As we begin to obtain some sense of normality, I would like to take some time to reflect on the past 16 months. First, I would like to thank the awesome staff at The Care Group. Yes, I would like to brag about them. They have worked hard since the pandemic began, often while we were understaffed, to serve our patients while parenting, homeschooling, and dealing with their own personal issues. I have tremendous respect for each of them. Second, I would like to thank our patients, who have given us an outpouring of support. I often begin a telemedicine visit by being asked “How are you guys doing?”. Thank you for asking.

To vaccine or not to vaccine that is the question.

I have been asked this question so many times I considered recording my response. While I will not do that, I would like to share my observations. The bottom line is that the decision to get the vaccine or not is personal. I will support you either way.

Most people don’t seem to have serious reactions to the vaccine. Having said that, I see more people react to the COVID-19 vaccine than, for example, the annual flu vaccine. The reactions can range from nothing to a sore arm or out of commission for 3 or 4 days. More people seem to react more to the second shot than the first.

By the way, I ask everyone who received the vaccine how they responded. I don’t have a feel for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (the one-and-done shot) as I haven’t had enough patients who received it. It seems that patients who had COVID-19 are more likely to react to the vaccine. Again, just my observations. There was a time when the observations of clinicians meant something and guided their recommendations. It seems now in medicine everything needs to be “cookie-cutter”, and everyone should fit in some sort of box. Standardized clinical practice guidelines have become the norm in modern medicine. I am an advocate for science, evidence, and quality care, but I do believe the care plan should be individualized. You can learn about my approach to individualized patient care here.

Recent Research on Vaccines

Have you read the recent study in the Cleveland Clinic? The conclusion was that people who’ve already had COVID-19 may not benefit from vaccination. They performed the study on 52,238 employees in an American healthcare system. COVID-19 did not occur in anyone over the five months of evaluation among 2,579 individuals previously infected with COVID-19, including 1,359 who did not take the vaccine. More research is being done to uncover how natural immunity compares to immunity from the vaccination and how long immunity lasts after a case of COVID-19.

COVID-19 Treatments

I am frequently asked about treatments like ivermectin and before that hydroxychloroquine.  Currently, neither is FDA approved for prevention or treatment of COVID-19.  We are not prescribing either at this time. However, we do have various protocols for COVID-19 prevention, COVID-19 treatments, and treatment of the so-called “COVID Long Haulers”.  If you have questions regarding any of these protocols, I suggest you set up a telemedicine appointment to discuss.  Please be respectful of the fact that currently we are getting inundated with COVID-19 related calls and we have created a COVID-19 Page on our website to address many questions and concerns. We try and keep it updated regularly.

Vitamin D and the Immune System

In March 2020, when the pandemic began, we sent out an email suggesting that vitamin D has been shown to boost your immune system and help with respiratory infections. Since then, there have been numerous studies showing that vitamin D helps prevent COVID-19 and mitigate the symptoms if you were to get it. What about zinc, melatonin, vitamin C, etc.? It just makes sense that people, who take care of themselves by paying attention to their nutrition, sleep, stress management, and exercise are less likely to get sick.

Reconnecting With Each Other

A crisis brings out the best and the worst in people as their true character comes to the surface. As we begin to come out of the COVID-19 cave, let’s show the compassion and respect everyone deserves. I know personally, I can’t wait to reconnect with friends and family.

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About The Care Group: We promote optimal wellness by providing an individualized, functional medicine approach to address root causes rather than simply treating symptoms. We help patients with a wide range of issues including autoimmune/ inflammatory disease, digestive disorders, hormone imbalances, and mood disorders. To learn more about our practice, click here.

About the Author: Dr. Gerard Guillory, MD is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and has published two books on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In 1985, he opened The Care Group, PC. Today, his clinic is a Primary Care facility that is a hybrid of functional and traditional medicine treating patients with digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, and other conditions. You can learn more about Dr. Guillory here.