The decision to get vaccinated for Covid-19 is a personal one and involves many factors: your age, your overall health and comorbidity status, your genetics, your gut health, your nutritional status, and many other factors. 

While some of you have decided to vaccinate, others of you have had some reservations (including myself).  The experimental nature of this vaccine, the first time use of mRNA vaccines,  the involvement of Big Pharma and government, the unprecedented rush to market, etc. have given many pause about quickly signing up for vaccination.

These concerns,  as well as some of the things I have been seeing on the front lines with this virus, have caused me to take a deep dive into the vaccination topic. Whether you decide to vaccinate or not is your choice, and, if you are my patient,  it is my role to support you with whatever direction you take. That being said, I think getting as many facts as we can is helpful, and this will hopefully help you to make a thoughtful decision. 

One important fact that I want you to keep in mind is that the Novel Coronavirus 19 is not like any of the other coronaviruses that we have seen before. Unlike the common cold virus, which can come and go out of your system very quickly, Covid-19, in certain people, for reasons we do not understand, can linger in the body long after the initial insult. This can happen even when the if the inital infection was mild or moderate. The result for some people is end-organ damage and chronic fatigue we have not seen since the mid 80s. This phenomenon is called Post-Covid Syndrome, and we think that as many as 40% of the people who contract Covid could have what is termed 'Long Hauler Syndrome', which may persist for weeks and months after the original infection.

Another concern is the variants that are starting to pop up around the world (UK and South Africa). Experts think that these variants most likely are mutations that are the virus is trying to make to survive. Nevertheless, they think that the mRNA vaccines on the market should be effective against these variants.

Last week the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) gave a great introductory talk that addressed many questions.  They discussed many important topics (including Post-Covid Syndrome) and went over many of the questions surrounding these vaccines, which I will try to summarize here, as well as address other important questions that I have seen come up in the media and the literature.

DISCLAIMER: Keep in mind that this information is intended to educate my patients and their families and is not to be considered general medical advice of any kind. Please consult with your personal medical authority before getting any vaccination or before doing anything with her health. Also, note that this information will not address all the questions with regards to this vaccine. For more information, please consult the CDC website on the Coronavirus Vaccines. 

Which and what types of vaccines are available?

The IFM put together a nice dashboard on their website and a vaccine matrix that is helpful. In general, there are the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer/BioNTECH and Moderna each with a roughly 95% effectiveness rate. These are the only two available in the US at this time. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine uses an adenovirus as a vector, as has roughly a 66% effectiveness rate. Then there is the NovaVax vaccine, which is still in Phase III trials, which uses recombinant DNA technology to produce spike proteins, which are then injected into the patient (instead of the mRNA). The NovaVax vaccine avoids the some of concerns of mRNA vaccines as well as any ethical concerns (mRNA vaccines are derived from stem cell lines).

Why are there two injections given?

The first dose helps the immune system create a response. The second dose further boosts the immune response to ensure long-term protection. The second dose may invoke more side effects so most authorities are advising a day of rest after getting the second dose.

What is the effectiveness rate of these vaccines against Covid?

Research shows that the vaccines are more than 50% effective 10 days or so after the first shot and nearly 95% effective several days after the second. 

Are these vaccines considered experimental?

Typically the development and research of vaccines can take many years on upwards to 10+ years. However, given the nature of this pandemic, the federal government issued an emergency use authorization for these vaccines. So in this context and from the standpoint that these are the first mRNA vaccines to be used, and that lipid nanoparticle technology is the first to be used, one could consider these vaccines experimental. These are legitimate concerns. However, at the same time, there have been close to 100,000 who participated in phase 3 clinical trials which is a number much greater than many popular drugs on the market. Additionally, over 200 million have already received the vaccine, and more and more trials are underway. See the video below for more discussion on this topic.

What are some of the side effects of the vaccine?

  • Local reactions at the injection site (redness, swelling)
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Are there reports of death and allergic reactions/anaphylaxis?

The CDC estimates that out of every 1 million people, two or three who receive the Moderna vaccine and around 11 who receive the Pfizer vaccine may suffer a severe allergic reaction.

Does the COVID-19 vaccine contain Thimerosal (mercury)?

No, the multi-dose vial of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine is preservative-free and does not contain thimerosal (mercury).

Does the COVID-19 vaccine vial contain latex?

No, the Pfizer vaccine is contained in a clear glass vial with a bromobutyl (rubber) stopper. This is a non-latex rubber and is safe for patients with a latex allergy.

I have heard bad things about Propylene Glycol, the preservative in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, that can cause anaphylaxis. Is this true? 

The propylene glycol in these vaccines is a common ingredient in many foods and cosmetics, however, it has never been used before in vaccines. Some have theorized that one of the reasons behind some of the cases of anaphylaxis is due to the PEP. Some theorize that what could be happening as those who have been previously sensitized to PEP could have an allergic reaction. Currently, studies are underway to analyze this process. In the meantime, anaphylactic reactions are very rare.

Should I receive a vaccine if I have a history of a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, medicine, or food?

The following individuals should NOT receive the Pfizer OR Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at this
time (this information may change as additional data is collected):
● Known polyethylene glycol (PEG) allergic reaction
● Previous severe allergic reaction to any component of the Pfizer OR Moderna COVID-19 vaccine
>>The following individuals should consult a healthcare provider to weigh the risks and benefits of receiving the Pfizer OR Moderna COVID-19 vaccine:
● Previous severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to ANY vaccine or injectable therapy (If you choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine, you will be observed for 30 minutes in case of a severe reaction.)

>>If you have any of the following, you may receive the Pfizer OR Moderna COVID-19 vaccine:
● Food allergy (including shellfish)
● Pet, insect or venom allergy
● Environmental allergies
● Latex allergy
● Previous allergic reaction to oral medications
● Non-serious allergy (non-anaphylactic) to other vaccine and/or injectable medications
● Family history of anaphylaxis
● History of anaphylaxis not related to a vaccine or injectable therapy (with 30 minute
observation period after COVID-19 vaccine)

What is the risk of death from this vaccine?

From Dec 13th to Jan 14th, the CDC received 113 reports of death after COVID-19 vaccinations; two-thirds of these deaths occurred among long-term care facility residents. One of the deaths currently being investigated is a Florida medical doctor who developed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia or ITP soon after receiving the vaccine. ITP is an extremely rare condition that is also seen at a rate of about 1 to 3 per Million who are vaccinated for MMR. This case is still under investigation.

What are the risks of developing post-Covid syndrome?

Post-Covid syndrome is a syndrome where symptoms persist long after infection even if it is a mild or moderate infection. Symptoms such as fatigue, headache, palpitations, depression, anxiety, body aches, and fever have been reported up to many many weeks after the initial infection. Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more of this disorder in the community and with our patients. As of now the risk for developing post-Covid syndrome is somewhere around 40%. Therefore, one of the rationales for getting vaccinated is to prevent post-Covid syndrome.

If I get this vaccine will I produce spike proteins forever?

The mRNA delivered to the cells is relatively unstable and will only last in the body approximately 20 minutes and possibly as long as 24 hours. The adenovirus vaccine however could last for up to three weeks in the body. For more information, see the video below.

Will this vaccine cause autoimmunity? 

The IFM believes that based on the evidence there is a very low risk for autoimmunity with mRNA vaccines. Nevertheless, there is always a risk. However keep in mind that the larger risk for autoimmunity is if one contracts covid, which, through processes such as molecular mimicry, autoimmune disorders can develop.

I have an auto-immune disorder. Should I be concerned?

If your autoimmune disorder is controlled you should be okay to get vaccinated.  However, if your autoimmune condition is uncontrolled you should not get vaccinated until control is achieved. As always, anytime you are dealing with an autoimmune condition, we recommend you get evaluated and monitored by an endocrinologist.

Should I be concerned about the lipid nanoparticle that is used to deliver the mRNA to the cells?

Liposomal technology has been around in the nutraceutical industry for a number of years now. Basically, nutrients such as B12 are encapsulated in a fat molecule that is more easily recognizable by cells and incorporated into their membrane such that the B12 is delivered inside the cell. Liposomal B 12 for example can be easily delivered under the tongue which then goes instantaneously into the body and avoids the first-pass metabolism by the liver. In this case, however, the pharmaceutical industry needed a vehicle to deliver the mRNA into the muscle cell during the injection. Nanoparticle liposomes used in this fashion are a first for these types of vaccines but this delivery system functions as an excellent delivery mechanism to get the mRNA into the body. These nanoparticles are synthetic bio-identical fats that are not foreign to the body but easily recognizable by the body.

Are the risks associated with vaccination greater than the risk of getting the wild-type virus?

If you contract the wild type of virus it is hard to predict whether or not you will get the severe form of the disease and develop life-threatening complications or whether or not you will develop post-Covid syndrome. When comparing the mortality rate of contracting COVID and the morbidity rate of getting post-Covid syndrome versus the extremely low-rate of complications from the vaccine one can conclude that it is less far less risk of getting vaccinated than contracting the wild form of the coronavirus.

Some sources are saying that if you get vaccinated for Covid-19, that this may 'prime' the immune system such that if you actually contract Covid, your immune system would go mad, leading to cytokine storm and death. Is there any truth to this theory? 

What this may be referring to is something called antibody-dependent enhancement or ADE-- a phenomenon that was previously documented with SARSCov-1 as well as the dengue virus. If this phenomenon were true we would see mass deaths occurring after millions of doses have been given, which is simply not the case. Research reveals that there were some eosinophilic changes in the lungs of some patients who got vaccinated for SARS-COV1 and then contracted SARS-COV1, but that was not the result of ADE, it was simply the result of a normally functioning immune system. For more on this discussion see this video with Dr. Mobeen Syed, MD, titled: Cytokine Storm with ADE - Antibody-dependent Enhancement of Coronavirus

Will this vaccine alter my DNA?

No, it will not. See this article.

Why should I vaccinate? Couldn't I just wait for herd immunity to be achieved?

Waiting for herd immunity to be achieved could take quite some time. In the meantime, there are many risks for not getting vaccinated as mentioned previously. In addition not getting vaccinated could put you and your loved ones at risk.

Are there alternatives to getting vaccinated?

Vitamin D and vitamin C as well as zinc have good data behind them and are generally recommended as immune supportive. Some have suggested that hydroxychloroquine or Ivermectin as possible alternatives to getting vaccinated. While these medicines have been proven effective in some studies, widespread use has not been authorized. Additionally, they cannot match the 95% effectiveness rate of the vaccines. There are also herbal supports that have been shown in studies to be effective against similar viruses including SARS which we have discussed in our earlier posts; however, again their effectiveness cannot match the effectiveness of the vaccines. Similarly, homeopathic remedies have shown to be effective via case study reports but no double-blind studies are available to prove effectiveness. Nevertheless, if one does not have the opportunity to become vaccinated, one possible strategy would be to consider vitamin, herbal and homeopathic approaches as preventatives as well as possibly prophylactic Ivermectin until vaccination becomes available. For more information see our immune support protocol.

If I decide to get vaccinated are there any things that I should do prior to vaccination?

Yes! Institute of Functional Medicine put together a nice prevaccination protocol which we have summarized for you here. Also, we would recommend that you follow-up with us to make sure that any stealth or chronic infections are treated. We also recommend a comprehensive detox program designed to take the stress off the body and to help the immune system work better. We also recommend that you optimize your hormones for better immune function. Given the damaging effects of Wi-Fi and an Electrosmog on the immune system, we recommend a comprehensive EMF remediation strategy as well as personal EMF protection. Please contact us for more information.

My decision to get vaccinated

Given all the concerns previously mentioned, I spent a great deal of time going over many medical lecturers and research to find the answers that I was looking for. I researched the theories behind those who oppose these vaccines and consulted with seasoned immunologists and medical doctors.  From this research, I was able to develop a sense of curiosity that turned into a deeper level of understanding that led to my decision to get vaccinated. My first shot went very well with no complications and am due to get the second shot in three weeks. My decision was motivated by my need to not only protect myself but also to protect my patients, my loved ones, and family from getting the severe form of Covid and post-Covid syndrome. It was a personal decision for me and I certainly don't expect anyone to be influenced by this. If you're a patient of mine and are considering getting vaccinated and have questions please feel free to reach out to me. I am here to listen and to support you as best as I know how. If you are not a patient, please do your own research and reach out to your medical provider if needed. See the video below for more information:

References:

Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine's 66% Efficacy Rate Not the Entire Story/Published: Jan 29, 2021 By Heather McKenzie https://www.biospace.com/article/j-and-j-covid-19-vaccine-66-percent-effective-against-all-strains

Suspicions grow that nanoparticles in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine trigger rare allergic reactions. By Jop de VriezeDec. 21, 2020 , 5:10 PMhttps://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/12/suspicions-grow-nanoparticles-pfizer-s-covid-19-vaccine-trigger-rare-allergic-reactions

Fact-check: No link between COVID-19 vaccines and those who die after receiving them. The CDC hasn't identified any cases in which a vaccine caused a person's death. ByDr. Stephanie Widmer February 3, 2021, 6:10  https://abcnews.go.com/Health/post-vaccination-deaths-dont-covid-19-vaccine-deadly/story?id=75524209

Gee J, Marquez P, Su J, et al. First Month of COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring — United States, December 14, 2020–January 13, 2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 19 February 2021. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm7008e3external icon.

https://www.idsociety.org/covid-19-real-time-learning-network/disease-manifestations--complications/post-covidsyndrome/#:~:text=The%20cumulative%20incidence%20was%2058.2,Symptoms%20were%20mostly%20mild

Polack FP, Thomas SJ, Kitchin N, Absalon J, Gurtman A, Lockhart S, Perez JL, Pérez Marc G, Moreira ED, Zerbini C, Bailey R, Swanson KA, Roychoudhury S, Koury K, Li P, Kalina WV, Cooper D, Frenck RW Jr, Hammitt LL, Türeci Ö, Nell H, Schaefer A, Ünal S, Tresnan DB, Mather S, Dormitzer PR, Şahin U, Jansen KU, Gruber WC; C4591001 Clinical Trial Group. Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine. N Engl J Med. 2020 Dec 31;383(27):2603-2615. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2034577. Epub 2020 Dec 10. PMID: 33301246; PMCID: PMC7745181.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/clinical-care/late-sequelae.html
https://www.webmd.com/coronavirus-in-context/video/vaccines-dosing

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