• Dr. Young Lee

Here we go again...

Here we go again... Hi Everyone! It’s been a while since my last email. Sorry for the delay between them. Happy Chinese New Year to all the people that celebrate it. It’s the year of the Ox (or cow really), which is marginally more interesting than the year of the goat (I’m and earth goat - I’ve been told it’s just about the most boring zodiac animal there is). To all the new patients - this is a regular newsletter that I send to everyone to keep them updated and entertained about what’s going on with the clinic, the pandemic, interesting medical topics and just my own thoughts about interesting things. As you all know by now - there has been 3 community cases in Papatoetoe, South Auckland. Hopefully this is an isolated cluster - but the government has called for everyone to go into Level 3 lock down as they track and trace. This is to also give them time to check the variant of the COVID19 virus. If it’s the UK or South African variant - then the transmission of the virus could be 70% higher. Looking at all the examples around the world - an over reaction seems to work better than an under reaction. I totally approve the decision to go into a lock down. It usually means that the economy can bounce back quickly rather than simmer along at a half dead pace. Here is the following news: Clinic stuff from Monday 15/02/2021 until further notice:

  1. Consultation will go virtual - either video or telephone where able.

  2. Urgent problems please come in, ring us and the nurse or receptionist can guide you.

  3. If you only need a COVID19 test - please go to the testing stations. This protects us and other patients as well from potentially catching COVID19

  4. Please wear a mask when you come in. If you don’t have one - we will provide one.

  5. We will postpone non urgent clinic reviews such as well checks, examinations, non urgent surgery till Level 2.

  6. Opening hours will change to 0900 - 1600.

COVID19 vaccinations: Vaccinations should start next week or the week after. The government, guided by experts will be letting us know who will get it first. Almost certainly - front line MIQ staff and their families should be prioritized. Worryingly - vaccinations do not appear to be mandatory for front line staff. The PM has said that they will try to move staff to non exposed jobs if possible if they do not wish to be vaccinated. This is a very soft stance that I think is wrong. Front liners are at highest risk of getting sick from imported cases - and this can have grave consequences to everyone else. The good of the many have to outweigh the wishes of the few. I think if front line staff refuse vaccinations - frankly they should do another job. Regarding when we can all get vaccinated - there is a priority list at the moment. It basically goes:

  1. front line staff and families

  2. health care workers, rest home staff, rest home residents

  3. older people or younger people with chronic illnesses

  4. everyone else

  5. kids - we are still waiting on safety and efficacy data. It’s safe - but to do it properly we should wait for the trial data from places like Israel etc.

Regarding which vaccine you’ll get - you don’t have a choice. At the moment - the best of the best appears to be the mRNA vaccine with the highest efficacy. These are the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Front line staff will probably get the 2 doses. The government has ordered 450,000 of these bad boys, so that’s 225,000 shots. I think what will happen is that the front line staff, medics and rest home people will probably get the Pfizer vaccine first. Then everyone else will probably get the Oxford AstraZeneca and Johnson vaccine. There will probably be another round of revaccination or booster shots of the less efficacious vaccines later on. Predictions about the future state of vaccinations, travel and the pandemic vary a bit - but the general consensus appears to be: 2021-2022 - vaccinating the whole world. Watch out for variants that can dodge the vaccines. 2023 - slowly opening up. 2024 - boom times baby. Usually about 3-5 years after a major catastrophe like a pandemic or world war, the whole world goes through a major economic expansion and everyone pretty much has a good time. Please remember the environment. No point surviving the pandemic if global warming kills us in a few decades. Vaccine hesitancy: Possibly a problem around the world. If there is a large pool of unvaccinated people - they can bounce the COVID19 virus between them for long enough that the virus can mutate to negate all the vaccines. This is a nightmare situation where we will never get rid of COVID19. Come on guys - we got rid of smallpox, and nearly got rid of polio. We can do this. I’ve heard about concerns about side effects. Let me try to explain the terminology. When you take anything there is usually a range of effects that occur. The ones you want - you call effects. The ones you don’t want - you call side effects. For example - if I drink water the effects include not feeling thirsty and dizzy. The side effects are a bloated tummy and that I have to pee. Side effects are not necessarily bad things. For example - when you have a vaccination of any sort, you might get a sore injection site, feel a bit fluey for a day or two, or have a mild fever. Some people think this is a bad thing, but from an immune view point it’s good. It shows that your body is reacting to the vaccine and you are more likely to be producing lots of antibodies to stop you from getting sick. Can I get COVID19 from the vaccines? No. The mRNA vaccines contain only a blueprint for the injected muscle cells to make spike proteins for your body’s immune system to react to. The cold retrovirus chimpanzee vaccines (Oxford, Johnsons) contain also part of the spike protein. The cold retrovirus chimp vaccines are designed not to replicate so you can’t get sick from it. The Chinese vaccine has a bunch of dead COVID19 viruses. It’s also the least effective and our government is not using it. The vaccine sounds like it’s not made of natural products. Is that bad? Well - vaccines are human made and are not natural. But they have been tested to be very, very safe. Each trial has about 30-50,000 people tested and no one has died due to the vaccine. Some people have died after getting the vaccine, but from unrelated causes. It’s like you getting a vaccine and being hit by a car. The vaccine didn’t cause the car to hit you. Also - does it matter that it’s not natural? I mean - the virus is natural but so bad for health. Also - think about it in terms of a bra. A naturally made bra made of 2 half coconuts tied by grass sounds incredibly uncomfortable (I have no first hand experience). An artificial bra made of the softest, most comfortable materials with a solid firmer material for support makes a much more comfortable bra - and it’s completely artificial. Which would you wear? So - please get vaccinated. Unless you want to stay in New Zealand forever. I mean - it’s a nice country, but I’d like to travel at some point.

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