Why I Call the Delta Variant “Covid-21”

With more than 700,000 Americans dead from this lethal disease, we are still very much in the soup.

Should you get a booster, which one and when?  At this point, only Pfizer has been approved for a 3rd shot/2nd booster.  It will be the same vaccine you already received, and it is only approved for those 65+ and adults who are immunosuppressed or working in high-risk environments.  And for the rest of you?  You must weigh your exposure risks and the hygiene measures you’re practicing.  If you are frequently exposed to the public, either through work or by choice, you should get a 2nd booster when it’s your turn.

When Moderna’s UPDATED booster comes out, it will include a flu vaccine along with it.  They have applied to for Emergency Use Authorization to start giving 2nd boosters of their existing vaccine but to date have not received it.  

Johnson & Johnson have similarly applied for EUA to give their existing shot as a booster, which after a second shot has been shown to produce 94% effective immunity against the Delta Variant.  With only one shot, the efficacy is 70% against Delta.  

A study in Belgium has shown that the Moderna vaccine versus Pfizer caused double the amount of antibodies to be formed and it is the clear winner in efficacy against the Delta Variant.  I am glad many of you opted for this one over the Pfizer, as I have made my preference for Moderna known in prior newsletters.

There is some evidence that a mix and match approach causes greater immune response over sticking with one maker. So, if you are Pfizer vaccinated, see if you can get the Moderna for your 2nd booster when it’s your turn.

For myself, I will not be getting a booster of the same J&J vaccine.  Instead, I will wait for the retooled version and then make a decision.  If there are no immune issues, I would wait a full year before I take a retooled booster.  Some studies show antibodies last much longer than 8 months, especially if you are healthy.

Should you get the flu shot?  It’s no surprise that the flu, which is caused by a virus, had very low cases in 2020 because we were protecting against another airborne virus, SARS-2 through isolating, masking and increased hygiene.  The CDC strongly recommends that people get their flu shots this year.  Some studies suggest that since we were so isolated in the past 18 months that our immunity against the common cold and flu viruses has flattened.  That may be true for the majority of the population.  For those of you under my care, most of you are taking some sort of immune boosting support that will minimize disease severity.  As usual, this year I will not get a flu vaccine.  Please weigh the pros and cons to make a decision for yourself.  Consider your health status, age, stress levels, hygiene practices and public exposure risks.

I have cared for about 60 people who have tested positive for Covid, and personally observed Covid symptoms and signs for people who never had a positive result, even with repeat testing. Of all these, there has been only one hospitalization for 2 days of an 18-year-old young man who went to college on the East Coast.  He is now recovering at home.  Remember that the PCR test (the most sensitive we have) is only 70% accurate and can easily miss mutations.  The Delta Variant is so different than the original virus that we should think of it as a new, more lethal version…hence my thinking about “Covid-21.”  I hope to inspire you to update your thinking on this as well because we must continue to take this extremely seriously.  The Delta Variant is much more serious across all ages, including children and young adults.

In August, I experienced a flurry of my patients getting sick with the Delta Variant after air travel.  All but one were Pfizer vaccinated, and that one person had received the J&J but had not been under my care for quite some time.  No one was seriously ill from this group (they were all vaccinated) and there were no hospitalizations or deaths. It has now been revealed that after 6-8 months, Pfizer’s resistance to the Delta Variant is only 47%.

Should I get the vaccine if I’m pregnant?  Ideally, you would get the vaccine in the 3rd trimester if possible.  And if you are living a very isolated lifestyle with rock solid hygiene protections, the best time to be vaccinated is while breast feeding because you will pass antibodies from the vaccine to your infant through your milk.

How do I protect my kids?  The best thing for children is to have all the adults in their life to be fully vaccinated.  The more they can play outside and see friends outside, the better.

Should I have my child vaccinated?  Pfizer has applied for approval for the 5-11-year-old age group to be vaccinated. Once FDA approval is granted, yes you should.  It may ease your mind to know that this age group will only receive 1/3 of the dose that adults received.  You can certainly utilize functional medicine that will assist the immune system to respond appropriately to the vaccine.  This involves a few supplements, and not all would be easily swallowed by young children. If your child cannot swallow pills, there are a few options for liquid or chewable forms of the supplements.  An important support would be for your child to be on an anti-inflammatory diet for 7-10 days before receiving the vaccine.  This would mean: go off all dairy (milk/products from animals) eggs, corn, gluten, processed foods, tomatoes/ketchup/tomato sauce, and minimize sugar.  See my pre-Covid/pre-vaccine immune support protocol here.

What about Ivermectin?  India’s devastating Delta Variant numbers have precipitously dropped following the Indian government’s administration of “Covid Kits” which notably contain 12mg Ivermectin tablets, along with Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Zinc.  I understand that formulations for animals and too high of doses can be deadly.  But what about correct doses for humans and how can we explain the huge drop to 0.01% positive cases in India?  It will be a shame if this is really about big pharma making money on their vaccines.  However the vaccines are safe and effective and are our best way out of this pandemic right now.

What about the new antiviral pill, Molnupiravir from Merck and Ridgeback?  Early data from the global Phase 3, randomized placebo-controlled double blind, multi-site study (the proper way to do it) show that this antiviral medication, when given early, significantly reduces hospitalizations and deaths.

Very fortunately, here in California we are doing the best of any State in the Union.  We have fewer deaths, hospitalizations, and cases per capita because our Governor had us go early and go hard, and it has paid off.  California is back in business, big time(!) and we are playing catch up, so allow extra time to get things done and take an extra helping of patience as well.  This is due to the fact that we have more than 70% of eligible people vaccinated.

If you know anyone who “just doesn’t feel like getting the vaccine,” please be courageous and invite them into a discussion.  We have lost over 700,000 Americans to the pandemic.  No one is so exceptional that they can simply choose to forego this one.  Studies show that unvaccinated people spread the virus asymptomatically at a much higher rate than vaccinated people.  If you have a legitimate medical reason to not have the vaccine, then that is different.  What is happening in some states such as Alabama, Idaho, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida breaks my heart.  It is completely unnecessary, and I really do not know how our hospital workers carry on; in fact, many have quit due to utter exhaustion, heartbreak and outrage at this unnecessary surge.  Since the hospitals are full of Covid patients, MANY other people are dying because there is no room for their necessary medical procedures.  I personally know of 3 (now deceased) people to whom this has happened.  The more people who remain unvaccinated, the more variants of concern that will arrive. Here’s the latest.

Please, consider the source of your information.  Unless it is coming from a licensed doctor (not an internet influencer who has let their license lapse) or a hospital, it’s probably inaccurate.  And if they are telling you to not get the vaccine, ask yourself: “How is this person making money by spreading this information?”  Hopefully you will then turn to trusted experts and follow our proven guidance.  We have administered almost 400 million doses of the vaccine in the US. They are proven to be safe and effective.  Yes, there is a tiny percentage of people who have severe adverse effects related to the vaccine.  This is dramatically eclipsed by the number of deaths in the unvaccinated vs how well the vaccinated people are doing.

Do the vaccines reduce fertility?  One study in Miami of a small cohort of 45 males ages 18-50 showed that the sperm counts actually increased following vaccination with two mRNA shots.  Even though there is some chance that this was just normal variability counts in these men, the study strongly suggests that there is no reduction in male fertility.

In women, studies show there is zero evidence of the vaccine changing fertility.  Yes, it does cause menstrual changes. Experts agree that any time the immune system is challenged…with the flu or with Covid for example, a woman’s menstruation may change temporarily.  It does not indicate future infertility.

What about Long Covid?  Fortunately, no one who is under my care is experiencing Long Covid.  Everyone is recovering completely.  I think this is because I am on top of protecting the brain and cardiovascular system for you all.

The best way to get through “Covid-21” is to get fully vaccinated and practice the same hygiene measures and social distancing that you did in the very beginning of the pandemic.  Even now, being fully vaccinated.  That is what I am doing.

You can sign up for your vaccine here.  If you are getting vaccinated for the first time and you are over 30, choose Moderna.  If under 30, J&J.  After all, soon you will need to show proof of vaccination in order to enter restaurants, bars, gyms, and salons. This is absolutely a smart and intelligent life saving move by our mayor.

Because I feel the vaccine is so important, I have decided to not see any patients in person who have not had the vaccine.  If you have chosen to remain unvaccinated, I will consult with you on a virtual basis only.  There is a much greater risk that you will carry the virus into my office.  Here is one anecdotal story: my 24-year-old vaccinated daughter works in a hospital.  When I saw I her, she had all 4 ‘covid points’ weak.  We masked and distanced immediately.  She rolled her eyes.  I asked her to please always wear a mask around others as she was carrying the virus asymptomatically. About 9 days later, she was complaining that her sense of smell had gone haywire.  I gently reminded her that she was carrying the virus.  Then it all made sense to her.

Please, get the vaccine and have all your loved ones get it, too.  Let’s all do our part as citizens to end this pandemic.

Copyright © 2021 Dr. Jeanette Ryan, DC, IFMCP, All rights reserved.
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