Covid-19 Update: What’s in The Pfizer Vaccine That Just Won FDA Approval?

Hello again everyone:

 I get this question a lot, and one reason is that there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy due to the lack of transparency about the vaccine trials, how effective they are, and how safe they will be. We have had press releases, but not the actual data yet, and most experts feel that while the vaccine is ‘safe’, the true rate and various types of possible adverse reactions will not be known until it has been widely used, and this is true for virtually all vaccines and prescription medicines. For this reason and others, there is a lot of hesitancy even in the medical field, so for a proper perspective, this entire article is worth the quick read:

“We are vaccines’ greatest champions, but this is the first time that a new vaccine has been developed at a rapid pace in the middle of a pandemic, as opposed to a much longer timeline,” Susan Bailey, a physician in Fort Worth and president of the American Medical Association, said in an interview. “What I hear from physicians is some of the same concerns that are expressed by everyone. They worry the process has been politicized. They are concerned because they haven’t seen any published data yet. And they don’t feel comfortable making the decision one way or another until they see the evidence,” Bailey said.

So, here is some of that evidence in the form of great information about what is actually in the vaccine, and this may help alleviate fears a bit until we get more data from Pfizer. This article is pretty short and easy to read and understand so please give it a few minutes as it is worth it:

Bottom Line:
While I consider myself to be vaccine hesitant, from my studies and speaking with other clinicians, the hard truth emerges that vaccination of a large portion of the population may be essential to slow down and finally end this pandemic. I may not like that, but that is the way it is. One reason for this is that the U.S. is the most co-morbid country in the world, the data on this I have discussed in a previous blog and this is likely why we have been hit so very hard by this virus.

However, part of the hard truth is that vaccines are not risk free, so making the decision to take the vaccine requires knowledge of the risk versus benefit profile. Right now, the death rate is around 2% of those infected and around 10 to 50% of those will have long term complications currently categorized as Long Hauler’s or Post Covid syndrome. With 2000 to 3000 deaths per day in the U.S., and many survivors developing chronic illness and disabilities, the risk/benefit ratio leans towards vaccination of the most vulnerable as part of the overall strategy along with other public and private health measures.

This entire pandemic has a lot of moving parts that can create an atmosphere that is foggy and hard to see through clearly. It is tempting for all sides on these arguments to tend to over-simplify the issues to create emotional responses, and yes, all of this information and misinformation is very worrying and helps to create hesitancy and a sense of mistrust…and this is what has happened. It is my sincere hope that the good and well-intentioned people involved in these vaccine trials will step up and release the data, and I believe they will, so keep an eye out for this information. This information will allow each one of us to make the best decision we can, and it may not be an easy decision to make…I know that I don’t like that either, and that is just the way it is. These are really unusually tough and challenging times and getting informed will allow us to step up and make a decision.

Thus, in actuality we would all be served better if this was kept to a scientific dialogue which usually allows the truth to emerge and the best results to be obtained. Please refer to my earlier blog about what to expect when the vaccine is actually rolled out (see link below). The experts are telling us that masking along with distancing will be required for many more months, even with an effective vaccine. This is truly important, and you should read it and keep expectations rooted in reality:

We are certainly all in this together, and even though we may not want to, we need to face up to this situation and get realistic about this, …we all need to find that inner strength to rise up to this crisis and find ways to do whatever is needed to keep each other well and safe. This applies to yourself as well. Consider that the evidence is clear: it may not be a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket…that is, waiting for the vaccine may not be your best single strategy…and this simply means that it is still extremely important to become as metabolically healthy as possible to reduce your risk of infection as well as possibly lowering the severity and duration. Additionally, these efforts will probably make any vaccine you take more likely to be effective with a lower risk overall. It is totally worth your while to reduce your comorbidities (if you have any) by eating right, moving right, de-stressing, getting proper sleep, avoiding sugar and processed foods, try to keep a prayerful attitude (this helps me the most), taking your supplements, maintain proper masking/social distancing advice, prop up and strengthen your resilience and find ways to be of service to others.

We simply need to use all of the tools in the toolbox…from vaccines to vitamins…so now is the time to seriously upgrade your health as we can use this pandemic as an opportunity to jump start our return to optimal form, both as individuals and as a country and as a planet. 

Keep Calm…and Get Healthy! 

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