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COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effect Tracker

We’ve created the MedShadow Vaccine Tracker, the only tracker focused on side effects and adverse events of COVID-19 Vaccines in progress.

To Be One in a Million: ‘Who Thinks It’s Going to Be You?’

BEND, Ore. — Monica Melkonian wanted the Johnson & Johnson covid vaccine. It was only one shot and then she would be protected against the virus. So she was thrilled when the vaccination clinic at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center on April 7 had her first choice. But…

Q&A: What to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines for Kids and Teens

On May 10, 2021 Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine had been granted emergency-use authorization for kids ages 12 to 15. Since then, lower doses of the shot have been authorized for children aged 6-11. Many children have received the vaccinations, but a large population of children without the shots…

Our Readers Report Long COVID Symptoms

A few months into the pandemic, researchers learned that some patients—now dubbed “long-haulers”—were reporting that symptoms like shortness of breath, brain fog, diabetes and heart problems that persisted long after they’d tested negative for COVID-19. When COVID-19 first emerged, doctors identified it as a respiratory virus—one that primarily affects the…

Q&A: Antibodies to Prevent, Not Treat, COVID-19

None of the COVID-19 vaccinations guarantee immunocompromised people much protection from the disease, but now the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an antibody engineered to protect you from getting COVID-19.  Only 27% of transplant recipients, for example, who are severely immunocompromised,  mounted a sufficient antibody response after two…

So You Test Positive for COVID-19, Now What?

When the pandemic first broke out in 2020, every COVID-19 treatment was experimental. Researchers tested existing drugs, like the antiparasitic Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) or the anti-inflammatory Ozurdex, Maxidex or others (dexamethasone), that they hoped could fight the virus or dampen damaging inflammation. Other medical personnel tried antidepressants on patients.   Now, two…

What to Know About the New COVID-19 Antivirals

Two recently authorized antiviral drugs designed to protect against the most severe outcomes of COVID-19 may be game-changers during the ongoing pandemic. Those benefits may come at a cost, however. It’s crucial that you and your healthcare providers understand these drugs’ potential side effects, so you use them as safely…

COVID-19 Vaccine: Your Questions Answered

The FDA has now authorized three COVID-19 vaccines. Both of the first two authorized vaccines rely on an immunity-building strategy that hasn’t been used in any other vaccine. As many of us start rolling up our sleeves to get a shot, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions….

COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids: Should I Be Worried About Myocarditis?

As more of the teenage population gets vaccinated against COVID-19, reports of myocarditis—a type of heart inflammation that can cause symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath—have emerged. Pfizer recently reported that at an adjusted dose (⅓ of that given to adults) of its vaccine was 91% effective in…

Pregnant or Worried About Infertility? Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

As the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 surges across the U.S., almost 1 in 5 Americans continue to resist getting shots that are widely available, safe and effective – particularly for preventing the most severe outcomes of the virus. While people have many different justifications for not getting the shot, one…

Beating Long Haulers Syndrome: Light at the End of a Long Haul

Beating Long Haulers Syndrome is a book for anyone who has lingering symptoms of COVID-19 or knows someone who has them. Written by journalist Michael Bowker, it’s an affirmation of the reality and potential life-changing properties of long haulers syndrome. 

Unverified Reports of Vaccine Side Effects in VAERS Aren’t the Smoking Guns Portrayed by Right-Wing Media Outlets – They Can Offer Insight Into Vaccine Hesitancy

Chances are you may not be not familiar with the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS. Co-managed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration, VAERS was established in 1990 to detect possible safety problems with vaccines. Unfortunately, the anti-vaccine movement has…

A Break From Breathlessness: How Singing Helped Me Through Long Covid

Listen to this story: (If you can’t see the audio player, click here to listen on SoundCloud.) Singing was the only time I felt in control of my lungs and, paradoxically, able to forget about them. It was October and my shortness of breath had worsened after weeks of teasing…

An Anti-Vaccine Film Targeted to Black Americans Spreads False Information

When a filmmaker asked medical historian Naomi Rogers to appear in a documentary, the Yale professor didn’t blink. She had done these “talking head” interviews many times before. She assumed her comments would end up in a straightforward documentary that addressed some of the most pressing concerns of the pandemic, such…

Why I Changed My Mind About Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

As recently as last fall, I was dead set against getting the COVID-19 vaccine. I thought the trials were rushed, the science too new and the chance that I would be harmed if I got COVID-19, small. I emphasized my stance in the blog 6 Factors to Consider About a…

Our Readers Report Their Side Effects to the COVID-19 Vaccine

MedShadow was the first to launch its COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effect Tracker, even before any COVID-19 vaccines were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Its goal is to report on the adverse effects in clinical trials, help our readers make informed decisions and know what to expect when…

Mysterious Ailment, Mysterious Relief: Vaccines Help Some Covid Long Haulers

An estimated 10% to 30% of people who get covid-19 suffer from lingering symptoms of the disease, or what’s known as “long covid.” Judy Dodd, who lives in New York City, is one of them. She spent nearly a year plagued by headaches, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and problems with her sense of…

About Blood Clots and the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine

Earlier this week, the United States paused the use of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine to investigate six cases of blood clots, one fatal, that occurred in women within two weeks of receiving the shot. MedShadow reported this in our vaccine side effect tracker article.  In a rush to…

Arm Pain After COVID-19 Vaccine Is Common

March 4 update: Allergy researchers at Mass General Hospital created a registry for healthcare professionals to report  immediate and delayed reactions to COVID-19 vaccinations. On March 3, the researchers published a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine describing a series of 12 delayed injection site reactions including swelling…

Is Your Covid Vaccine Venue Prepared to Handle Rare Anaphylaxis?

Editor’s Note: Since this article was originally published on KHN.org, the CDC has updated guidelines to indicate that trained personnel qualified to recognize and treat symptoms of anaphylaxis should be available at COVID vaccine distribution locations at all times. As the rollout of covid-19 vaccines picks up across the U.S.,…

One Shot or Two? What Delays Between Each COVID-19 Dose Mean

Editor’s Note: A new study from Israel added showed that the Pfizer vaccine is 85% effective two weeks after the first dose. Stay tuned for news on the COVID-19 vaccine, because recently the latest on its availability has led to updated guidelines of how long patients can safely wait between…

Tracking Patients of the COVID-19 Vaccine Needs to Happen

Within the next year, millions of people will receive one of three, or more, new COVID-19 vaccines. Two of them will likely be mRNA-based vaccines, never before approved for human vaccine use. With technology that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed, we could track COVID-19 vaccine…

Thanksgiving Plans – Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Here at MedShadow, we pride ourselves on giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about your health to balance the risks and benefits of illnesses, medicines, alternative treatments, and lifestyle. The convergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Thanksgiving holiday gives us the rare opportunity to provide…

Un-Sheltering Tips for Your Health and Immune System

As we all emerge from our bubbles of limited contact with others, we are walking straight into the double whammy of flu season and COVID-19 germs. Can your body fight off exposure to the flu and COVID? Your immune system feeds off the basics of life — sleep, movement, food…

Family Gatherings During COVID

In early August, my husband and I had 17 people from five different states stay at our home for our annual week-long family gathering. The prospect of my family, especially my husband’s 97-year old mother, gathering during COVID under one roof for a week scared the hell out of me. …

COVID-19 Vaccine and Bariatric Surgery for Hypertension

Happy Monday. We’re hoping that your week is off to a good start. We’re pleased to have good news to report this week. First, Phase I and II trials of a COVID-19 vaccine show promising results. Also, patients who are mildly obese and taking hypertension medications may benefit from bariatric…

COVID-19 and Babies, New COVID Meds, and Chloroquine

Much has come out regarding COVID-19 (shocker), so we’ve put together a special COVID-only news roundup to keep you up to date. Most of it — mainly, the part about COVID potentially affecting babies and how chloroquine is really not a safe bet — is bleak. But, we end with…

Heartburn Medication May Increase Your Risk of Contracting COVID-19

Are you taking heartburn medication like Prilosec, Prevacid, and Nexium? You may want to think twice as new evidence suggests that taking those drugs, known as proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs), can increase one’s odds of getting COVID-19. The new research, published in pre-print form in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, was…

Everything You Need to Know About Life After Quarantine

The world changed in March 2020, when the country — and the planet — shut down to help slow the spread of COVID-19. For most of us, the pandemic signaled the first time we were asked to shelter in place, maintain our distance from our friends and neighbors, forgo handshakes…

Dangerous Hand Sanitizer and Twitter to Inform Doctors

Good morning, and welcome to the start of another week. It turns out that Twitter may be useful beyond giving purpose to internet trolls. Also, you may want to put down your phone for a minute and check to see which hand sanitizer you have — because some are now…

Positive Drug Trials Point to a COVID-19 Vaccine on the Horizon

We’re officially closer to finding a new COVID-19 vaccine. In the last two weeks, pharmaceutical companies Moderna and AstraZeneca released promising data on their vaccines — respectively named mRNA-1273 and AZD1222. There’s still more testing to be done, but we’re getting closer to finding a heavily vetted vaccine that may…

Another Study Claims Hydroxychloroquine Can Fight COVID-19

A new study is claiming that a cocktail of the mineral zinc, the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, and the antibiotic azithromycin lead to fewer hospitalizations and deaths in patients with COVID-19.  Of 518 COVID-19 patients who were not hospitalized, 2.8% of those who were treated with the combination therapy were hospitalized…

6 Factors to Consider About a COVID-19 Vaccine

Today the House Oversight Committee will hold a briefing on the FDA’s process for approving a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. The Chair of the Oversight Committee, Carolyn Maloney, asked me to speak to the staff organizing the speakers and questions. As a a member of the FDA’s Drug Safety…

Remdesivir Linked to Liver Toxicity and More Metformin Recalls

Good morning, all. We hope you’re hanging tough and that your week is off to a splendid start. As for the news cycle — things could be better. A new study on a medication used to treat COVID-19 contradicts its efficacy, and another pharmaceutical company recalled a batch of Metformin….

Why ‘Warp Speed’ COVID-19 Vaccine Development Could Backfire

We need a vaccine and we need it fast. In May, President Trump announced Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership that aims to deliver 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021. This sounds like a great plan, but rapidly testing and approving vaccines without having a complete…

Significant Side Effects Seen in Early Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine

There’s a COVID-19 vaccine on the way — or so the Wednesday headlines, which heralded positive results from Pfizer and BioNTech’s early-stage trial of a vaccine for COVID-19, would lead you to believe. A closer look at the data, and the adverse effects, however, reveals that it’s probably too early…

A Closer Look at the Steroid Dexamethasone for COVID-19

Dexamethasone, a cheap steroid medication that has been around for decades, was shown in a new, large trial to reduce deaths in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. This news is exciting and promising, yet the risks and side effects associated with this drug haven’t been widely discussed, and so to say…

Why The FDA Withdrew Emergency Use Status for Hydroxychloroquine

A major study that showed hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 was dangerous was revoked, leading many to believe that it is in fact effective. Sorry to confuse you, but that’s not the case.  Just because the study was retracted doesn’t necessarily mean its findings are incorrect; it means that the data to…

COVID-19 Fatigue

It seems every time we learn something about COVID-19, it is contradicted within days. The most recent about-face still has me spinning: We were first told that COVID-19 germs spread to other people before symptoms appear, called “asymptomatic shedding,” and it was estimated to happen for up to two weeks before symptoms appeared.

Has COVID-19 Put the Country’s Drug Supply at Risk?

Even before the COVID-19 epidemic hit, FDA inspections of drug manufacturing facilities – especially those located outside the United States, including India and China – were lax at best. The main problem? Too many facilities to inspect and not enough inspectors.

Can Convalescent Plasma Treat COVID-19 Patients?

One of the most promising treatments for COVID-19 is convalescent plasma, a component of blood. People who have been infected with the virus and are now healthy have developed COVID-19-fighting antibodies, which, the theory is, can be given to people currently sick with COVID-19 so that those antibodies can boost…

My COVID-19 Antibody Test Left Me With More Questions

You may have heard about COVID-19 antibody testing, which can determine if you might have been infected with the novel coronavirus. I was intrigued as well by this testing, even though I never had a nasal swab (PCR) test, which would determine if I had the virus at the time…

The Vitamins and Minerals to Boost Your Immune System

As we re-enter the world after months of self-isolating, is there going to be another spike in COVID-19 infections? Perhaps. However, as you increase your contact with more people, having a strong immune system is a key part of keeping healthy. To boost your immune system, make sure you are getting…

Testing Estrogen on Men with COVID-19

Will turning men into women save their lives? Of course, I am speaking facetiously. Doctors on the front line have noticed that women seem to survive COVID-19 better than men. A new report estimates that twice as many women survive as men. This has generated a debate among scientists: What…

OTC Heartburn Drug Eyed for COVID-19

Many people turn to the over-the-counter drug Pepcid (famotidine) after they’ve eaten spicy food, and a new trial is testing whether the heartburn medication may also fight COVID-19. Pepcid belongs to a group of drugs known as H2 blockers. Other medications in this category include Tagamet (cimetidine) and Zantac (ranitidine)….

Remdesivir Hopes Buoyed By Results From Two Trials

Dr Fauci announced the positive preliminary results of a study of remdesivir coming from the department he heads, NIAID. The same day, the manufacturers of redesivir also released positive news from a low quality study.

The First COVID-19 Treatment Could Come From Japan

While much of the focus for potential COVID-19 treatments has been on drugs that were either created or under development in the United States, one drug, Avigan (favipiravir), which was developed in Japan, is drawing attention.

Another Cancer Drug Seen As Potential COVID-19 Treatment

In the effort to find a treatment for COVID-19, existing medications for cancer might seem like unlikely candidates to fight a virus are being tested. Yet scientists have a theory that Calquence (acalbrutinib), which is approved to treat leukemia and lymphoma might be effective. 

How Much Optimism Should We Have About Remdesivir for COVID-19?

Big news this week about the first research on remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19. Remdesivir is an antiviral medication initially developed years ago by Gilead Sciences as a potential treatment for ebola. Remdesivir ultimately failed as a treatment for Ebola. Not a good study Remdesivir received a lot of…

Three Top Doctor’s Opinions On Coronavirus Clinical Trials

Three doctors share some words of advice, as well as their own perspective on the novel coronavirus pandemic. Hana Akselrod, MD MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the infectious diseases division at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences “My first advice is do not panic….

Episode 15: The Importance of Diversity in Clinical Trials

This week, Su Robotti, Founder of MedShadow Foundation, and Jonathan Block, Content Manager, talk about the importance of ensuring that clinical trials for medicines are conducted with a diverse population. Did you know that African-Americans need a higher dose of warfarin than other groups do? That’s what makes this kind…