A survey from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research an affiliate of the University of Chicago, reveals 25% of U.S. adults aren’t sure if they want to get vaccinated against Covid-19. Another 25% say they won’t get vaccinated.

Covid-19 has turned our lives upside down and changed life as we knew it in ways most of us never imagined. The two vaccines now available bring hope and many questions.

Are the Covid-19 vaccines safe both short-term and long-term? Do they work? Should I get vaccinated?

To make matters more complicated, many experts disagree with each other over the answers to these questions making it quite confusing and frustrating for the general public.  As a researcher, I try to read everything I can to make informed decisions based upon current research and publications. But of course, the basis for any decisions and recommendations made today could easily change as new information surfaces.

Are the vaccines safe?

More specifically…  Can getting vaccinated put me at risk of hospitalization or even death?

The research as presented by the companies who developed the vaccine indicates the risk is extremely low for relatively healthy people.

Some researchers are concerned about giving the vaccine to elderly people with established health conditions, however. Interestingly enough, these are the people who are being prioritized to receive the vaccine.  These two views are at odds with each other. At this point in time, we do not have enough experience to know which is correct.

In the small number of people, I have been tracking who have received either the first inoculation or both, I have not seen any serious allergic reactions or other side effects that have lasted for more than a day or two. However, none of these people had a history of severe allergic reactions to either drugs or other vaccines.

If you have a history of allergic reactions you need to seriously discuss them with the healthcare professional prior to receiving the vaccine.  If you get vaccinated, be sure to wait at the very least 15 minutes after receiving it to make sure you don’t develop an allergic reaction. These reactions tend to occur very quickly and would probably show up in that time frame. The good news is that if you are in the presence of a healthcare professional when and if the allergic reaction occurs… they can usually address it very effectively using epinephrine.

Regarding other potential risks; both the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine use a synthetic form of naturally occurring messenger RNA (mRNA). Naturally occurring mRNA degrades very quickly in our body for safety reasons. For the vaccines to work the companies needed to create a form of mRNA that didn’t degrade (PEG mRNA). Regarding long-term effects, some experts are concerned about having synthetic mRNA in our bodies for long periods of time. The risk is unknown at this time and has to be weighed against any protective benefits the vaccines offer against the Covid-19 virus.

Do the vaccines work?

It is important to understand the 95% efficacy number that is reported. This 95% does not mean that 95% of the people who get the vaccine do not contract the virus! It means 95% of the people who contract the virus do not require hospitalization and that is comforting to know.

Another question that needs to be answered is how serious and threatening are the new mutated variations of the Coronavirus? Recent research from South Africa revealed that people who contacted the original Covid-19 virus and recovered had become reinfected by the newer mutated strains. And even though it is not clear to what extent the existing vaccines offer protection against these mutated strains, they seem to offer at least some protection, which again is reassuring should these mutated strains turn out to be more dangerous than the current form of the virus.

Should I get the vaccine?

I have not been vaccinated yet. I am concerned about the potential long-term effects of having synthetic mRNA in my body for long periods of time and only the passage of time will allow us to know of the long-term effects if any. So this is a potential unquantified risk.

It is also important to understand that the Covid virus is 3 to 5 times more dangerous than the flu virus. Furthermore,  According to a study, by the New England Journal of Medicine, the long-term efficacy of the vaccination is unknown. Therefore it is shortsighted to rely just on the vaccination for protection.

I have never had a flu shot and never had the flu so my immune system seems to be robust and effective but I am very proactive in maintaining a strong immune system.  I watch my diet and do not eat processed foods. I restrict my sugar intake to less than 20 grams a day, sleep 8 hours a day, and exercise 15-20 minutes a day. Also, I take very specific dietary supplements that have been shown to be clinically beneficial. (To access my list of supplements, click on the link at the end of this article.)

Getting the virus without being vaccinated poses varying degrees of risk from people who are asymptomatic (no symptoms) to people who die. The potential for the mutated strains of Covid to be more harmful is a possibility and the vaccine seems to offer at least some protection from these mutated strains.  If you have not contracted the Covid virus, or if you did contract it and recovered, you are not out of the woods yet, no matter what your age.

Another potential benefit of being vaccinated is the reduced risk should you contract the virus, of becoming seriously ill or from developing “long-haul” symptoms often referred to as “Post-Acute Covid Syndrome.” These symptoms can occur after you’ve recovered from the virus.

Long-term complications are being reported in both young and older patients. About 10 to 30% of all Covid patients will suffer from long-haul symptoms, according to the latest research from Mt. Sinai’s Center for Post-Covid Care. Researchers still don’t know whether people will be dealing with the effects for the rest of their lives, or just a few months.

While young people are less likely to die from the novel coronavirus, severe long-haul effects should be a “wake-up call” when it comes to avoiding Covid according to Texas Children’s Hospital Dr. Peter Hotez. Some of these long-haul effects include serious fatigue, shortness of breath, digestive issues, “brain fog” and a racing heart. They are not sure why, but some people can even develop type 1 diabetes after a Covid infection. Millions of Americans have already been infected, Dr. Hotez noted, and those who had mild symptoms and were able to stay home to recover are most likely to struggle later with post-acute Covid syndrome.

Up until one month ago, I was unsure about getting vaccinated. In light of all the information mentioned above, I have decided to get vaccinated.  I believe it is a wise decision.

I sincerely hope the above information removes some of the confusion and helps you to make informed decisions regarding the vaccine and your health.

For the list of dietary supplements, I take to support my immune system, CLICK HERE.

To the Best of Health,

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.