Dear Patients, Family, and Friends,

We hope that you are keeping warm and cozy, especially if you’re experiencing some wild winter weather, like we are in Massachusetts! We have been hearing from many of you asking our opinion about how to best prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine. As we have written before, there are many parts of the public health response to this pandemic, including vaccination.

What follows are our basic principles and thoughts. These ideas have not been tested in clinical trials with COVID-19 specifically, and believe us, we are advocating for that to happen through the various channels we have. We we hope to help diminish harm and enhance efficacy of the vaccine from following these basic principles. These are our thoughts for our patients and loved ones at this time. Please consult your physician on any health decisions you make.

1.     Please get tested for the virus before being vaccinated to ensure you are not actively ill with COVID-19. To be sick and also to take the vaccine may be too much unnecessary stress on your body and may overburden your immune system.

2.     Here are reasonable steps to take based on basic naturopathic concepts, and mirror what we do on the other side of the equation, to support an optimally functioning immune system, should a person be exposed to the virus. We want an immune response to the vaccine, while limiting harm. Here’s what we suggest:

  1.     Take probiotics and if your diet allows, eat cultured/fermented foods (think here, yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, etc.) in the weeks before and after your vaccine. Research shows that people who have a robust and diverse microbiome seem to fare better with vaccines, and vaccines seem to work better. This makes sense when you consider the ecosystem within which the immune system works. 
  2.      Include prebiotic foods in your diet. In order for probiotics and probiotic food and drink to work best, they need prebiotics on hand. You don’t need another supplement here, just be mindful of including insoluble fiber foods in your diet. Prebiotics are indigestible by human enzymes. They function as essential food for probiotics, which in turn help support optimal digestion as well as enhanced immunity and studies have shown this helps with response to vaccination.

  3.      Include nutritional supplementation with Vitamins D (5,000 IU), E (400 IU), C (1-2,000 mg), the mineral zinc (15 mg with 1-2 mg copper), and essential fatty acids, like fish oil, for an optimal immune resiliency. We would say for the two weeks before and then afterward, this plan would be recommended for most people. For a more long term set of recommendations related to your food intake, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, constitutional homeopathic remedy, please work with your health care provider. As you know our work is always individualized and personalized for each person at that particular point of time and contextualized within your overall health.

  4.      Refrain from junk food and especially sweets before and right afterward your vaccine, at least for a couple of weeks, though the longer the better.

  5.      Refrain from alcohol before and soon after, again for a couple of weeks. Maintain adequate hydration.

  6.      Prioritize adequate and restful sleep for a couple of weeks before and after.

  7.      Avoid adding new types of foods, personal care products, household products, bedding and clothing in the week or two before or after the vaccine. We want to a) prevent an allergic reaction which is distracting, if you will, to your immune system and b) want to be sure that if there is sensitivity reaction to the vaccine, it is not confused with other allergic responses.

  8.      Stop smoking any substance, and please stop vaping any substance before and for the next weeks. (Of course, this is an essential health recommendation, not limited to before and after taking the vaccine!)

  9.      Take the vaccine when you feel well and are not ill with any other infection(s) or with any allergy symptoms.

  10.      Use a general, wide-acting anti-inflammatory herb, such as curcumin, either in pill form or in cooking (turmeric!) to help ensure good immune response. There are other wonderful foods to add in this category such as mushrooms, onion, garlic, and ginger.

  11.      Post vaccine, work to improve blood flow and lymphatic channels in the area/arm where the vaccine was given. General exercise, such as walking, running, yoga, biking etc., help and then more specifically, if needed, local lymphatic massage.

  12.      In our practice, as one of our main tools, we recommend the use of personalized, individualized homeopathy. We do not recommend the use of other homeopathic remedies to be used in a routine fashion. We prefer to use remedies which are based on how the individual has responded to the stress, if they have at all.

  13.      More controversial would be the following two points:       

    •           i.     First, in those people being vaccinated that believe that were somehow hurt by the prior vaccines in their childhood, consider taking the mRNA instead of the older technologies. This is not proven but is a theory we believe makes sense. If you were hurt by an older vaccine then something in it hurt you. For the past 40 years we have asked for cleaner vaccines, with fewer molecules present, less preservatives, less efforts at up-regulating immune response. Essentially, that is what we have in this mRNA technology. Less of everything. If you believe you were hurt by one of the old techniques, why repeat that process? For example, Paul nearly died twice from vaccinations when younger. For him, he is intentionally choosing the mRNA vaccine.

    •           ii.     On the other hand, in those that are dealing with cancer and are considering getting a vaccine, consider not taking the mRNA vaccine, but rather, take one of the vaccines that were developed using older technology, those where molecules are included to upregulate immune function, the adjuvants. Separate from the COVID-19 topic, this is part of a complex technique that uses amongst other things, radiotherapy or cryotherapy in conjunction with vaccines, such as for yellow fever and typhus to achieve an abscopal effect. Too much to discuss here that takes us off topic, but this is our current thinking.

  14.      Over the last month, we have seen in our practice patients who have been vaccinated and did not report any adverse reaction beyond a sore arm and perhaps fatigue the next day. We have had a number of patients who felt sick after the vaccine, with varying presentations such as flu-like symptoms, headache, dizziness, extreme fatigue and more. For these patients, we prescribe the indicated homeopathic remedy alongside other natural medicine approaches and each has responded quickly and gone on to feel well in short time. If you feel you are having a severe reaction, go to your nearest emergency medicine clinic; if you feel ill in other ways and are a patient of record, please schedule an appointment.

3.     Advocate for quantitative COVID-19 testing instead of the dichotomous yes/no testing available today. If your antibody titres are high, consider allowing others to receive the vaccine ahead of you for now, people who currently have no or little protection.

4.     After a few weeks, ask for antibody titres to be drawn, post-vaccination, to see if the vaccine worked for you. 

5.     The WHO continues to oscillate regarding the vaccination of pregnant women, at least with the mRNA vaccines. But the natural question that follows is, who is pregnant? In other words, female-bodied individuals who are of childbearing age and sexually active with male-bodied individuals should probably take a pregnancy test before getting these vaccines.

That’s the general plan. And so far, things have gone well for our patients.

We also wanted to mention here that we have begun to see our share of COVID-19 long-haul patients and work with the full array of naturopathic medicines to help support recovery. There is no cookbook approach, so please come in (virtually!) and let’s work together.

We pray that the vaccine part of our public health efforts, along with all the other measures promoted since early last year and the ongoing natural medicine preventive care, will work to put an end to our most challenging times. If you are interested in following the epidemic updates that Paul has been writing for 20 years, you can subscribe here.

With love and light,

Amy & Paul