COVID Blogging and Anti-Vaccine Rehetoric
I began my COVID blogging during the shutdown in March and April. My first interest was personal, in that, I heard various things in the media, and as a physician with the skills to research things, I wanted to check out the veracity of the claims. That launched many blogs. However, now, I’m concerned that I need to stop blogging on this topic because of the anti-vaccine crowd. Let me explain.
Traveling Down the Rabbit Hole
When I first began to test the statements of the media about COVID, it was super-fascinating. Most of the hyperbolic media statements didn’t match up to medical and research reality. The more I dug and the more information I found, the crazier the disconnect got. However, my recent post on getting vaccinated for COVID opened up a dangerous can of worms.Request a Regenexx Appointment
All vaccines work on a societal level only if there is herd immunity. Meaning, enough people get vaccinated so that the virus is more likely than not to end up in a host who has the ability to kill it. Vaccines simply don’t work well if only some people get them. That’s why the idea of “vaccine choice” is so problematic. In addition, even if the rate of vaccine side effects is extremely low, how is it fair for some people to take that risk and protect the community while others forego the risk and get protected by those who took the risk? That’s like me being responsible for paying for your car insurance.
Vaccines Are the World’s Most Natural Product
The goal of a vaccine is to stimulate your body’s own natural immune response. That makes a vaccine a natural medicine. Usually, that happens by exposing the patient to a dead virus or one part of the virus. In this vaccine, that means exposing the body to the spike protein on the SARS-CoV2 virus.
My Own Vaccine Experience
Early on in the pandemic, our clinic invested in FDA EUA certified serologic cassettes for our own internal use. They only require a drop of blood and we have been using them to track the exposure of our employees to the virus and using that plus constant monitoring to keep our staff and patients safe. Add to that UVC bulbs in our air handler, HEPA/UVC room filtration, UVC deactivation of our rooms every night, disinfectants, a virtual waiting room, etc… and we were doing MUCH more to protect patients and staff at Regenexx Colorado HQ than the very rich health systems in our community.
Our employees began to get their vaccinations about 2-3 weeks ago. Some have just begun to check their antibody status using the serologic cassettes we have in the office. I was hearing from staff that everyone who tested was observing new antibodies, so yesterday I checked myself. Above is my cassette. The “C” line is the control to make sure enough blood was added. The “G” line is long-term antibodies known as “IgG”. The faint M line would be acute infection antibodies known as “IgM”. My cassette shows COVID-19 immunity.
Amazing Vaccine Results
When I had staff test me yesterday, I was 15 days post-vaccine. The fact that I now have IgG antibodies after just over two weeks is nothing short of remarkable. Above is a graph from a study of antibodies after COVID-19 onset (1). If you look at the “2” on the horizontal axis (Weels after Onset of Symptoms”) and follow that up to the darker IgG line, I should have a very low titer of antibodies at this point. However, after a single shot, I’m already at a healthy titer (in this serologic test, the darkness of that line is directly related to the titer).
I am blown away that two weeks out from my first Moderna vaccine I have a strong showing of COVID protective antibodies! Remember, this is a two-shot series and I have only had the first shot.
The science behind this medical miracle is nothing short of astounding. In addition, others who are testing in our office are showing the same results. Given what we know about antibodies and vaccines, I have little doubt that this vaccine is the COVID killer. Despite that, we have a serious vaccine trust problem being fueled by a natural health industry that is concerned that its ability to push “COVID protective” supplement products will soon be ended.
Our Country’s Vaccine Problem
Above are the results of several polls on who would get vaccinated against COVID-19. Note that we still have 39% who are saying that they either probably or definitely won’t get the vaccine. Given that we need about 60-70% of the population to get vaccinated to get to herd immunity, that could be a very serious issue. In fact, speaking yesterday, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb thinks the number who will actually get vaccinated is far less (2). He believes that only about 120 million people out of our 329 million (36%) will end up getting vaccinated. If he’s right, that’s far below herd immunity, even with natural immunity thrown in. In that scenario, this virus could well have time to mutate so that these vaccines are ineffective as we slog through the winter of 2021-2022 with more lockdowns and a faltering economy.
A Dangerous Trend
When I began blogging on this topic, my goal was to see where the data would lead me and report back. However, I’m now beginning to feel more like part of the problem more than part of the solution. Meaning that while my analysis of the data supports many things that counter the media hype, by continuing to supply that information, am I creating a group of people who will avoid getting vaccinated because they just don’t believe this is all that bad?
If that’s where you find yourself as a reader of this blog, I want to make sure I’m 100% clear:
- You should wear masks everyplace you’re instructed to do. As an example, you’re not getting into my office without one (we have refused to treat several people who won’t wear masks).
- This is a real virus that can kill the wrong people. That’s mostly the elderly, but in less common scenarios, it’s also sometimes the young.
- You need to get vaccinated. We have about 1 in 5 Americans whose businesses are failing because of our response. So getting to herd immunity as quickly as possible is the ONLY way that stops.
I can’t control what my readers do, but I can control what I do. I’ll be taking a break from COVID blogging for awhile. Frankly, the concept of letting others take the risks of this new vaccine and “vaccine choice” doesn’t sit well with my World War II upbringing. Meaning my Dad did his part in that war, knowing that he could have died, but that’s what needed to be done. Everybody did. In that world, the idea of getting a smallpox vaccine was a badge of honor in how science was triumphing over millennia of disease. Hence, the idea of vaccine choice is like the guys who stormed Normandy saying that they just didn’t feel up to getting up early that morning on June, 5th 1944. So I’m out for now.
The upshot? I was blown away by my antibody response to the Moderna vaccine. I don’t own any stock in that company nor do I have any relationship with them. However, I am a doctor who believes in natural solutions and this is a good one. Because we clearly need to get everyone vaccinated asap, I will stop COVID blogging for awhile. Time to exit stage left on this topic.
(1) Li G, Chen X, Xu A. Profile of specific antibodies to the SARS-associated coronavirus. N Engl J Med. 2003 Jul 31;349(5):508-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJM200307313490520. PMID: 12890855.
(2) CNBC. Dr. Scott Gottlieb estimates only about 120 million people in U.S. really want Covid vaccine. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/19/covid-vaccine-dr-scott-gottlieb-estimates-only-120-million-americans-really-want-it.html Accessed 1/20/21