Annette writes:

I am fairly new to your show, I’m not a doctor or a biologist. I find your podcasts fascinating and informative.  Keep up the great work! Quick question on the J&J vaccine. Do you think that one shot of J&J, followed by an RNA Pfizer booster,  8 months apart, is sufficient protection from COVID? By protection I mean reduced risk of hospitalization and death.

The data studies seem more focused on RNA shots (2 vs 3). I am 56 years young, female and do not have increased risk for severe disease. I’m sure there are some people with a similar jab history but different age etc… that would also like to know if the one booster of and MRNA is enough?


Chris writes:

Dear Vincent et al – 

I’m a psychiatrist and ersatz epidemiological co-thinker chugging along out here.  I’ve been relying on your excellent discussions and knowledge, supplemented by access to even more hardworking researchers, since the pandemic began.  I’m deeply grateful!

As a father of three with my youngest nearly 4yo, I’ve been waiting eagerly for Pfizer’s word on the 2-<5yo vaccination.  I was crushed to hear of the delay to study a third shot.  My question is, if the first two shots were safe and they are simply trying to get similar Ab responses to bigger kids/adults with the third shot, why not approve 2-<5 yo kids starting their series now, with dosing and boosting tweaks applied as the studies yield more data? Maybe even three shots won’t be as effective a vaccine for these little kids, but I’m guessing it does something worthwhile just the same.



Kara writes:

Hello TWiVers,

After listening to Paul Offit say that he isn’t sure we will see an increased infection rate among fully vaccinated (2 dose) individuals with the Omicron variant, I wanted to share the data from the Science table here in Ontario, Canada with you.

The continued protection against severe illness (i.e. hospitalization and ICU admissions) is reassuring, however a couple of days ago protection against infection was down to a reduction of 70% for the fully vaccinated and today we are at 45%. Appointments for third doses have now been made available for everyone 18+ who is at least 3 months out from their second dose (however many will have to wait a month or two for an available slot). We are being told that even with the continued protection against hospitalization and ICU admissions with 2 doses, the sheer number of infections has the potential to overwhelm our healthcare system over the coming weeks. Any thoughts on this?

I have loved listening to you guys over the past couple of years (even though it’s like you’re speaking a different language much of the time… Still so interesting). Thank you for all that you do!


Jill writes:


I discovered your podcast a couple of months ago and absolutely love it! Thank you for sharing such valuable and interesting information. In twiv #844, there was a lot of discussion about severe COVID vs. mild/moderate COVID, with the assumption being that the latter shouldn’t be of great concern to us (it’s severe illness and death that we want to prevent). Do we know, with great certainty, that moderate infection has no long term consequences, though? I’m a 49 year old female in excellent health, but given that this is a new virus, my concern has been unknown consequences of a moderate infection. Is this concern justified?



Jen writes:

Greetings TWiV Team,

It is sunny and 64F/18C here in the beautiful Southwest US.  I am often out mountain biking in the desert when listening to TWiV and I always report my weather out loud to the cactus and coyote as the podcast starts. I have listened to every episode at least once since late March 2020. You have even read my cousin’s email from Finland (she had commented on manual transmissions, cars not viruses)! 

First my question (hopefully for Brianne): On a few of the recent episodes, the concept of breadth of antibody response has been mentioned. At one point, someone said that the vaccine would provide breadth of antibody response.  I am confused as I thought infection/exposure to the entire virus would provide better breadth, meaning antibodies to multiple different proteins and epitopes (Spike, nucleocapsid, RBD) and the vaccines would be just a single epitope (or at least only multiple epitopes on a single protein, Spike). I understand the vaccine provides better protection from serious disease, hospitalization and death but not from a broad response, correct? Can you clarify?

TWiV has been a valuable resource for me over year+ of this pandemic and I cannot thank you enough.  I am a first generation college graduate and work in the life science industry.  I am no longer at the bench but my first job was in an Immuno lab at Scripps. I worked on T Cell memory in the “early days” of memory, before finally going out into the “field” to help other researchers with flow cytometry and immunoassay focused applications. As a first generation college graduate, I struggle to maintain relationships with certain, less educated members of my family that have fallen down the rabbit hole of Fox News, QAnon and other various conspiracy theories.  I have a pretty good understanding of Immunology but TWiV helped me organize my thoughts and supplied “talking points” when family members asked questions.  Sadly only a few believed the science as I explained it and made the decision to vaccinate. I firmly believe all of you at TWiV helped save lives, especially of my elderly mother and I can never thank you enough for that. The rest, are still unprotected even though I continue to try.  What I have learned, however, is that you cannot logic your way into convincing them.  

This leads to my pick. The organization called Antidote ( was founded by Diane Benscoter to help people who have fallen victim to “high control groups” or cults.  She was a victim of a religious cult and was successfully “deprogrammed”.  Antidote helps deprogram victims of cults or high control groups.  In addition, they offer family support groups for those of us with family members that have been victimized by these conspiracy theory “cults”  and I have been attending these since about mid-Summer.  Many of the tactics shared in our group have been effective in salvaging some relationships, such as finding common ground, agreeing to not discuss the topic, or attempting to have them question their sources with the same scrutiny they question our sources. The most important thing I have learned is that this can happen to anyone (although I feel thoroughly convinced it could never happen to me)!  The best example that drove this point home to me is my family member who’s baby started to have seizures “within hours” after receiving his normally scheduled baby vaccines.  This traumatized the parents and even though the baby has fully recovered and the type of seizure he had is considered common for babies, the parents struggle to be logical.  And that is where and when these insidious “cults” take hold. It has little to do with intelligence, level of education, or reasoning ability, and more to do with fear and feelings of insecurity. 

 I share this because I am sure there are TWiV listeners out there experiencing the pain of losing a loved one to these conspiracies.  Maybe sharing it will help at least one more family.