Code for life

COVID-19: the B.1.1.529 variant – what do we know?

Grant Jacobs Nov 26, 2021

There’s a lot of news about a new variant originally reported in southern Africa. Early signs have prompted calls for immediate precautionary blocks on travel from the region to restrict its spread. The WHO has called an emergency conference on this variant. Here’s a round-up of what we know so far. If you’re in a hurry, and want to know … Read More

COVID-19 Worried about getting your vaccine or want a simple explanation?

Grant Jacobs Oct 16, 2021

Worried about getting your vaccine? Let me tell you a secret. No-one likes getting a vaccine. People do it because they know they’re better off to. Let me tell you another secret, a weird one: the vaccine doesn’t really “do” anything. Confusing? Let me explain… Vaccines are a face at the right place, at the right time. The vaccine isn’t … Read More

COVID-19 Helping people check locations of interest

Grant Jacobs Aug 27, 2021

OPINION. It’s important locate as many people who have been at locations of interest as possible in New Zealand’s Delta variant outbreak. Because few people have been scanning QR codes or keeping other personal records we’re relying on people to check the Ministry of Health’s list of locations of interest. A few initiatives might help this. People who’ve been at … Read More

Attempt to stop NZ vaccine rollout declined, government to pass new bill

Grant Jacobs May 19, 2021

The High Court has declined an attempt to halt New Zealand’s vaccination rollout. It does asks the Crown to consider how their plans sit within current law. The government plans to pass a Bill under urgency today to tackle this. I think a fair question is if the deeper issue lies with a lack of mechanism for emergency use approval in … Read More

COVID-19 vaccines prevent spread of the virus too

Grant Jacobs May 13, 2021

Many people seem to be reading that our COVID-19 vaccine won’t prevent the spread of COVID-19 from one person to the next.1 If you’re worried about this, this one is for you. We now have evidence the vaccine reduces transmission, and a rough idea of by how much.2 Science is often about pulling different pieces of evidence together, in this … Read More

Blood clots, vaccines and the need for baselines

Grant Jacobs Mar 15, 2021

Some nations are pausing their AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine campaigns over concerns that it may be linked to blood clots. International media is is reporting it widely. I’m seeing concerned people asking questions on social media. Evidence so far indicates this is unlikely to be a real issue, but one that is being checked out of caution. One thing it illustrates … Read More

B.1.1.7 variant – early result suggests longer infections, management questions

Grant Jacobs Feb 21, 2021

Sometimes it’s smaller, intensive studies that shed light on issues. Just reported results of daily sampling of COVID-19 patients indicate patients with the B.1.1.7 variant first observed in Kent, UK may have a longer infection compared to patients infected with non-B.1.1.7 variants. This is the variant seen in NZ’s most recent outbreak in Auckland. If this observation bears out in … Read More

COVID-19: backing our front row

Grant Jacobs Oct 23, 2020

New Zealand has been called out as an outstanding player in managing COVID-19. We’ve done well,[1] but we’re far from perfect. We could do a lot better at backing our front row. Epidemiologists advise nations not to play “wait and see”. If By the time they do see, it’s all over them. “She’ll be right”… until it isn’t. We’re less … Read More