Good news pollen sufferers: The pollen season is actually winding down. The current count is in the hundreds each day and not up in the several thousands so we are past the peak of it. The pollen levels will continue to slowly taper off over the next week or two.
Prince Philip passed away last week at the age of 99 and his funeral service will be live-streamed today. Because of the Covid-19 and pandemic restrictions, only 30 people will attend in person. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for instance, will not be there. The service begins at 3 PM local time, live streaming at 10 AM in the Eastern Time Zone of the United States. The picture above is from Elizabeth and Philip’s wedding in 1947, click here to view the entire slide show via the New York Times.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is on pause and a decision has not been made about whether it will continue to be administered in the United States. The one dose vaccine was an important tool in reaching many rural communities where residents sometimes travel two hours one way just to get to a pharmacy. There are currently six women that we know of that have developed blood clots in veins inside the brain after receiving the J&J vaccine. It takes a week or two for those symptoms to present so officials are waiting to see if any other claims come forward in the next week or so. There was a man during the clinic trials last fall with a clot but that was the only instance during the trial phase so it was unclear and determined unlikely the vaccine had anything to do with it. That case is now being re-examined and we wait to see if will be others.
There was never an Astrazeneca vaccine administered in the United States. There were 25 million people in Europe that took Astrazeneca’s vaccine and of those 65 people developed blood clots. Of those 18 people died. If that was the only vaccine available, and had the potential to stop the spread of the virus, we would probably recommend continuing to be vaccinated mindful of the risk. But we have vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer which have never caused a blood clot that we are aware of. Those require two doses which creates something of a barrier to some people receiving them depending on geography. The halting of the J&J program will cause some to hesitate getting any vaccine but we should be encouraged that even with the low occurrence of side effects they are carefully examining all the evidence and may stop the J&J vaccination program altogether.
On a personal note I received my 2nd Pfizer dose yesterday and am fully vaccinated. (It will take a couple of weeks to reach full efficacy but I’m wearing my pin.) Those that are vaccinated will be protected even if the nation doesn’t reach herd immunity for now… but if the virus continues to spread among the unvaccinated population it will continue to mutate and variants the vaccines are not effective against may emerge. There may yet be a variant that is more deadly than the Covid 19 we’ve been witnessing for the past year and a half. I don’t talk politics on this blog and my encouraging vaccination is not politically motivated. It makes good sense.
Our daughter has a new puppy. The puppy is not in this picture, that’s me with our old dogs Spencer and Chewie. (Yes, I have a dog named Spencer.) They don’t want to play with the puppy. She pounces on them, punches them in the face with her big clumsy paws, and all they want to do is walk away. Their main defense mechanism is avoidance which they can’t do quickly enough. So they’ve been spending a lot more time close to me. Chewie in particular does not like to cuddle. He wants to be at my feet at all times but not picked up, hugged, snuggled or any other such thing. Spencer’s favorite activity is to putter around the house and grumble quietly to himself. These dogs are old men that mostly want to be fed and left alone. So the kid has a new puppy and I get more quality time with these two. Everybody wins.
I know, you want to see the puppy.
Luna is six months old and when she came to us had not been trained to do anything. She is very bright and has pretty much been house trained in one week. I can’t tell you what kind of dog she is. Her mother is a beagle. She looks like some kind of black and tan hound mix. She very seldom barks but when she does kind of bellows.
I guess that’s about it. Sorry about iMonk Radio folks, I realized on Friday but that day was kind of full. I have listened to podcast #131 and will have that posted next week. I may shoot for two episodes to make up the difference.