Dr Alix Bjorklund MD

MY THOUGHTS ON THE PFIZER-BIONTECH AND MODERNA COVID-19 VACCINE

​By, Alix Bjorklund Doctor of Oriental Medicine, December 2020

covid19-vaccine

You will make your own decision to get the vaccine or not to get the vaccine. It is important to make an informed decision and to read the science.  Also, investigate your sources of information. I have done the research and looked at many different articles and sources; here is some of that information.  I hope that you find this helpful and informative.

I will be getting the vaccine as soon as it is available to me, and I am recommending that you get the vaccine. 

The combination of getting vaccinated and following the CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.  The vaccine provides our best chance at establishing 
“herd immunity”.  It is estimated that approximately 80-90% of Americans over 17 years of age, will need to be vaccinated to establish herd-immunity. The CDC however, offers no herd immunity estimate, saying on its website that “experts do not know”.

According to the CDC, so far, none of the vaccine trials have reported any serious safety concerns. Trials for the first two vaccines — from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — have had fully independent safety monitoring boards, and safety data are continuously reviewed by the FDA and expert panels. Moderna and Pfizer are currently the two approved vaccines available. They both went through rigorous testing, and no steps were skipped. Both will continue to be monitored by the FDA and CDC.

Both manufacturers report that their vaccines show approximately 95% efficacy at preventing both mild and severe symptoms of COVID-19. 

According to the CDC, the body of evidence for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was primarily informed by one large, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II/III clinical trial that enrolled more than 43,000 participants. 

Interim findings from the trial, using data from participants with a median 2 month follow-up indicate that the vaccine was 95.0% effective in preventing symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in persons without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. 
For more information go to the CDC December 13, 2020, online report posted as an “MMWR Early Release”.

The COVID-19 vaccines created by Pfizer and Moderna do not have any virus or other infectious material in them. They are designed to cause your body to make copies of a harmless piece of the coronavirus, so you will not, and cannot, get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

 These vaccines are a new type of vaccine in that they contain an mRNA (messenger ribonucleic acid) to protect against infectious diseases. To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades.  This will be the first time it is being widely distributed in a vaccine.

“The single biggest advantage that the mRNA approach has is its flexibility,” explained Richard Webby, Ph.D., Director of the World Health Organization’s Collaborating Center for Influenza at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. While traditional vaccines require a personalized, energy-intensive approach for each vaccine, mRNA vaccines have a streamlined process adaptable to any microbe, making it well suited to rapidly respond to emerging pandemics, Webb says. 
Men’sHealth December 9, 2020

There are, however, at this time, unknowns about the long-term effects of mRNA.  Tal Brosh, head of the Infectious Disease Unit at Samson Assuta Ashdod Hospital in Israel, acknowledges that there are unique and unknown risks to messenger RNA vaccines, including local and systemic inflammatory responses that could [potentially in rare occasions, unknown details at this time]  lead to autoimmune conditions. 

Michal Linial, a professor of biological chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, stated her cause for concern had less to do with the mRNA and more to do with the long-term efficacy of the vaccine.  In addition, she stated that several questions remain such as whether these vaccines will be able to mount a sufficiently protective immune response and how long that immunity would last.
The Jerusalem Post November 17, 2020

At this time the known common side effects can be a very sore arm and symptoms such as a sore throat, fatigue, and body aches. Remember this is a sign that the vaccine is working. This will probably last a day or two, and you will be protected from a virus that has killed more than 330,000 people in the US alone. If you have a medical history of complicated autoimmune disease, I suggest that you consult with your rheumatologist before getting this vaccine.


​Regarding questions of the mutations that we are now seeing with COVID-19, my research suggests that this will not at this time hinder the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. Trevor Bedford, an infectious-disease expert at the Fred Hutch research center in Seattle, estimated that “it will take the virus a few years to mutate enough to significantly hinder a vaccine. “But again, he said, “this process will most likely take years rather than months.”  Experts however, are finding that the new strain known as D614G has spread much faster than the original Wuhan Variant.

There are other active ingredients in the vaccines including; lipids, fats, potassium chloride, sucrose (sugar), and acetic acid. Acetic acid can be found in vinegar and in many other foods, and can also be used as an electrolyte in IV fluids.  These help to maintain the pH or stability of the vaccine.

According to the CDC, at this time, anyone who has a severe allergy (e.g., anaphylaxis) to any of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine ingredients should not receive this vaccine.

There are of course unknowns about this vaccine.  The main question that remains unanswered is, how long will immunity (antibodies)  from COVID-19 last?  We will not know that answer for some time.  Although the vaccine will greatly lower (95% chance that it will)  your risk of getting sick and greatly reduce the severity of disease if you do get sick, we do not know if you can still transmit the virus to others.  

Also, keep in mind that results show 50% efficacy after 10 days of your first dose; and to achieve the 95% efficacy it requires both doses and it takes up to a week to achieve that.

It has become clear that “Superspreader events” played a large role in spreading COVID-19.  Avoiding these events is paramount to slowing the rate of transmission.

Given this information please understand that you must continue to wear a mask and continue to practice the art of social distancing even after you get the recommended two vaccine doses.  It is not only about you, it is about the people you love, the people you are exposed to at the store and at work. It is about making it safer for people with comorbidities, the elderly, for those people with diseases like cancer, and for people who live in wheelchairs. We have an obligation to help protect others from this virus.  There are many unknowns about this virus but one thing we know for sure is that it is highly contagious.

When you get this vaccine, you are helping to limit the spread of this very contagious virus.  You are also helping to take the pressure off of our front line workers, doctors, and nurses, and our healthcare system in general. This is paramount to our eventual  “return to normal”.  I will be getting the vaccine as soon as it is available to me, for many reasons including that I feel it is a part of my societal responsibilities.

The New Mexico Department of Health has created a “ COVID-19 Vaccine Registration” link.  Go to the New Mexico Department of Health Or https://cv.nmhealth.org/covid-vaccine/ to register. 

Other sites:
Johns Hopkins Medicine, based in Baltimore, Maryland
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Meanwhile, keep in mind that this is going to be a long winter and we all need to do our best to keep ourselves and our communities safe.  Wear your masks, wash your hands, follow all the COVID-19 safety guidelines.

With warm wishes for a Happy New Year,
Dr. Alix Bjorklund
www.dralixbjorklund.com
 Dr. Alix Bjorklund

Keep Calm
Stay Healthy

BACK IN THE OFFICE!

We have been open for a week now, and it is going smoothly. We are so glad to be back at Qi, Inc.

We have a good system in place! We are scheduling so that there is plenty of space between patients. We are cleaning between every patient, and wearing our masks and gloves. We have been tested and we all are negative!
It is a whole new world but it is working out really well. For those who have come in, THANK YOU! Although we are practicing at half capacity, we do have space for YOU.

For those of you who are a bit hesitant, please let us know if we can answer any questions.

You can email me dralix@dralixbjorklund.com
You can also email Raquel to set up your appt.
Raquelqiinc@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you soon!
Stay Healthy
Keep Calm

WORDS OF COMFORT

I hope you are all fairing well. I send you Loving Kindness each day.

I read these beautiful words of wisdom from Jack Kornfield yesterday. Jack is one of my beloved Buddhist teachers. He is clinical psychologist and an author of many books.

He was asked about the fear many of us are experiencing regarding COVID-19.
This is what Jack Kornfield said; “What is needed in a time like this are ways to steady the heart. The first step is acknowledgment and willingness to be present. You could almost whisper to yourself, ‘sadness, fear, anxiety, grief, longing,’ as if to bow to that feeling and hold it with respect. That allows the feeling to open-maybe even intensify for a bit-but eventually to soften. The next step is to bring in a

sense of compassion for all the fears and confusion and helplessness. These feelings are all part of the fight-fright-freeze instinct in the body and the mind. If I make space for the feelings and they have time to be felt, it’s as if my awareness gets bigger and I can hold all of this with greater ease and compassion and presence and steadiness.”

Ah, his words bring such comfort. May this inspire you to breathe deep, to be present with your feelings, and to make time for silence so that you can hear them.

(if you want to read more from this interview, check out the New York Times Magazine 4.13.20)

QIGONG VIDEO

Hope you enjoy this video on Qigong!
– Dr. Alix

video credit: Michelle Andrews

HOW TO KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG

The most important action you can take right now to keep your body healthy, is to keep your immune system strong.
Most of you know the basics.
Eat healthy. Consume less processed food and sugar, more fruits and vegetables. Since we are home, you have all the time you need to cook healthy food. Pull out those cookbooks that have been collecting dust on the shelf and be creative. A good friend shared with me her idea of cooking food from different parts of the world and incorporating themes into your dinner time. Great Idea for teaching your children about different cultures and traditions.

Get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Meditate at least 5 minutes every day. Reducing stress is paramount to a healthy immune system. I know for many of us, this is challenging right now. A daily mindfulness and meditation practice will literally reduce your stress hormones.
Basic supplements that help the immune system include;
Vitamin C 3,000 mg/day. Vit D 2-5,000 IU/day. Zinc picolinate 45mg/day, Cortisol balancing supplements are also important.
Antivirals include; Monolaurin, Lysine, Oregano Oil.
I sell all of the above at my clinic. Additionally, I prescribe anti-viral Chinese Herbal formulas and other products that have been researched to increase the immune system response.
Keep Calm & Stay Healthy!

CONTINUED GROWTH

Like so many of you, I am waiting out this shutdown, sheltering in place. Today, I watch the snow gently falling. It is beautiful & peaceful, but I am concerned about all my newly sprung green plants and flowers.I recognize that this is the perfect metaphor for our lives right now. We are waiting out this storm, unsure of what is next. We cannot yet make plans, we cannot play in the parks with our friends and family. We cannot spring forth with our usual energy of spring. Rather, we must wait, and trust, and be still.
That is often the natural lesson of spring, especially here in the high desert. Plants burst out their greeness in the hope of the early spring warmth and sunshine. But then the late spring snow comes and covers all their infant greeness. Ugh the sigh of, oh no. Will they recover? Will the blossoms that were about to spring still happen? What now? So much we do not know.

My experience of living in this high desert for 30 years, tell me all will be well. The plants, flowers, and flowering trees will be ok. They might be a little stunned. It might take some time for recovery, bu their growth will continue. Soon they will be alive with color, and fruit and green leaves. They have weathered this storm many times. Their roots are strong.
This resiliency of nature gives me hope and reminds me that we will all survive this somehow, someway. We will be together again soon. We will be open again soon.
Hang in there, everyone. Keep breathing deep. I will be here for you when I can open again. Blessings for our continued growth.

Dr. Alix

AUTHOR

Dr. Alix Bjorklund, owner of Qi, Inc.