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  • drmijunglee

COVID-19 Vaccine; Yes or No?

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

Personal Experience

With my first shot on Jan 5th, I had muscle soreness at the injection site, upper right arm, which lasted for about 48 hours then went away. It was only muscle ache and tenderness. With the second shot on Jan 29th, I had chills, fever, headache and large joint-shoulder and hip- pain, up to 100F from 12 to 36 hours after injection. I took 2 gram of vitamin C and 2 capsules of echinacea with every meal, and drank many cups of tea. The night was intense then chills went away in the morning followed by diminishing fever by the evening. All symptoms disappeared the second morning.

Normal Immune Responses - What is happening after the vaccine?

Many other vaccine receivers report similar experiences like mine, such as muscle soreness on the site, headache, fever and chill, body ache and fatigue. Those are all normal responses as your immune system kicks in with a vaccine.

Theoretically, it takes about 6 days after the second dose for your immune system to complete its full response. From 12 hour to 48 hours after injection can be intense with flu-like symptoms. During these hours, cells in your bone marrow (myeloid cells; macrophages and neutrophils) are responding to the vaccine by increasing innate immune activities: recruiting effector cells, cytokines, priming and programming the system. As a result, your body establishes the cellular basis of “trained immunity” to protect you from secondary infections.

For those hours, I recommend you to be attentive to your symptoms while taking a good rest to create the best environment for your immune system to do its job. Vitamin C is a great idea to help your body to support immune response and clean up the debris. Avoid heavy meals and keep your diet light and clean with vegetable broth and plenty of tea.

Pfizer vs. Moderna: Are they safe?

Vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna share similar mechanisms and effectiveness. They are both RNA-based two-dose vaccines for COVID-19. In fact, they have a better safety profile than vector-based vaccines that are being used in other countries. Some people worry that COVID vaccines were hurried to be in use and therefore, may not be safe. It is an understandable concern, considering it normally takes 6-10 years to develop a vaccine. However, there are good scientific reasons why we were able to make COVID vaccine so quickly. One is thanks to accumulated groundbreaking research from virologists, especially Susan Weiss, PhD. She and her team studied coronavirus for more than 40 years and found out all viral genomic sequences and mechanisms of infections. Second, those companies have been working on RNA-related drug development for decades in the area of cancer treatment. These existing RNA-based platforms and gained virological knowledge naturally enabled the U.S. to become the first country to produce the vaccine. In addition, pressing urgency eliminated unnecessary bureaucratic time for approvals while granting scientifically necessary trials for its safe utilization.

Are they effective and should I get them?

Some say virus variants (such as seasonal flu strain) limit the effectiveness of vaccines. However, coronavirus is known to mutate less and even if they do, maintain similarities in structure. This gives a reasonable advantage of the vaccines to remain effective to variants. This is how COVID-19 vaccine data could show the impressive 95% effectiveness compared to 60% of flu vaccines in a very good season. There are still unknowns; we don't have long term data on how long the vaccine immunity lasts and whether vaccination stops the virus from spreading person-to-person. However, with vaccination, your immune response will recognize secondary viral attacks and protect you from infection; none or shorter sickness and far less chance of serious illness or long term complications. This means, in public health standpoint, vaccination lessens the whole health care burden and normalizes the system in a pandemic. So, YES. As of Feb 9th, 2021, CDC reports 42,417,617 of COVID vaccine had been administered in the United States. Some statistics suggested 500 deaths from COVID vaccine up to this point. Assume those numbers are correct. Fatality of COVID vaccine is 0.001%. COVID cases in the U.S. is 27.7 million so far and death case from them is 477,000 thus fatality from COVID is 1.7% in the U.S. Vaccine is the winning game plan.

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