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Should I Get The Covid-19 Vaccine?

This time last year, we began hearing about a pneumonia like illness infecting people in China. By February 2020, the U.S reported its first death. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic. All around the world, people wore masks, social distanced and as of Jan 6, 2021 via The Coronavirus Tracking Project 260,126,223 coronavirus tests have been performed in the United States alone. Today, millions of people worldwide are currently debating whether you should be taking any of the emergency-use approved vaccines. The best advice I can offer is to do your research and make an educated decision on whether you and your family should vaccinate. 

To Treat or not to Treat? 

Whenever you make a therapeutic decision in medicine, you must look at the risk (cost)/benefit ratio. In other words, what are the potential downsides to treatment? What are the upsides (benefit) of treatment? If the risk of treatment is greater than the benefits, do not treat. If the risk of treatment is minimal, but the benefits of treatment are substantial, then you do treat. 

These are some of my concerns as I attempt to make my decision:

Our knowledge of this virus is still so new

A cluster of an unknown illness was first identified in Wuhan China in December 2019. On January 12, 2020 Chinese authorities shared the genetic sequence of a novel coronavirus. Nearly one year later, on December 14, 2020 UK Health Secretary announced that they have recorded COVID-19 infections caused by a new variant. How can we assess the risk/benefit ratio with such rapidly evolving understanding of Covid-19?

The vaccines are using novel technology

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines distributing in the U.S use something called mRNA technology. While the technology is not new, this is the first time a vaccine with this technology has been authorized for use. Traditional vaccines are made with inactive parts of the virus. Once the vaccine is introduced in your body, your immune system creates antibodies to fight off the virus. Now your immune system is prepared for when you come in contact with the virus again. Conversely, mRNA vaccines do not contain the virus. Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains it like “an email sent to your immune system that shows what the virus looks like, instructions to kill it, and then –like a Snapchat message — it disappears.”  

The following statements are from the package insert fact sheet: 


You are being offered the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to prevent Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2. This Fact Sheet contains information to help you understand the risks and benefits of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, which you may receive because there is currently a pandemic of COVID-19. The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is a vaccine and may prevent you from getting COVID-19. There is no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccine to prevent COVID-19.


In an ongoing clinical trial, the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine has been shown to prevent COVID-19 following 2 doses given 1 month apart. The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown. Revised: 12/2020 


Side effects that have been reported with the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine include: 

Injection site reactions: 

  • pain
  • tenderness of lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection
  • swelling of the lymph nodes in the same arm of the injection
  • swelling (hardness)
  • redness 
  • General side effects:
  • fatigue 
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • chills
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever 

There is a remote chance that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. For this reason, your vaccination provider may ask you to stay at the place where you received your vaccine for monitoring after vaccination. 

Signs of a severe allergic reaction can include

  • difficulty breathing 
  • swelling of your face and throat
  • a fast heartbeat 
  • a bad rash all over your body
  • dizziness
  • weakness 

These may not be all the possible side effects of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Serious and unexpected side effects may occur. The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is still being studied in clinical trials.

Clinical Trials of COVID-19 vaccines were accomplished in months, versus the years it took other vaccines

Johnson & Johnson had started investigating candidates for a potential SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in January of 2020. By March 30 2020, the company announced a lead vaccine candidate with two backups. The company notes that typically, this stage of preclinical work generally lasts one to two years. In July, the company began testing its investigational vaccine. On December 17 2020, J&J announced it will begin Phase 3 now that the trial was fully enrolled. For comparison, Johnson & Johnson has stated that it can take up to a decade to complete all 5 vaccination stages.

More from the Moderna Covid-19 Fact Sheet:


The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine is an unapproved vaccine. In clinical trials, approximately 15,400 individuals 18 years of age and older have received at least 1 dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine.

You need more than one dose.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two shots, administered several weeks apart. As Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said, “it would be a “big mistake” to rely on just one shot of his company’s vaccine to keep you safe from disease.”

Another section from the Moderna Covid-19 Fact Sheet:

The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine vaccination series is 2 doses given 1 month apart. If you receive one dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, you should receive a second dose of the same vaccine 1 month later to complete the vaccination series.

Covid-19 Vaccine Availability

Just weeks into rolling out the vaccine, Moderna is analyzing data to see if they can double supply by cutting doses in half. The UK is changing strategy all together. With new variants of the virus being found, the country has decided to try and get as many people vaccinated with one shot to try and tamper a second pandemic. However, experts warn this is a risky and UNTESTED strategy. 

My decision to not receive the COVI-19 vaccine is truly due to the nature of not having enough information about the virus itself, not enough knowledge of the effectiveness and short term and long term side effects of the vaccination. It’s clear we do not have enough supply of the vaccination and now federal officials and drugmakers are scrambling to change course. But if people whom have already received the vaccine are falling ill with coronavirus, isn’t it moot to receive the vaccination at all? For me, the risk/reward ratio does not make sense for me to take the vaccine. I would rather do my best to have a healthy immune system so that I do not easily succumb to a viral infection with overwhelming cytokine storm activity. 

If you also are not interested in taking the COVID-19 vaccine but want a holistic approach to remain safe and healthy. Come in for a consultation and together we can address any concerns you are having regarding your health. We can devise a metabolically directed eating (and supplement plan) specific to your unique body chemistry in order reduce the production of excess cytokines, reduce your risk of chronic inflammatory disease and reduce your risk from exposure to Covid-19.


  • https://covidtracking.com/
  • https://edition.cnn.com/world/live-news/coronavirus-pandemic-vaccine-updates-12-15-20/h_19f9dc6f35eb9991749bdb4868d340b0
  • https://www.jnj.com/innovation/the-5-stages-of-covid-19-vaccine-development-what-you-need-to-know-about-how-a-clinical-trial-works
  • https://www.jnj.com/our-company/johnson-johnson-announces-its-first-phase-3-covid-19-vaccine-trial-ensemble-is-fully-enrolled
  • https://www.businessinsider.com/pfizer-ceo-albert-bourla-big-mistake-skip-second-covid-shot-2020-12
  • https://www.businessinsider.com/emergency-room-doctor-positive-covid-19-after-pfizer-vaccine-2020-12
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/05/us/politics/coronavirus-vaccine-supply.html

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To learn more about Michael Rothman MD contact us today by giving us a call at (732) 268-7663, emailing us at [email protected] or by requesting an appointment online.

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