As information is changing so rapidly with COVID-19, we are starting a Blog to keep everyone as up to date as possible. Please come back often to check for updates. Once we move beyond COVID-19, we will keep you updated with additional medical information.
Monoclonal Antibody Treatment: San Diego now has established a facility that will provide monoclonal antibody treatment for people who are at high risk for complications from COVID-19. These risk factors include age 65 or more, or certain individuals with diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, or other chronic medical conditions. Please look under the COVID-19 tab on my website to find out more information about who is eligible for this treatment. This is the same type of treatment that the former president received when he contracted the disease last year, and it has been shown to decrease the chance of hospitalization and death. The important thing about this treatment is that it is only effective within the first 10 days of symptom onset, so it is extremely important that if you have any symptoms that potentially could be COVID-19, GET TESTED EARLY. Treatment is free and is available for anyone who meets the criteria.
New COVID-19 vaccines: The CDC is currently evaluating the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, and the AstraZeneca and Novavax vaccines are not far behind. With different choices, many people are wondering which is the best vaccine to get. At this point, I would recommend that if any one of these vaccines is available, I would go ahead and get it. Although the 94-95% efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines appear to be higher than the 66% efficacy of the Janssen vaccine, it does not mean that you should not get the Janssen one. It is important to remember that the first two vaccines were tested when they were fewer mutations of the vaccine, so they appear to be more effective. The Janssen vaccine was tested later, with a higher incidence of circulating mutated strains which may be more resistant to the vaccine, so the comparison is not equivalent. What is very important to remember is that for all five of these vaccines, the preliminary data show that they are all extremely effective at preventing admission to the intensive care unit and preventing death, which in reality is the most important benefit of these vaccines. If you get a vaccine but later still contract COVID-19, it is much more likely to be a mild case. It is important to note that when a group of virus scientists were surveyed, all of them stated they would get the Janssen vaccine now rather than wait three weeks for the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
Vaccine side effects: While the incidence of anaphylactic reactions to the vaccines is low, many people do get side effects from the vaccine. They do include fatigue, headache, fever, and local reactions on the arm. You can try preventing these by taking Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medicines before and after getting the vaccine. There has been a number of patients who have developed a delayed local reaction consisting of enlarging area of redness and warmth on the arm, close to the injection site, starting up to one week after getting the infection. It can be associated with a low-grade fever as well, so taking Tylenol or anti-inflammatory medications, as well is using cool compresses on the arm can be helpful. If you have severe pain associated with it, or a high fever, please call the office.
How to get vaccinated: if you are currently not eligible to receive the vaccine, you can sign up to be notified when it is your turn at MyTurn.CA.gov. This is a new resource developed by the State of California and is being piloted in San Diego and Los Angeles counties. Not all sites that give the vaccine have transitioned over to this, but most intend to in the future. In addition, if you know of any neighbors who don’t have access to the Internet, they can call 211 to get assistance in getting appointments for the vaccine. 211 may also be able to help provide vaccination in the home for elderly patients who are homebound.