The toll of COVID-19 to our world has been devastating in terms of lives lost and potential long-term health effects that will continue to be discovered as time goes on. COVID is five times deadlier than the seasonal flu. At the time of this writing, there have been 20.5 million confirmed cases and close to 350,000 deaths due to COVID in the United States.
One of the guiding principles of naturopathic medicine is prevention. For COVID, that means wearing masks and social distancing are among the most effective naturopathic therapies — to prevent infection from occurring in the first place. Another form of prevention is now available to us: the COVID vaccines.
Vaccination is a controversial topic in natural healthcare. As a naturopathic physician with a background in biological science, I always take the approach of weighing risks and benefits. The risks of the COVID pandemic are clear – we see them on the news as well as the scientific journals on a daily basis. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that received emergency use authorization by the FDA in December have very good safety profiles. While there it is certainly possible that more adverse reactions may appear as more people get vaccinated, the results so far continue to show only minor side effects.
Given this risk/benefit analysis, when I got the opportunity as a health care provider to be among the first to receive the COVID vaccine, I chose to roll up my sleeve and receive it.
The only side effects I experienced were mild headache for half a day and soreness at the injection site for about 3 days. The benefits I see are being able to render natural healthcare to my patients more safely and confidently.
If you are hesitant about this vaccine because of rumors you have heard about its safety, please consider the source. Is it credible? Does it have access to the facts and the science? What is the basis for your trust in information sources? As for me, show me the data — I trust the science.
I understand that vaccination is an individual choice — but it is one that affects us all, especially the most vulnerable members of our community. When you get the opportunity to receive the COVID vaccine, please consider it — not just for your own health, but for the protection of your loved ones. This is not about “choosing not to live in fear” — it’s more like the choice that you make to buckle your children into car safety seats. Or not to smoke in the same room as an elderly or sickly relative.
This is about the impact our choices have on all of those around us. We’re all in this together, my friends.