Enhance Your Health
Health Tip of the Week: Vaccine Safety and Informed Consent
Lately, in my practice as a chiropractor, one of the most common questions I am asked about on a daily basis is my opinion on the Covid-19 vaccine. Patients ask me if they should get it, not get it or wait for more time to go by before getting it.
This is a difficult topic to report on. I have written many articles and I have been published in the editorial pages of the Atlantic City Press on vaccine safety. In every single instance, my writings have brought out severe criticism, name calling and outright hostility from a significant portion of readers.
Vaccines are a sacred cow in our country and around the world. According to the Oxford Languages, a sacred cow is an idea, custom, or institution held, especially unreasonably, to be above criticism (with reference to the Hindus' respect for the cow as a sacred animal). According to Webster’s Dictionary a sacred cow is an idea that is often unreasonably immune from criticism or opposition. Vaccination and vaccines are one such topic that illicit a sacred cow response.
Vaccines were developed to rid the world of disease, halt needless suffering and save lives. Great stuff. How can one argue with such a premise? And I never have. In all of my writings, I have never taken a stance against vaccines, for or against.
My articles have always taken the viewpoint of vaccine safety and informed consent.
My questions concerned the manufacturing of vaccines and how could they be improved upon from a safety perspective. All drugs and medications on the market have an intended effect and then also a negative side effect that occurs within a statistical portion of the population.
Pharmaceutical industries spend years and millions of dollars trying to make drugs safer and minimize the side effects and risks to taking their drugs. Every drug comes with a written insert listing all possible side effects and interactions, so if one chooses to they can read and assess their risk for taking the medication.
Vaccines have an intended effect (prevent disease) and unfortunately there are also negative side effects that statistically effects a small percentage of the population. Vaccines contain a written insert that lists possible statistical side effects, interactions and negative health events. These stats were compiled during the vaccine testing and trials.
Vaccine researchers theorize that side effects can come from the additives in the vaccines. In the past, when I have written about vaccine safety, it was from the perspective of improving vaccines by either removing additives or coming up with additives that make the vaccine safer.
The issue of improving vaccine safety has never gotten any traction. This is due in part to our own federal government. The federal government in 1986 wrote the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act which preempts all design-defect claims against vaccine manufacturers brought by plaintiffs seeking compensation for injury or death caused by a vaccine’s side effects.
In a nut shell, this act indemnifies vaccine manufacturers from being sued for a vaccine reaction. In my opinion, this act has removed incentive for making a vaccine safer once it has been placed on the market.
The federal government then decided to set up the federal tax funded National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. This program gives money to people who have suffered severe reactions to vaccinations. This program has paid out over 4 billion dollars since its inception.
As far as informed consent relates to vaccination, informed consent is permission granted in the knowledge of the possible consequences, typically that which is given by a patient to a doctor for treatment with full knowledge of the possible risks and benefits.
This is not typically done with childhood vaccinations. The doctor tells you its time for your child’s shot and it is given. No discussion of any possible side effects or reactions. My issue is that possible reactions, even if significantly small, should be explained to each patient prior to the vaccination being given.
As far as the Covid-19 vaccination is concerned, the doctors on the news have been fairly upfront with common vaccination side-effects; injection site soreness, malaise, body aches, fever, etc.
The Center for Disease control on its website has a link to the US government’s vaccine adverse event reaction system reporting page (www.vaers.hhs.gov) This is where doctors are supposed to report if their patients have had a reaction to a vaccination. Sadly, only less than 1% of adverse vaccination reactions are actually reported on by doctors taking the time to log in and fill out the reporting forms.
What I have done was log onto the CDC web page and search for the Vaccine Adverse Reaction Reporting System Results for Covid-19. The page lists reactions alphabetically and contains a list of hundreds of possible health effect conditions and assigns a number as to how many people have had that reaction.
This website and the information on it should be part of the informed consent process. The only way it is currently part of the informed consent process is if you have the gumption to take the time to look for the information.
As of Friday, January 22, 2021 there were over 17 million Covid-19 vaccinations given out. Out of the 17 million vaccinations, 7,804 vaccination adverse events were reported on by doctors using the adverse reaction reporting system.
I will only list adverse events that have a number that is significant. Please remember that statistically only less than 1 % of doctors officially report on vaccination reactions using the government system.
The vaccination reaction will be followed by the number of people out of the 7,804 people who reported the symptoms.
Abdominal pain (98), anaphylactic reaction (93), blood clotting protein issue (150), back pain (117), high blood pressure (214), low body temperature (135), chest pain and or discomfort (420), chills (1102), cold sweat (74), cough (344), Tested positive for covid-19 (97), died after vaccination (121), diarrhea (277), dizziness (1127), distortion of taste (140), difficulty swallowing (122), difficulty breathing (522), redness at injection site (253), fatigue (1256), feeling hot and flushing (720), abnormal heart rate (1679), high blood sugar (235), sensory numbness in one or more body parts (380), immediate post injection reaction (163), inability to go to work (109), flu like symptoms (60), injection site pain (790), lip swelling (104), lymph node enlargement (157), migraine headache (94), muscle weakness (187), nausea (1081), sore throat (204), palpitations (304), itchy skin (490), fever (1099), swelling of face (118), swelling of tongue (103), rapid heart beat (317), throat tightness (204), muscle shakes and tremors (179) and vomiting (333).
Once again, I only listed reactions that occurred in 90 or more people reported. The worst reaction listed, which I had no idea of prior to my research was the 121 people who had died from the vaccination.
This is what informed consent looks like. You are given a list of what can happen and the percentage of people that it has occurred to.
For instance, if 100 people out of 7804 had a reaction such as difficulty breathing, then the percentage of how many people have had that reaction is 1.28%.
If we look at the total percentage of reported vaccine reactions out of 17 million vaccinations, the adverse reaction reported rate is 0.04%.
The risk from dying from the vaccine is 0.00071765% Please keep in mind that not all reactions are officially reported so that number could be higher.
Now that we have the information, how is it used to make a decision as to if and when you decide to vaccinate? It all comes down to risk factors.
Are you generally a healthy person with O-positive blood type, normal vitamin D levels, exercise regularly and have a strong immune system? Are you in a lower age group? Or are you a person with underlying health conditions such as auto-immune disease (diabetes, thyroid, asthma), heart disease and cancer? Are you overweight? High blood pressure? Below normal vitamin D levels? Are you of an older age group?
All of these conditions predispose you to a severe covid-19 illness and possible death. That being said, an adverse reaction rate of 0.04% from the vaccination may be considered less of a risk than acquiring severe covid-19.
This is the discussion that we are having in my house, as my wife has severe diabetes, low vitamin D levels and a lack of physical activity due to a sit down job.
Once again, I reiterate that my stance is not against vaccination and the prevention of disease, but my stance is based upon vaccine safety and improving how vaccines work within the body without risk to health.
My stance is also on informed consent and freedom of choice. I also feel that you have the right as an individual to choose what you do with your body based on your own risk factors and your own risk to benefit ratio.
Vaccine or no vaccine, there are things to do and keep doing to slow the spread of the virus while we wait for the body’s viral adaption phase to continue (historically, the body adapts to viruses in 18 to 24 months, which means viruses have less of an effect on the body).
The first thing is continue to wear masks. Studies have shown that masks significantly decrease the chances of transmitting or contracting the coronavirus. But not all masks provide equal protection. Depending on the fabric and number of layers, homemade and simple cloth masks have a range of effectiveness that can be as low as 26%, which leaves the wearer vulnerable. Medical masks work, not your bandana, ski face covering or t-shirt sleeve. Medical masks are the most effective with the N-95 mask having the highest effectiveness.
Wash your hands every chance you get, avoid touching your face with unclean hands.
Social distance. Stay out of crowds especially indoors. Socialize outside. Newest research shows that the coronavirus spread rate is extremely low if you are outdoors and at least 6 ft away from another person.
In addition, true health comes from within the body. During this time of the pandemic, it is extremely important to pay the utmost attention to your diet, exercise program, sleep patterns, stress reduction, mental health and neural impulse flow which controls all the systems in your body.
As a chiropractor, I can offer advice and coaching on the first 5 parts of true health and I can and will directly play apart in improving your neural impulse flow through spinal adjustments.
From my chiropractic perspective, health comes from within. Not everyone is afforded the same opportunities that I have in my life, such as the ability to eat good, wholesome foods, practice hygiene and sanitation, supplement my diet with vitamins and minerals.