Category: The Essentials

Yes, I Got Vaccinated. Here’s Why.

As a radiologist who reads emergency room and ICU cases for a busy healthcare system in Phoenix, AZ, I can report first hand that COVID-19 is a terrible disease. In my capacity as an allopathic-trained physician, I recommended early on — before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic — that members of my community strengthen their immune system with antioxidants, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. I still believe this was appropriate advice, and it’s a regimen I continue to take daily. I am grateful to have remained healthy throughout the pandemic, as I hope you all have been.

However, over the past year, I have reviewed imaging studies detailing the damage caused by COVID-19 to patients’ bodies. It has been otherworldly. I have seen studies from hospitalized patients who suffered terrible disease. Admittedly, my view has been skewed because most people who become infected experience only mild if any symptoms and don’t go to the hospital. The risk for developing significant disease is estimated to be around 20 percent, or 1 in 5. We have all seen the increasing nationwide and worldwide death toll which hovers around 1-2% with older patients and those with pre-existing conditions more likely to succumb to the disease. This disease has killed a lot of people.

Many people — especially those who share my interest in holistic and allopathic medicine — think those numbers have been inflated by the media and that hospitals have routinely reported deaths unrelated to COVID as being caused by the virus in order to get more money from the government. In my estimation, if a person dies of a blood clot in the lung, and the tendency to form blood clots was exacerbated by the COVID infection, then COVID would be the underlying cause of death. I have seen plenty of young people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s with severe lung disease and devastating blood clots, which have caused strokes, damaged hearts, and destroyed organs. Over 540,000 people have died in the US alone, but just as many if not more have seen their lives changed forever. Last week, I read a case of a 20-something guy with COVID-19 who had a large blood clot in his aorta and smaller clots throughout his left leg. I imagine they were able to break apart the blood clots using a technique called thrombolysis and save his leg — but what the heck?!

If you have read about mRNA vaccines, you know they are a new technology. I read the science behind the vaccines and find it intriguing, and, truly brilliant. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are synthetic strands of mRNA that were created in a lab and are injected into your arm. This mRNA becomes absorbed into your body’s cells because it is surrounded by a fatty layer “liposomal” which can pass through a cell membrane. Once within the cell the mRNA becomes a template to produce the spike protein. This is the protuberant feature that allows the COVID virus to gain entry into the cell. The mRNA does not include code to create the whole virus, and so there is no way the vaccine could give you COVID-19. Once the cell creates copies of the spike protein, the immune system is stimulated to produce antibodies to the protein. These antibodies would then attack the actual virus should it be encountered in the future. The newly formed spike proteins aren’t composed of mRNA and aren’t surrounded by a fatty capsule, so they cannot get into new cells and have those cells produce more spike proteins in the future. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines work differently.

There are potential complications, which one must consider before getting vaccinated. Indeed, whenever I do a procedure on a patient, I start out informed consent by saying, “Whenever you enter the body with a needle, there is always the possibility for a complication.” For me, I decided that the very small risk of having a vaccine reaction was worth having the extra layer of protection to safeguard my health.

If you know my work, you know that I approach each vaccine individually and with caution. It’s not that I don’t believe in vaccine technology in general — rather, I believe that a healthy immune system, supported with a daily intake of antioxidants, should be the primary defense against disease. I don’t get an annual flu vaccine. My kids received a fraction of the “schedule” of vaccines put out by the CDC. Despite my resistance, I always said that if there was a vaccine for a disease that was a deadly and genuine threat, I would get it. This is what we, as a society, are experiencing. I do think it is important for everyone to make their own choice about whether or not to get vaccinated. And, I do believe decisions such as this should not be made out of fear. But I caution you to think carefully before opting out of this vaccine. Please make sure you understand the tremendous amount of destruction this disease can do to the body, should your immune system falter and succumb to infection. Also understand that the disease doesn’t have to cause upper respiratory tract symptoms and may not result in a loss of taste or smell. From my research, the virus can enter the gastrointestinal tract and could affect your heart or blood vessels before you develop pneumonia or any upper respiratory tract symptoms.

I look at the vaccine as a valuable tool in my protective toolbox. Because the virus incidence ebbs and flows, it is hard to know if we are at the tail end of this pandemic, and for how long it will remain amidst the general population. Getting the vaccine has allowed me to relax and become more sociable. Although each vaccine has a different success rate, aka efficacy, they all help prevent catastrophic disease and death, which is the most important goal. From what I’ve read, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are 100% effective at preventing severe disease. You have no doubt heard that the J & J vaccine is also highly efficacious, but less so than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. In my estimation, the protection afforded by the J & J vaccine is good enough! And, it only requires one injection. The AstraZeneca vaccine has created controversy both in Europe and here in the US. At the present time, I’m not sure what to make of this vaccine. As the expression goes… tiime will tell.

Regardless of which vaccine you take, I suggest you be well hydrated before and after the vaccine to allow your body’s immune system to function optimally and keep things flowing properly. In addition, whether or not you decide to get vaccinated, I strongly suggest you continue to take antioxidants, limit your exposure to toxins, including electromagnetic radiation, and get good sleep.

Be well and stay well!