While there is much debate over just about everything with this COVID-19 pandemic, I don’t think anyone would disagree that we just want it to end. How it ends is the gazillion dollar question, that still, even with these vaccines getting into arms, is unknown. The biggest question seems to be whether or not to get vaccinated, and whether or not these vaccines are safe and effective.
I get it. I appreciate the ability to choose which vaccines to get and when. There are many things that can be useful in preventing and treating viral infections, and there are cases where vaccines have caused injuries and even deaths. These new vaccines are newly developed, have not been tested long-term, and that can be scary. However, they provide one of the numerous things that will eventually lead to an end to the pandemic, and make COVID-19 a virus similar to the likes of other viruses that circulate in our environment.
There is also some debate over the severity of COVID-19 as a virus, how widespread the virus actually is, how deadly it is, etc. I am certain there is widespread disinformation all over the board. What I do know for certain is that this virus is highly unpredictable. It reaches well beyond the respiratory tract, as we see it affecting the vascular system (blood vessels), cardiovascular system, nervous system (including the brain), gastrointestinal system, etc.
However, they provide one of the numerous things that will eventually lead to an end to the pandemic, and make COVID-19 a virus similar to the likes of other viruses that circulate in our environment
Hospitalizations and deaths may be over-exaggerated or over-counted (although this is not shown in the data that I see), and still this virus is altogether scary, because of its ability to affect multiple systems in the body and evade the immune system leading to “long haul” COVID. The long term effects are debilitating and wide spread, also affecting the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, blood vessels, gut, and so on. I am currently seeing these patients.
The question could be, which is worse, the virus or the vaccine. It is certain that the virus is much worse. While we may disagree on certain numbers, it is beyond doubt that this virus is dangerous whether causing death or disability. The vaccine, on the other hand, may cause rare cases of injury and even death, it does not wreak havoc on various tissues in the body.
The vaccine is targeted specifically to the spike protein on the virus. So the immune system is reacting to one specific epitope. When you contract the wild virus, your immune system is exposed to all of the viral epitopes, so the response of the body is much less predictable, and the effects are much more widespread.
It is not true that mRNA vaccines are new. They have been used for several decades in cancer treatment. The mRNA vaccines work by giving us the ability to make the spike protein that is particular to this virus. Our cells make the spike protein, and then our immune system responds by making both antibodies and T-cells, which allow us to fight a COVID infection. The actual vaccine is quickly degraded by the body, but the immune response lasts, although for how long is still unknown.
It is important to note that the mRNA vaccines do not prevent infection. This is called a non-sterilizing vaccine, because, even when vaccinated, you can still get the virus and can still pass the virus on to others. Even so, these vaccines are vital in helping to get this pandemic under control. Unfortunately, none of the vaccines will prevent 100% of people from getting infected, being hospitalized, or dying from COVID. We are then, unfortunately, even as the vaccine effort increases, likely to continue to see people get infected, hospitalized, and die, even in people who have been fully immunized.
We see this with many of the other diseases against which we vaccinate. You can get the flu, measles, and chicken pox even after you have had the vaccine. While the effect is likely more mild than without the vaccine, infection still does occur. COVID-19 will be similar. We will still have this virus circulating, regardless of the vaccine, just hopefully less of it with milder effects.
Even if you are vaccinated, we must continue to wear our masks, practice good hygiene, and stay home when we are sick. Work now, with me or another functional medicine practitioner, to optimize your health. This alone will not only help prevent infection, but also the more serious consequences of COVID.
Using vaccines as a solution to this pandemic is absolutely necessary, albeit imperfect. We cannot continue on this current path without vaccines and expect for any change to occur in the pathogenicity of this virus. We will continue to suffer in health, socially, economically, etc. Vaccinating the vast majority of the public has become the dominant pathway to end this pandemic, so we must move forward together and make this achievable by, all of us, getting the vaccine.
If we fail to vaccinate the majority of humans in the world, it will be a tragic failure and we will continue to see the virus wreak havoc.
Because of the implications of COVID-19, I think we, en masse, need to:
- Vaccinate as much of the population as possible
- Continue with our current public health measures: social distancing, wearing masks, improved personal hygiene, etc.
- Focus on improving individual response to the virus by assisting the body in mounting an appropriate immune response, through the use of natural medicines
- Continue developing drugs to assist in a healthier immune response to the virus
- Campaign to improve nutrition, including healthy foods and the use of nutritional supplements to optimize nutrient levels of vitamins such as vitamin D
When you are eligible, please, get your vaccine, and help us move out of this crisis by implementing the above tactics for yourself and your family.
If you have any questions about this article and my recommendations, please contact me and I can help!