It's finally 2021 and Covid-19 is still here, but we've actually made it to the crossroads where vaccines are rolling out! Perhaps somewhat slowly and inefficiently, but rolling out none the less. I feel very fortunate for my profession to be part of the 1a group in Washington and to have been able to get my first dose of the vaccine.
I know not everyone is comfortable with getting a new vaccination and I completely understand - while I believe in public health and vaccination (no smallpox or polio? Thanks public health!), I do personally feel that the vaccination schedule for children is too aggressive, so I opted for a very delayed vaccination schedule for my children which worked well for us. The Covid-19 vaccine and the situation surrounding it is very different from childhood immunizations, however, and I would encourage you not to lump it in with preconceived notions about the past.
While masking and social distancing are still the most important tools we have to bring to bear right now, vaccination is key to protecting the population and saving lives long term. The technology for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is different from your "typical" live or dead virus cocktail, but mRNA vaccines aren't something new. In fact, the research that led to this vaccine started with work to stabilize the Coronavirus spike protein 12 years ago, which is part of how the first Covid-19 mRNA vaccinations were developed so quickly. While no mRNA vaccine has been brought to commercial market before - mostly due to issues with logistics and distribution related to the cold temperatures they require - we DO have other mRNA vaccines that have been tested in humans and approved.
I also feel like it is important to note that it is not possible to get Covid-19 from the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines which is the most common question that I get from patients at this time. It is common for people to feel ill for a day after getting the 2nd shot, but this is a normal activation of the immune system - mRNA vaccines contain no actual virus particles, only the blueprints to teach your body how to fight the virus efficiently (as a gross oversimplification, but you get the idea...) and it is not possible to get Covid-19 from this type of vaccine technology.
There are quite a number of myths about the vaccine that are worth debunking, and a good list of them can be found here in this article from UC Davis. No microchips or conspiracies in the vials, no changes to your DNA for sure!
It is a solid vaccine with good research behind it, and the more people we can vaccinate the more likely we are to be able to see our loved ones again, send the kids back to school, and go out to eat. Man, remember when dinner and a movie was a normal date night? Yeah, me too, vaguely, but there are some fun lists of what "date night" can look like now during pandemic times.
But I digress - vaccination, its recommended if you feel comfortable with it, but where do you get the dang thing once your phase comes up and how do you know when its your turn?
Let me help you with that.
For the most part, these efforts are being organized at the county level, so checking your county Covid-19 webpage is the best place to start. You can find some of those for our area here:
You can also register online at Kaiser Permanente, where they are vaccinating all members of the community in the proper phase with registration. Kaiser members can simply log in to their kp.org account and book a vaccine appointment if they are in the current phase, while community members can go online and complete the registration process to get an appointment here:
Kaiser Permanente Covid-19 Page
Yes, its clunky and the wait times might be long, but the more we can work with public health officials to keep this effort moving the better off we will be. Consider it an exercise in patience and perseverance perhaps, which are two traits all of us have probably been practicing more than we expected to in recent months.
Also, remember that Acupuncture is a great tool to help boost your immune system while you wait, and support your body through the vaccination process! If you haven't been in for a while think about booking in to boost your immune system, or to help with stress during these still challenging times.
Until then be well, take care, and ask questions anytime!
Yours in health
your friendly neighborhood acupuncturist
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.