohol and then wave a hand over the site to make the alcohol dry faster . . . undoing the whole point of the wipe in the first place.

The comment about watching the provider removing the needle from the package is curious. Makes me think who ever gave the injection had a bunch of doses predrawn, which is not good practice because it raises the risk of contamination of the needle hub.

But it’s really hard to say how this happened. It should be a wake up call to nurses, pharmacists, and others who administer vaccinations to focus on using good technique.

I have to agree, no side-rails would be better, I’ve seen patients go over the top of side-rails dislocating shoulders and falling from an even greater height than if no rails were used.

I hate seeing pre-drawn meds, its terrible practice, it means in many cases a re-capped needle. Though here all our flu and pneumonia vaccines come in single dose pre-drawn syringes, I’ve not drawn a vaccine in years.

It seems reasonable to use alcohol swabs prior to vaccination but there is no evidence that it prevents infection and some evidence that it makes no difference. There is some evidence that,if the skin is obviously contaminated, washing the skin with soap and water is better than using alcohol swabs. Also, if either are used, the skin should be allowed to dry before administering the vaccine in order to prevent inactivation of the vaccine.

The stretcher does look low. I will admit I’m sensitized to side rails d/t having elderly relatives take tumbles while inpatient d/t rails not up.

Yup, I’m with Panacea on the incorrect technique thing: I have seen a number of our professional colleagues get a bit slapdash about IM or sub-cutaneous injections over the years.

Hi, VOR,

Let me clarify what I was saying. One side rail is actually best practice. It gives the patient a sense of stability and safey, while allowing them out of the bed if necessary.

With the big hospital beds, there are usually four side rails: two upper, two lower. With an alert and oriented patient, one of the uppers alone is usually raised, sometimes both uppers if the rails are to be used to allow the patient something to grab onto to pull themselves up in bed. Even if the patient is confused, one of the lower siderails is always left down. If all four are used, it is a restraint, you must have a doctor’s order, the doctor must see the patient within 24 hours, and the patient must be rounded on every 15 minutes (and documented).

In a situation like that it’s safer to just get a sitter or use a telemonitor. That’s why bed exits and chair exits were developed. They warn the nurses when the patient is trying to get up without assistance so we can respond and help them, and prevent a fall.

Ack. Should have read the whole thread before replying. Sorry.

Hi, Christopher

Falls are never events. No patient should ever fall. That’s why nurses are supposed to use the Morse Fall Scale to rate risk, and implement measures to prevent falls other than restraints like side rails or Posey vests (which I never see used anymore thank goodness–the things are dangerous). New hospital beds now are manufactured with built in bed exits. Pads that can go in older style beds and chairs are widely available and always should be used. When an alarm goes off, all hands should go running, not walking, to the room to redirect the patient and prevent a fall. This is one of my soapbox issues with my students; I insist they answer call bells and respond to bed exit alarms regardless of whose patient it is. It sends a good message.

I like the new telemonitors that are becoming more widespread: basically webcams on rolling stands that any staff member (regardless of rank) can put in a room if they think a patient is at risk for a fall. Monitor techs watch the patient and will speak to them to remind them to stay in bed, and alert staff on the floor if the patient tries to get up anyway.

I’m the poster child of why using all side rails is a bad idea. When I was 21, I had eye surgery in the hospital. After surgery, I woke up needing to use the bath room. All four side rails were up. Instead of using the call bell that was right there within easy reach, I climbed over the side rails, grabbed the IV pole, went to the bathroom, got up, went back, prayed to the porcelin goddess, got up, grabbed the IV pole, went back to bed, climbed back over the side rails and went back to sleep. I remember this vividly, oddly enough. It’s a miracle I didn’t break my neck, and it’s why I’m a firm believer in not relying on siderails to keep my patient in bed.

Orac writes,

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a “vaccine injury” story quite like this one, and I almost didn’t bother to take it on because there’s so little information provided that it’s hard to say much.

MJD says,

Let us remember, and freely talk about, the continuous progress in medical science. Mr. Lou Ferrigno’s hospital room articles, and most importantly, the pneumococcal vaccine(s) packaging likely adhere to FDA guidelines with the statement, “Not manufactured with natural rubber latex.” Because of these newly implemented safety procedures, it is safe to say that Mr. Ferrigno DID NOT have an adverse allergic reaction to said latex.

If he had a venous puncture in his tricep, could that lead to an infection in his bicep? Like cellulitis below the injection site?

Not unless bacteria were introduced into the injection site to cause an infection or inflammation. However, injury to a blood vessel can cause a hematoma; a collection of blood. That could be the fluid Mr. Ferrigno is referring to.

If he had cellulitis, it would be red and warm at the injection site and he might have a low grade fever. Of course, a low grade fever is common after vaccination. Since we don’t get a good look at the injection site, it’s hard to say what the ER docs were thinking, but I can’t blame them for an abundance of caution.

” Twitter is a cesspool of antivaccine pseudoscience”

AoA’s twitter is tweeted by a twit which overlaps with her own feed ( @ KimRossi1111): she thinks that she’s funny, smart ( she did great in biology she tells us), a writer and metaphorical warrior ( black belt karate/ antivax mom) in her own variation upon MeToo. It seems that she’s teaching young kids karate in a local dojo and teaches a similar course for teens and adults in local adult education as well as running AoA/ its charity Autism Age

Celebrities? I was pleased to read recently that Gal Gadot supports vaccination. Although I am not usually a fan of superhero films, how can I not like Gal Gadot? ( Keeping Up with the Joneses) who was actually a warrior ( Israeli Army). I wonder if anyone is harassing her on twitter?

More anti-vax fear mongering:
I just found this on Mercola’s site: a NY state senator, Jose Peralta, a FLU VACCINE advocate, dies of sepsis.
Mercola tries to make readers think that the two are somehow linked.

So vaccines lead to ER visits or DEATH!

I thought of something else. Lou Ferrigno make actually not know how to spell triceps.
He’s hearing impaired and avoids speaking. If you watch Pumping Iron at the time he was the major competition for Das Govenator and Schwarzenegger does everything he can to intimidate Ferrigno and you can see it works. His father followed him around and did most of the talking–I assume he’s gone now. Lou relied mostly on lipreading.

He’s benefited a lot from technology though and has had speech therapy and even gives inspirational talks.

It could also be a typo, or an autocorrect error (like “make” in your second sentence).

I just tried putting “riceps” into Evernote. It was flagged as an error and “biceps” was the first suggested correction, with “triceps” fifth, after prices, ricers, and rices.

The real irony is Mr. Ferrigno’s acting career involves a lot of vocal work . . . as the voice of the Hulk.

I met him at a Gen Con a number of years ago. He’s a really nice guy, and he was good with the fans. Apparently he really likes the convention scene.

If you watch Pumping Iron

Ah! The name wasn’t coming to this morning, but I’m glad you reminded me. It’s right up there with Can’t Stop the Music.

I once had massive bruising when a newbie nurse managed to give me my flu shot almost a full inch forward of the correct spot. I’m sure anti-vaxxers would claim the issue was the vaccine.

No doubt.

I’ve had the same thing happen to me. It really made me focus on correct technique when I started teaching.

It was very poor technique. I could eyeball the spot and tell that it was off, and I’m not even a medical professional. Thankfully, the bruising was the only harm done, but my mom, an actual nurse, did call up the clinic and let them know the nurse needed remedial training. She was very polite, but very firm.

Yes, it’s sad to have to do that. Your mom did the right thing and I’m glad she did. I’m sorry that happened to you.

I did something similar last summer after I had surgery. My blood pressure tanked, and my urine output got very small and dark. My nurse was fixated on my use of the PCA pump as the cause of the problem, and couldn’t seem to think about what needed to be done to correct the situation I was in at the moment. It was frightening to have to guide the nurse (who wasn’t working her usual job assignment) through what she needed to do next. I said something to the manager the next day, but I asked for the same thing: remediation. More training.

Lou Tweeted: “I’ll be ok but it’s important that you keep an eye on who’s giving the shot and make sure they not only swab the spot correctly but that you watch the needle come out of the package.” He wouldn’t say any of those things on his own, so he’s reporting what a Dr. told him. Swabbing the injection spot and getting a fresh needle out of a package are issues of sterilization. So the doc must have concluded that whatever Lou’s problem was, it was caused by some sterilization mistake by the tech who gave the injection. Two possibilities are mentioned, no doubt, because the doc couldn’t say whether the problem was unclean skin, or an unclean needle. John McCormick notes the blood test stuff on the table next to Lou, guesses the tests showed a mild infection, and Lou received a starter of IV antibiotics before being with an Rx for oral antibiotics. Which fits with Lou writing “I’ll be ok.”

What’s funny is that the anti-vaxers clearly understand this all to be the case, and insist the doctor who treated Lou was part of the Great Insidious Conspiracy, “It wasn’t the needle, it was the poison in the needle.” And then assert whatever medical treatment he received will not fix him up right, that he WON’T be ok. “Detox as soon as you can”! “Stay away from vaccines and medical doctors and you’ll stay healthy!!” Of course, none of these folks will change their tune if Lou remains free of any horrible condition they can trace to that vaccination. There is, after all, always tomorrow for the scurrilous maiming and/or killing to show up.

I used to comfort myself that hardcore anti-vax is a fairly small fringe subculture, with whatever influence it once had clearly on the wane since the Disneyland outbreak. But now, looking at those Tweets, I think of anti-vax as more of a canary in the coal mine predicting the explosion of denialism in all sorts of arenas, especially, of course, Trump-era politics…

@ sadmar:

I tend to agree with your last paragraph: I imagine that it’s more than a fringe- it’s a wide margin surrounding the healthy tissu.. uh.. reality-based portion of the population. Let’s say, 10% ( why not? I just quoted a survey that had 11% ) of adults fear vaccines without there being any real evidence on which to base that belief; then there are other bizarre ideas that don’t exactly overlap ( see NN or PRN for a sampling) PLUS 35% think Trump a righteous dude/ 40% + voted for him. Then also, alt righties, neo-Nazis, Scientologists, 9/11ers, Survivalists, YECs, Supply siders, people who think Jordan Peterson a deep thinker.

An abnormal psych prof- in the 1980s- once added up estimates of people experiencing various mental/ developmental/ addiction/ personality problems and came to more than 25% of adults having problems “dealing with reality”.

I hope he was wrong but sometimes when I’m in a traffic snarl on the highway, I notice that people around me are having difficulty adjusting to a 10 minute wait, or a light. It’s slightly better where you live but not much.

and came to more than 25% of adults having problems “dealing with reality”.

Considering the reality we live in, I am more likely to distrust adults who don’t have any problems dealing with reality, to be honest.

JP, I was being flip.

Actually, despite having “a dx”, you are quite in touch with reality: as you are
– a sceptic
– aware of political/ social/ financial realities, though dismal they be
– working on things
– not an anti-vaxxer, woo-doer etc.
– a fine caretaker of cats
– you will never write for AoA, NN or PRN
– and I don’t think that you’d freak out because traffic takes longer than you’d prefer

I figured you were being flip; I was being wry.

Annoyance in traffic seems to be almost universal though, especially if you aren’t used to it.

Re: working on things: oh… it occurred to me that maybe you meant emotionally, haha. But I did just get a nice little academic editing job that’ll be a chunk of change (also got an advance.) And I’m applying for a position at the University of Chicago Press as soon as I quit fussing over the cover letter.

Consensus reality isn’t all it’s cracked up to be anyway, though; and it’s interesting who gets to decide what it is and isn’t. I definitely go traipsing around outside of it from time to time.

I just remembered an interaction with my advisor; we were walking down the hallway and I was talking about some awful thing or the other, and he said, “I beg to differ.” I was like, “What? You can’t beg to differ with reality.” And he said, “Have you ever heard of this thing called art?”

as soon as I quit fussing over the cover letter

I’ve screwed myself over numerous times* with this routine. Just bang it out and hope for the best.

*Yes, I have used footnotes in cover letters. It’s a crapshoot, but if they can’t handle that, they probably couldn’t handle me in the first place.

JP

as soon as I quit fussing over the cover letter

Do you want to suit yourself, themselves or strike the middle ground?

Echoing Narad, bang the letter but have it reviewed by a moderately [email protected] retentive person before handing it in.

Alain

JP, if you’re looking for general advice on a cover letter I’ll strongly recommend Ask A Manager (askamanager.org). She’s got a free e-book on applying for jobs and cover letters and whatnot and I’ve found it pretty helpful.

And there’s a high-quality hard-core commentariat that I really appreciate. They’re almost as good as here/SBM.

How exactly did the Age of Autism article stretch the truth? Was this or was this not a case of vaccine injury? Vaccine injury can be caused by an adverse reaction to one or more ingredients, but it can also be the result of improper procedures while administering the vaccine. This is especially pertinent in the context of more and more vaccines being offered in settings like pharmacies and school and workplace clinics, with the frequency of SIRV increasing as a result.

“Vaccine injury” is not a medical term. It’s hyperbole used by the antivax crowd.

In medicine, we refer to side effects and adverse effects. No medication comes without the possibility of a side effect or adverse effect.

We don’t know what happened with Mr. Ferrigno. There is not enough information. Based on his comments in the news articles, he seems to think incorrect procedure or technique led to swelling (and probably pain) that brought him to the ER. It’s a likely scenario.

It’s equally possible that Mr. Ferrigno had a localized adverse reaction to the vaccine itself. Those are common, and typically self resolving.

The ER docs, though, didn’t take any chances and did an infection workup. That was a good idea, and likely informed by physical assessment findings we’re not privy to. Those findings could be caused by either an infection from improper technique or a localized reaction and sorting out which is which is difficult to determine. In the meantime, the patient still needs to be treated . . . and he was.

“‘Vaccine injury’ is not a medical term. It’s hyperbole used by the antivax crowd.”

Ah, that must be why they called it the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You are such a dweeb.

Check again, genius,

The title of the legislation was written by lawyers not doctors. Politicians often use unscientific but well meaning terminology in legislation and in policy decision making to reassure the public.

Vaccine injury is still not a medical term.

Well we don’t really know, but it appears that the injury was related to improper administration of the injection, not the vaccine. It could not have happened with the nasal vaccine, but it could have happened with a mistletoe injection.

Because a mild mechanical injury (which this appears to be) does not warrant the histrionics that AoA employed nor the tweets proclaiming “vaccines are poison” and avoid them at all costs. No one at AoA is a physician or scientist who have any knowledge of vaccines and none of the twits tweeting have any basis for issuing medical advice.

If this was poor injection technique (either wrong site/depth or not using proper infection control) causing the medical issues Ferrigno describes, then it is not a vaccine injury and it could have happened with any material injected.

Yes, absolutely.

And you know, we’ve talked about use of aseptic technique, and finding the correct injection site, but we have not talked about the equipment used. Mr. Ferrigno is a big guy, with large muscle mass. If the person giving the vaccine used a needle that was too short, the vaccine may have been injected into the SQ tissue and not the deep muscle mass.

A lot of providers use a 25g 1 inch needle for vaccines. Maybe even a 5/8′ long needle. That’s too short for someone like Mr. Ferrigno. He probably needed a 22g 1 1/2in to get to the deep muscle mass.

Injecting into the wrong tissue type could also be part of what happened here.

“Vaccine injury” as defined by antivaxers like the AoA crowd involves nonsense like “toxins” in the vaccines causing diseases or immunization “overwhelming the immune system”- not improper technique, as seems likely to have happened in Ferrigno’s case.

If a dentist used unsterilized instruments while removing/replacing an amalgam filling and the patient somehow developed fatal sepsis, I suppose the loony mercury fearmongers could claim that it was another case of mercury filling-poisoning. Or if someone chugged down 10 liters of diet soda at a sitting and died of fluid overload/electrolyte imbalance, anti-aspartame campaigners could argue it was the sweetener that did him in.

Equally dishonest.

As for “severe reactions and death” due to pneumococcal vaccine, here’s a list of famous people who died of pneumonia (not all of them due to pneumococcal infection, but many of them in all likelihood):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pneumonia_deaths

*one of those deaths, that of football coach George Allen has the status of urban legend. Allen supposedly developed fatal pneumonia after his team showered him with Gatorade following a key victory. The problem there is that 1) a cold shower doesn’t cause pneumonia, infectious agents do, 2) the team supposedly couldn’t afford Gatorade so he was doused with ice water instead, and 3) he didn’t die of pneumonia in any case – it was a heart rhythm abnormality.

“You uneducated potato” is my new go-to insult. PReviously it was “They’re the sort of person who should be required to carried around a potted plant to replace the oxygen they’re wasting” but that’s a little long.

@Terrie, I’m going to remember that one also, but DID the plague disappear? I was under the impression that it was still around in places.

Aboslutely still around. There are small number of cases in the US each year. With each one, there’s a momentary freakout over praire dogs (common resevoir species) and then people forgeet until the next one.

You will notice that Merck must print really awful things about its product. Why evil pharma conspiracy cannot prevent this ?

From the kinder, gentler side of the antivax movement – someone responding online to a comment I made about a review of the movie “Vaxxed” said the fofllowing:

“I’ll follow you and your lies until your death!!!”

Maybe it’s just vague homage to a Bob Dylan song*, but the level of unhingement is disturbing.

*Masters of War.

And there’s Trump saying he’s having trouble getting followers. Now you know why he says the things he says.

@JP:

Good luck with the job ( although I hate to say luck because it implies something beyond your own abilities/ efforts – attribution theory/ explanations of women’s success. But then again, much of what happens to us is indeed outside of our own control so I suppose I can use the term CAUTIOUSLY with explanation..)

Years ago, some US states made an attempt to attract people with graduate degrees as teachers so it may be possible to acquire a position without studying education: I know someone with MPA/ MBA who was courted this way- she only had to take a simple test which virtually everyone passed without study. I don’t know if that appeals to you but seriously: you can write, have studied literature, foreign languages. Russian might be offered in some locales ( ?) Maybe this might be for you when you’re older. Or for junior college. Perhaps something to think about. My friend, trained in Special Education/ Speech Correction, took a job in LA long ago, teaching ESL kids despite NOT knowing Spanish or Chinese- they needed teachers so badly, they dropped requirements.

Anyway, you’ll find something: editing is needed all over.

editing is needed all over

It is, but editorial jobs that provide a sustainable living are as rare as hen’s teeth.

I’ve been out of the job for a couple of decades now, so I have a question:

Are any jabs still given intradermally?

Current story making the Internet rounds involves a Detroit-area couple who say their triplets all became autistic within hours of pneumococcal vaccination.

Lou Ferrigno was lucky…

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