Gas station without pumps

2021 March 23

Vaccine vested!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 13:41
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Last Friday marked two weeks since I got my second shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, so I’m now as immunized as I’m going to get against the SARS-COV-2 virus. My wife got her second shot of the Pfizer vaccine, so we are both fully immunized.

We can now go wild! We’re planning to take public transit! to Berkeley! Our current plan is to take the Highway 17 Express (currently half price), then the 500 Express light rail to Berryessa, then BART to Berkeley. I was just getting used to Warm Springs as the bus connection, instead of Hayward BART, and now Berryessa is the transfer point. Who knows—before I die BART may get all the way to Diridon station!

If we somehow miss the 500 express, we can take the Amtrak Capitol Corridor to Berkeley instead, but Amtrak does not take the Clipper Cards (though the supposedly sell them on the Capitol Corridor).  The scenery along the Amtrak tracks is a bit more interesting than along the BART tracks, though.

I got my grading for Winter quarter done last night (two days before the grading deadline), so I finally get a “weekend” after 10 weeks of working 7 days a week.  I do have to put together my syllabus and set up Canvas for my two classes that start on Monday, though, so I can’t get a full week of break.

For my “weekend” I started by putting a new bike computer on my bike.  The old Cateye Enduro 8 finally failed (replacing the battery didn’t fix it), and I bought a new Cateye Velo 7 to replace it, as the closest current equivalent.  The cables and brackets seem cheaper and flimsier than the old ones, so I don’t expect this bicycle computer to last as long.  Most of the bicycle computers on the market seem to be wireless ones, but I really don’t like the idea of having twice as many batteries to replace, shorter battery lifetimes, and lower reliability of wireless units.  I considered getting a cheap Chinese bicycle computer that had a fancier display than the Velo 7, but decided to stick with a name brand that I know has been pretty reliable.

I also took apart the lawn mower to see it if is fixable.  As always, it took me a long time to clear out the grass packed into the recessed screw holes to get the cover off, and a long time to vacuum all the grass out of the interior of the mower.  When I did finally get access to the motor and electronics, I determined that the bridge rectifier had failed again—this time with a short circuit instead of an open circuit.  I’ll buy another GBPC5010-G‎ 50-Amp bridge rectifier, and see if this one lasts a little longer.

2021 February 9

First dose!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 21:12
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My wife and I have both gotten our first doses of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2.

I got the Moderna vaccine last Friday through my employer (UCSC), who have started inoculating staff and faculty who are 65 years old or older (after first inoculating all the health-care workers and first responders).  My shoulder was a little sore for a couple of days, but it was less uncomfortable than the old-folks’ flu shot I got last September.  (Speaking of which, I wonder how they are going to choose strains for next year’s flu shots—flu is so suppressed this year that they don’t have clear dominant strains to predict from.)

My wife, who is younger than me, was thinking it would be weeks before she would be eligible, but she got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine from the county today, because she is teaching an in-person kindergarten class—they had a one-day clinic just for Pre-K and K teachers.  Because she got the Pfizer vaccine, which has a 21-day interval, while I got the Moderna vaccine, which has a 28-day interval, she’ll be getting her second dose before I get mine.

Both of us should be as protected as a vaccine can make us by the end of exam week Winter quarter.  But my Spring course will still be online, as not enough students will have gotten even the first dose by then to make in-person labs reasonable from a public health standpoint.  In any case, I plan to continue social distancing and wearing a mask outside the house for the next 6 months, or until it becomes clear that herd immunity has been achieved (which might take a really long time if we get a lot of crazy anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers).

We are the first in our extended family to get vaccinated, I believe, except for my aunt in England, who has had both doses of the Pfizer vaccine—being over 90 in England was a very high risk category!


On another note: last Friday I hosted a virtual bread-and-tea event again, baking the sourdough focaccia again. I made this one with all bread flour and had it rise longer, but it did not come out with quite as much of the “old-dough” flavor, though it rose more impressively than the earlier batches.  I think that my sourdough starter may be growing mainly yeast now, with little of the bacteria that give the sourdough flavor.  I may reinoculate it with some mother of vinegar and some live yogurt the next time I feed it.

2011 December 31

Prevnar 13 approved for adults

The FDA recently approved the Prevnar 13 vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae for adults.  Previously, only the Pneumovax 23 vaccine was approved for adult use.  I’m asplenic, since I had my spleen removed after a bike crash in 2000, and so am in a high-risk class for pneumonia caused by S. pneumoniae.  I’ve already had vaccination with Pneumovax 23, so is there any point to getting Prevnar 13 as well?

First, let’s look at the serotypes covered (the 13 and 23 of the names). According to’s article on Prevnar 13, it protects against “invasive disease caused by S pneumoniae serotypes 1, 3, 4, 5, 6A, 6B, 7F, 9V, 14, 18C, 19A, 19F, and 23F.” According to the manufacturer Merck’s page about the serotypes, Pneumovax 23 is for “prevention of pneumococcal disease caused by the 23 serotypes contained in the vaccine  (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6B, 7F, 8, 9N, 9V, 10A, 11A, 12F, 14, 15B, 17F, 18C, 19F, 19A, 20, 22F, 23F, and 33F).”

It looks like I’m covered for all the serotypes in Prevnar 13 except 6A.  The remaining questions are

  • whether Prevnar 13 provides better protection against the serotypes it covers,
  • whether the two vaccines raise different sorts of antibodies (causing increased protection if combined), and
  • whether serotype 6A is common enough in adults to pose a risk to me.

Prevnar 13 did produce larger effects than Pneumovax 23 for the strains they have in common, so it probably does confer some extra protection. [Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee November 16, 2011 FDA Briefing Document]  Also, doing Prevnar 13 followed a few years later by Pneumovax 23 had stronger effects than Pneumovax 23 alone, so they do seem to combine.  In one study that compared Pneumovax 23 and Prevnar 13, in patients who had had Pneumovax 23 at least 5 years earlier, Prevnar 13 showed 1 to 3 times as much effect on the serotypes in common, and 9.6 times as much effect on serotype 6A.

Experiments have been done to see whether Pneumovax 23 is protective against serotype 6A.  For example, Lee et al. The effect of age on the response to the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine BMC Infectious Diseases 2010, 10:60 showed Pneumovax 23 working about as well against 6A as against the serotypes 4 and 19A, which are included in the vaccine.  The assumption has been that including 6B provided enough cross-reaction that 6A was also covered.  This seems to be reasonably true, at least for adults, and so the inclusion of 6A in Prevnar 13 would not be sufficient reason to get the vaccine, given that I’ve had Pneumovax 23 fairly recently.

But I’ve already had 2 doses of Pneumovax 23 and “because data are not sufficient concerning the safety of 23vPS when administered ≥ 3 times, revaccination after a 2nd dose is not routinely recommended,” so the next time I get a pneumococcal vaccine it should probably be Prevnar 13.  There does not seem to be any urgent need to do so, and I should probably wait for another decade or so, and then get Prevnar 13 (or whatever has replaced it by then) to bring my immune defenses back up.


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