Monique writes:

Love the show! 

Invaluable information and scientific data review feeds my rational scientific mind to combat all the other noise out there.

I am a 55 year old Canadian female. I took the first shot offered which was AZ. I determined it would get our numbers down, help the pipeline for younger people to get Pfizer my three daughters (19, 21 and 23). Now the amount of AZ is limited and some provinces are stopping the use of AZ. The debate now relates to which vaccine people whose first shot was AZ should get as their second shot. In British Columbia where I live, we apparently will have the choice of AZ or Pfizer. Any advice on which one people in my situation should pick?

BTW – I had all the side effects possible with AZ – headache, chills, fever, nausea and vomiting. Survived and a small price to pay to get this virus in control.  I have seen the research that 

side effects are greater with a different second vaccine. 

Pfizer and Moderna have increased side effects with the second shot. 

AZ has less side effects with the second shot.

Thanks in advance for your guidance!


All the best,

Mary writes:

Hi to all at TWIV,

Greetings from Ireland on a typical summer’s day.. cloudy with a chance of rain and sun. Thanks so much to you all for your amazing work. My mother in law, who is highly religious (Catholic faith), is refusing to take any vaccine as she has been told that aborted foetuses have been used during vaccine development. I would be very grateful if you could advise us on what to say to her.



Hilary writes:

Listening to TWIV 757 this morning (clear and sunny and about 50 degrees), I was amused to hear the author of your featured paper refer proudly to actionable results – results that might really be actionable in the old-and-still-primary meaning of the word. 

The idea if I understood it properly was that some people are shedding a whole lot more SARS-CoV-2 than others, so if you could catch them and stuff them into quarantine, you could have a huge effect on the spread of COVID-19 while more or less ignoring the ones who weren’t as generous with the virus. So you’d be discriminating among people and constraining some more than others, and some would be bound to object or try to evade the restrictions… and wind up in court as a result.

And that is precisely what “actionable” asserts: the action in question is legal action. I know language does change, and that more and more people do use the word to mean “something we’re glad to be able to do something with or about” – but in 20 years as a freelance editor, I never had an author object to finding other words for the concept when I pointed out the snicker factor. Why boast “this will get us sued”?

With viruses, I’m a total innocent and believe everything you all say, but with words….

Soren writes:

Hello TWIV folks,

When the immune system is exposed to a new antigen it produces new antibodies. Those antibodies are proteins. Where is the template for producing those proteins? I don’t think the immune system can create new DNA sequences for antibodies. Even if they do, I assume the immune system doesn’t insert those sequences into the genome. It seems like the body has another way to “remember” and produce antibody proteins and I can’t even begin to guess how that happens.

Suellen writes:

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that the non-virus arcs and digressions are some of my favourite moments on TWIV and your other podcasts. I think those of us who enjoy those moments, such as the recent one labeled the “panhandle” discussion, just don’t write in to say how much we like them. So you are hearing only one side — the cranky pants out there who want their virology neat in a glass, not shaken or stirred.

I think I’ve said before that so much of what makes the TWIX podcasts so very enjoyable is the fact that you share all kinds of personal information with your listeners. I know about Vincent’s garden — and Rich’s, too! — Michele’s love of Michigan football, Elio’s obsession with mushrooms, Dickson’s fishing expeditions, and I enjoy all of those digressions. I’m especially tickled when you all get totally geeked out by something, like the time you all spent several minutes using a New York Times link to figure out how far down the line to get a vaccine each of you would be. 

So please don’t take it to heart when people write in to complain. There are plenty of us out here who love the weather reports and the digressions. We just don’t bother to write in about it because we can’t imagine that anyone else out there isn’t enjoying them as much as we are.