By: Dr. Pearce

The Covid vaccines so far are not different than other vaccines: They work and they cause the expected side effects. To simplify it, it feels like you have the flu for a day or two. But this is not the result of an infection, this is the body attacking the vaccine particles and developing immunity. I had 3 routine vaccines in November and I was a little achy, a little fatigued, and had a sore lymph node and injection site. My energy was back up on the second day.

It’s a matter of risk assessment. You are taking a risk when you drive as you are taking a risk when eat food. The risk is small you will be hurt. The risk of getting Covid and suffering weighed against the risk of mild (frequent), moderate (some get this), and severe (rare) side effects of the vaccine. I took the shingles vaccine since the disease can be horrible for a few weeks and there is a small chance I would get it weighed against the risks of the vaccine. I took the vaccine risk and I had moderate side effects for a day or so. Now I know I have a very small chance of suffering a bad shingles outbreak for the rest of my life.

I am looking forward to transferring back to the clinic after I get the vaccine and the number of cases nearby have dropped. I’ve been working from home since I am older and have a few other risk factors. I wonder if other employment places and gathering places (clubs, bars, amusement parks, restaurants, cruise lines, airplanes) will require proof of the vaccine before allowing admission. If the vaccine works in 90% of people, then 10% are possibly spreaders of Covid but have trouble running into another susceptible person. But if few get the vaccine, then the herd immunity is lower and only the 90% of vaccine takers are protected and can’t transmit it.

As of this writing if a person had no symptoms, then they should quarantine only 10 days from the test date rather than 14. If they had symptoms, then quarantine 10 days from the first date the symptoms went away since they can spread it with symptoms (and without symptoms before and 10 days after the symptom period.)

Isolation is staying away from others, but not your housemates. Quarantine is keeping the Covid positive people far away from everyone else so staying in a room and having food brought to you is the best practice—no leaving the house or room. Call your medical provider or health department or look at the CDC web pages for more information which is updated and improved when new information is available. Start here:

One study looked at the deaths and found that rates were increased during the time of isolation. Please be aware that all drugs bought on the street may contain Fentanyl and cause a surprise death. There are fentanyl testing kits available. Get a Narcan nasal spray for someone in your house to spray up your nose to bring you back to life. See videos on YouTube.

Isolation causes depression and people use street drugs to self-medicate. Instead call your clinic, county mental health hotline (number on the web), or health plan for a referral to a mental health provider to provide safer and more effective alternatives.

Law enforcement officers have fired weapons that are less than lethal at protesters. This caused a study of eye departments of universities in major cities to tally up the number. There were at least 41 injuries counted from fractures around the eye to the eye filling up with blood to retinal detachment (where the retina gets ripped off the back of the eyeball.
Conclusions: Non-lethal police force can permanently or temporarily damage vision or the face. If you protest, realize this and wear as close to a motorcycle helmet model of protection that you can. The police can’t tell if you are a violent person or not so you are at risk if you protest and they arrive. There have been incidents where there is no violence but the police use violence against protesters. Sometimes it is not the police but other officers who are not trained well to handle crowds and they might resort to a higher level of violence than you think is needed.

We want researchers peers to review the data whether these peers are on an FDA panel or reviewers on a medical journal. I have submitted many articles for publication and have had rejections and requests for improvement before acceptance of the article by reviewers. Also, I have been a reviewer of articles for journals and have written criticisms for the authors to address.
There is a case of a team of researchers who submitted an article months ago and it was published. Now they have sent a very similar article to multiple journals claiming it is new data. This was caught and they were asked to address this.
There are Russian and Chinese vaccines available but their data is not available so one cannot comment on the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines. The ones going to the FDA here in the USA have many, many reviewers for Emergency Use and will have more reviewers for regular use approval. After that the data will be published for the world to see instead of the many initial peer reviewers. This is a process that weeds out fraud better.
The President has met with the FDA trying to speed up the process and skip steps but the FDA has refused. The companies have refused. I am encouraged by the character of these other leaders.

The smaller, newer blue pill (Descovy®)has a newer form of tenofovir in it and we have heard for years that it is better on the bones and kidneys. Well a large trial combining other trials (a meta-analysis = superior analysis) shows there is no superiority. The older form (Truvada®) is generic and less costly now. These two pills are used for Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent transmission of HIV and to treat HIV. The newer form is in a few other meds too.

This study makes sense since we know that a vaccine, a viral infection, or a sexually transmitted infection causes a temporary rise in viral load. So it is best to check that lab when recovered back to baseline.

Keep those questions coming, Be safe!

Daniel Pearce, D.O., FACOI, AAHIVMS
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine
Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and HIV, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
HIV, Hepatitis B,C, Transgender, Suboxone Specialist, Borrego Health (Riverside, San Bernardino, San Jacinto)
Member, Coachella Valley Clinical Research Initiative