Martin Dubravec, M.D.  
     
     

The Hilltop Allergy Letter

Volume 20   Number  2 

March  – May 2021


 

Introduction

            We welcome all new and established patients to our newsletter.  This is formulated four times a year to inform patients and the medical community with regard to new developments in asthma, allergies, and clinical immunology.  Please feel free to take this home with you and share it with family and friends. 

 

Spring Allergens

            Pollen starts being produced as early as March in our part of Michigan. Tree pollens are the prominent pollens this time of year. Tree pollens pollinate typically as early as March through May although often they do not pollinate until April. Grasses tend to pollinate beginning in May and they will pollinate throughout the summer.

            Our office has started our 19th year of measuring pollen in our area. We are one of the only pollen-measuring locations in the state of Michigan. We are happy to provide this service. This can be accessed at our website www.martindubravec.yourmd.com. This is usually updated every morning. Pollen counts are typically available either Monday through Friday or Monday through Thursday. If you have any questions regarding this, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Vaccinations

            Vaccines are counted as one of the major advances in human history with regard to the field of medicine. Although counted as extremely safe, vaccines can have significant side effects. In rare cases, vaccines can be deadly.

            Vaccines act as pretend infection. The goal of vaccines is to stimulate immunologic memory. Vaccines are given to people when they are not ill. The goal of a vaccine is not to cause illness in a patient but to stimulate an immune response. The immune system looks at the vaccine as a possible infection. The immune system then develops a set of proteins to fight infection should the immune system come across that infection in the future. When the immune system comes across an infection in the future, it kills off that virus or bacteria before the virus or bacteria have a chance to grow and multiply in the body.

            Although vaccines are given for a variety of illnesses, not all vaccines are equally effective. Vaccines stimulate a memory response in the immune system. A good vaccine will last years if not decades. One  example of an excellent vaccine that can last for years is the tetanus shot. We have seen patients in our office who have evidence of an immune system response to tetanus lasting greater than 20 or even 30 years. The flu shot, however, does not even last a year, if at all. In past years, the flu shot’s effectiveness  very minimal benefit, i.e., less than a 40% chance that patients would be protected from influenza if they got the shot.

            Other vaccines treat incredibly rare diseases or diseases that can simply be avoided with certain behaviors.

            With regard to COVID-19, at the time of this writing, there are three available COVID-19 vaccines. They are all genetic vaccines. These vaccines have no long-term safety or effectiveness data to recommend their use. They are being heavily recommended in many areas. With an overall survival rate of 99.97%, it is questionable as to why people need to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Furthermore, these experimental vaccines involve inserting genetic material into human beings. This has never been done on a large scale. Together with their lack of safety data to promote their use, it is questionable whether or not patients should receive these vaccines at all.

            Another concern with vaccines is that in childhood vaccination, often multiple vaccines are given at one time. No safety studies on the long-term benefits versus harm of giving multiple vaccines have been conducted. This raises the question as to whether or not we should be giving multiple vaccines at the same time.

            No one should be forced to receive vaccination. Patients should have the right and parents should have the right to decide whether or not their children will be vaccinated. It is only with informed consent that we should be giving vaccination. This helps to preserve not only the rights of Americans with regard to their healthcare, but also ensures that people receiving vaccines can be confident in their safety. Patients who are planning to receive vaccinations should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their doctor.

 


March 3, 2021

 

JOINT STATEMENT: VACCINES AND CONSCIENCE PROTECTION

 

It has been over a year since the first diagnosis of COVID-19 in the United States. Due to this pandemic’s effects, our society has experienced limitations in personal freedoms to a level we have never known. Social interactions and work environments have been changed by social distancing, masks, hospital and nursing home visitation restrictions and working from home. Freedom of movement about our communities and the nation has been limited by “stay-at-home orders” and mass travel restrictions. The availability of vaccines provides a sliver of hope but also raises many questions. Issues our society must address include prioritizing equitable vaccine distribution and the potential for coercive mandates on vaccine use. 

 

Government agencies and other organizations are responsible for developing strategies for efficient and equitable distribution of vaccines. 

The highest priority is the vaccination of those at greatest medical risk and those directly involved in the care of the sick.  Once this has been accomplished, distribution can be directed toward those at lesser risk of serious disease.  Attention should also be given to making vaccines available to smaller independent hospitals and clinics serving in underserved and rural areas where the vaccines to date have been less available.  

 

Governing authorities must respect an individual’s right to accept or decline a vaccine.

There is no justifiable moral obligation to accept vaccination.  If a vaccine has been developed, tested, or produced with technology that an individual deems morally unacceptable, such as the use of abortion-derived fetal cell lines, vaccine refusal is morally acceptable. An individual’s decision to be vaccinated will also depend upon their personal assessment of the medical risks, a choice that should be respected. The decision not to be vaccinated must be accompanied by a commitment to take necessary precautions to lessen disease transmission.

 

Finally, the protection of First Amendment rights is imperative. 

It is fundamental that the right of individual conscience be preserved. Coerced vaccination would irreparably harm Constitutional rights and the patient-physician relationship. Conscience is an individual belief influenced by many factors such as faith, culture, family, and reason. Each individual makes a conscientious decision in any given situation. Respect for conscience rights is always of primary importance. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged our nation for over a year. It has brought to light new challenges regarding disease management as well as threats to individual liberties. While the logistical challenges alone are significant, we must not ignore the ethical concerns regarding vaccine manufacturing, distribution and administration. While the pandemic remains a significant public health crisis, the individual rights of American citizens also remains of paramount importance. The guarantee of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” includes the right to make individual health care decisions while  taking into account our responsibility for the common good.

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The organizations supporting this statement can be contacted through their websites:

American College of Pediatricians – acpeds.org

Catholic Medical Associations – cathmed.org

Christian Medical and Dental Association – cmda.org

National Association of Catholic Nurses, U.S.A. – nacn-usa.org