Debating whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Here are my thoughts…

COVID-19 vaccination efforts are well underway. As a result, I’ve been inundated with questions from patients and readers alike about whether to get vaccinated and what to expect.

And while general thoughts and opinions about vaccination can vary widely among health professionals and the public, I do believe it is a critical step in moving beyond this pandemic successfully.

So, unless you have a known allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients OR have experienced severe allergic reactions from vaccinations before: Get vaccinated when you are able to do so. And, as always, consult with your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns.

Just remember, vaccines should be treated like any other medical procedure—and preparation is key…

Proper preparation makes all the difference

Previous research conducted on other types of vaccines has shown that stress, depression, lack of social support, and lack of sleep can impair the immune system’s response to vaccination. (Along with the usual stumbling blocks like lack of exercise, poor dietary habits and smoking.) Now, granted, there’s no research on whether these factors have any impact on the coronavirus vaccine specifically. But considering they do affect the body’s immune response to vaccination in a general sense, they’re well worth considering.

Especially since the pandemic is making these risk factors worse for a lot of people. So it’s especially important now to do whatever you can to offset these risk factors and, in turn, maximize your body’s immune response prior to getting the coronavirus vaccine.

In fact, research suggests getting vigorous exercise and a good night’s sleep 24 hours prior to your vaccination appointment, so that your immune system is operating at peak efficiency—and so you get the best and strongest immune response as quickly as possible.

In addition, I typically recommend my patients come in for intravenous (IV) glutathione treatments (a critical antioxidant that offers natural protection against oxidative stress and free radical damage), both before and after the inoculation, as a way to support liver health and detoxification.

(After all, the adjuvants, or other ingredients that make up vaccines, are usually the ingredients that cause side effects—not the actual viral elements of the vaccine. So detoxing after vaccination can sometimes prove beneficial in terms of lessening any potential side effects.)

But if an IV is out of the question, I usually advise the following supplements to be taken daily for the three days before and after vaccination:

  • 1,500 mg of N-acetyl cysteineper day, to stimulatethe body’s own production of glutathione. (This amino acid is a precursor to glutathione.)
  • 60 mg of lactobacillus fermentum ME-3per day, alsoto help promote glutathione production.
  • 500 mg of BRM-4 per day, as an immune-modulating supplement. (This product is also known as Rice Bran Arabinoxylan Concentrate [RBAC].)
  • A high-quality probiotic that contains prebiotics, probiotics, and postbiotics. (Remember, the key is diversity of strains, rather than quantity.)

So, now that we’ve covered how to properly prep for vaccination, let’s take a look at what should you do after you’ve been vaccinated…

What to expect after vaccination

Like all vaccinations, there’s a possibility of experiencing side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, too. Fortunately, according to many key websites—most notably the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s—these side effects are likely to be mild and short–lived.

Some of the most common side effects reported so far include having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection, feeling tired, experiencing headaches, and general aches or mild flu-like symptoms.

As I mentioned above, using a glutathione-based detox regimen (either via IV or supplements) before and after vaccination may help offset or even eliminate potential side effects from many vaccines. But if you do experience any of the above symptoms, don’t be afraid to just take some time for yourself. Relax, rejuvenate, and resume your normal activities when you’re feeling more like yourself.

But if you’re feeling okay—you should be able to resume your daily routine after being vaccinated. (Though if you’re feeling pain in your arm, for example, you should probably wait until it passes to do any heavy lifting.)

Post-vaccination behavior

Just remember, you aren’t immediately protected against coronavirus after being vaccinated. And scientists are saying that even after your first round of the vaccination, you should still avoid close contact (like hugging) with your relatives and anyone outside of your household.

Furthermore, it can take several weeks—and according to the vaccine makers, as long as one full month after the second shot—until your body builds maximum immunity. Which means you simply cannot afford to let your guard down in the meantime.

Plus, while the evidence shows that a full course of the vaccine will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, we still don’t really know whether being vaccinated will actually prevent you from catching the virus, and then passing it on to others. (However, the musings I’m hearing in scientific circles are that the vaccination is expected to reduce this risk as well.)

Of course, it goes without saying that it’s important to get both doses of the same vaccine in order to receive the best protection. (Large trials show that the current vaccines, when administered properly in two doses, can prevent 95 percent of COVID-19 illnesses.)

So the bottom line is this: Our best hope for ending this pandemic isn’t to choose between masks, social distancing, and vaccines… but to combine them. It’s called teamwork—and we owe it to ourselves and our fellow Americans to look out for each other until we’re all safely on the other side of this crisis.


“5 reasons to wear a mask even after you’re vaccinated.” PBS, 01/15/2021. (