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the pyrexia. It’s just fever

Indeed, the Ministry of Health published a few days ago the latest installment of the Pharmacovigilance Report on Covid-19 vaccines and, in it, the main side effects that had been found with the third dose of Pfizer and Moderna were explained. The second most common of the first and the first of the second are essentially the same: pyrexia.


Pyrexia? Like what ‘pyrexia’? What is pyrexia?. Put that way, ‘pyrexia’ sounds serious. In fact, it is likely that most of the people who have learned about her these days have not done so by reading the Ministry report, but through all the means that have been launched to explain the details and details of symptoms like this . Well, the famous “side effect of the third dose of the vaccine” is a fever. Just fever. Nothing but fever.

That is, the same one that had affected the rest of the doses and that, in general terms, affects the vast majority of vaccines in the world. Fever is, naturally, the first visible response of the immune system and, for this reason, many vaccines that affect it cause it. Pyrexia, however we look at it, has no more mystery. Yes, after the puncture, you can have a fever.

The virality (of what remains) of the coronavirus. What is more mysterious is why, from time to time, technical terms from medical jargon colonize huge parts of the pandemic debate for no apparent reason other than the fact that they “sound flashy.” And I say that it has “mystery” not so much because it does not understand the logic that virality and the jolts of social concern around the coronavirus impose on media coverage of the pandemic; but because during these years we have experienced a boom in scientific and health journalism that has generated very positive dynamics.

Will we come out better (informationally speaking)? However, now that the pandemic is on the way to fading away as a social problem and we are beginning to see clear signs that our community behavior is returning to normal, it is not clear what will remain of this real-time scientific information effort.

Reinventing scientific communication (after the coronavirus). I’m not very optimistic, if I’m honest. And I don’t say it from that kind of moral pedestal that we usually use in the journalistic profession. I am not very optimistic because I suffer from the tensions of the media like any other. The media business is essentially an attention business. During these years, scientific and health information has captured an enormous amount of that attention, but (little by little) we are on the way to returning to occupy the same place as before the pandemic.

This is going to force us to have to reinvent the way we do this type of information and to assume that, after the worst of the pandemic, we cannot cling to virality to remain at the center of the debate. Above all, because as with the weather, this virality is “bread for today” and lack of credibility for tomorrow.

Image | Master Jerome/AP

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