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YES! It‚Äôs that time of the year - vaccination! The word ‚ÄúVax‚ÄĚ is packed with controversial definitions in the lexicon.¬† This time is no exception as the technologies and delivery systems of covid vaccines are completely different ball games.¬† It requires your mental energy, emotional strength, research, and deep conversations to help make what should be, the simplest of decisions.¬†

No matter what your perspectives and decisions are, let’s take a step back and learn how the current covid-19 vaccines works as well as what you can do to support non/pre/post vaccination.  That said, we’ve pulled together the available information into one consumable bite-size article that fits your chaotic schedules, so that you have additional tools to help in optimizing your wellbeing.

This bite-size read covers :

  1. Technologies & Delivery Systems
  2. Non/ pre/ post vaccination care with functional & integrative approach
  3. Considerations

1.  T E C H N O L O G I E S   &   D E L I V E R Y   S Y S T E M S

WHOLE VIRUS VACCINE

Vaccine names / manufacturers : 

  • Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV
  • Sinovac CoronaVac (formerly PiCoVacc)

Required Doses :

‚Äć2 doses

Other licensed vaccines with this technology : 

Hepatitis A, Polio, Rabies

Ingredients:

  • ‚ÄćSinopharm BBIBP-CorV :¬†4 őľg (2 - 8 őľg were used in trial) total protein with aluminium hydroxide adjuvant (0¬∑45 mg/mL) per 0¬∑5 ml/ dose
  • ‚ÄćSinovac CoronaVac : Formaldehyde inactivated protein with aluminium hydroxide adjuvant

How This Works :

  1. Both Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines use inactivated pathogens to trigger protective immunity to make antibodies against the SAR-CoV-2 coronavirus by attaching to spike proteins. 
  2. To create the vaccines, researchers obtained three variants of coronavirus from patients.  They picked one of the variants that was able to multiply quickly in monkey kidney cells grown in bioreactor tanks. 
  3. Once large stocks of the coronaviruses are produced, they add a compound called Beta-propiolactone to disable the coronaviruses by bonding to their genes, so that the inactivated coronaviruses can no longer replicate. 
  4. Researchers mixed inactivated viruses with a tiny amount of an aluminum-based compound - aluminum hydroxide adjuvant which stimulates the immune system to boost its response to a vaccine.
  5. Once being injected inside the body, some inactivated viruses are swallowed up by antigen-presenting cells. The antigen-presenting cells tear and digest the virus before displaying the fragments on its surface.  
  6. If the fragment fits into one of its surface proteins, the Helper T-cells become activated and help recruit other immune cells (such as B-cells) to respond.
  7. Immune B-cells have surface proteins in various shapes and some might have the right shape to latch onto the virus.  Once the cells lock on to the virus, they pull part or all of the virus inside and present the fragments on its surface.
  8. The antigen-presenting cell presents spike protein fragments on its surface. The helper T-cells (also known as killer T-cells)  detect these fragments and destroy infected cells, they also raise the alarm so other immune cells such as B-cells come along. B-cells can then lock onto the spike protein.  If they are activated by T-cells, the B cells will start to proliferate and produce antibodies that target the spike protein.

Benefits :

Deactivated whole virus vaccines include the technology which is well established, it’s relatively simple to manufacture.

Potential Challenges :

Booster shots may be required.

Aluminum-based vaccines have been controversial as their link to medical injury in the past, especially in the neurological, autoimmune, and mental health focused communities. These groups of people may experience cross or adverse reactions due to difficulties in detoxification/transsulfuration pathways. 

‚ÄćRNA/ mRNA VACCINE

Vaccine names / manufacturers : 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COMIRNATY¬ģ
  • Moderna

Required Doses : 

2 doses

Other licensed vaccines with this technology : 

None

Ingredients : 

  • ‚ÄćPfizer-BioNtTech mRNA-BNT162b2 | 0.3ml/dose : mRNA, Lipids ( ALC-0315 = (4-hydroxybutyl)azanediyl)bis(hexane-6,1-diyl)bis(2-hexyldecanoate), ALC-0159 = 2 [(polyethylene glycol)-2000]-N,N-ditetradecylacetamide, 1,2-Distearoyl-snglycero-3- phosphocholine, cholesterol), Salt (potassium chloride, monobasic potassium phosphate, sodium chloride, dibasic sodium phosphate dihydrate), Sucrose‚Äć
  • Moderna mRNA-1273 | 1ml/dose : mRNA, Lipids (SM-102, 1,2-dimyristoyl-rac-glycero3-methoxypolyethylene glycol-2000 [PEG2000-DMG], cholesterol, 1,2-distearoyl-snglycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC]), Acids (Acetic Acid), Acid Stabilizers (Tromethamine & Tromethamine Hydrochloride), Salt (Sodium Acetate), Sucrose

How This Works :

  1. RNA (mRNA) vaccines use a relatively new technology with genetic material called messenger RNA, unlike vaccines that put a weakened or deactivated virus into the body.
  2. Lipid nanoparticles surround the fragile molecule mRNA before being injected into the body.
  3. After injection, the vaccine particles bind to cells and release mRNA into the host cells.  They essentially give cell molecules instructions for making copies of antigens, such as spike proteins, and help promote the development of memory cells for use when you get a similar viral infection.
  4. Spike proteins migrate to the surface of the cell. Vaccinated cells also break up some proteins into fragments and present on their surface so that they can be taken by a type of immune cells - antigen-presenting cell.
  5. The antigen-presenting cells present spike protein fragments on its surface. The helper T-cells (also known as killer T-cells) detect these fragments and destroy infected cells. They also raise the alarm so other immune cells, such as B-cells, come along.
  6. The activated B-cells immune cells start doing their job on producing antibodies as mentioned above.

Benefits :

According to the University of Cambridge’s PHG Foundation, advantages include low risk of the vaccine triggering disease response, reliability, and relative simplicity to manufacture.

Potential Challenges :

Chills, headache, pain, tiredness, and/or redness and swelling at the injection site, all of which generally resolve within a day or two of rest, hydration, nutritional and transsulfuration support. On rare occasions mRNA vaccines have appeared to trigger anaphylaxis, a severe reaction that is treatable with epinephrine (the drug in Epipens¬ģ).¬† Some have reported with anaphylaxis to PEG, Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP), Bell‚Äôs Palsy.¬†

For this reason, consult with your licensed or certified medical or healthcare provider about the history of severe allergies, eczema, history of reactions on PEG, and other autoimmune challenges. 

ADENOVIRAL VACCINE

Vaccine names / manufacturers : 

  • Johnson & Johnson Janssen/ Merck
  • Oxford-AstraZeneca
  • SputnikV‚Äć

‚ÄćRequired Doses :¬†

1 dose

Other licensed vaccines with this technology : 

Ebola

Ingredients : 

  • ‚ÄćJohnson & Johnson Janssen/ Merck JNJ-78436725 | 0.5ml/ dose :¬†Modified Adenovirus 26 (Ad26.COV2.S) Non-replicating Human Adenovirus DNA, Acids (Citric acid Monohydrate), Salts (Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate), Sugars (2-hydroxypropyl-ő≤-cyclodextrin (HBCD) polysorbate-80, sodium chloride), Ethanol‚Äć
  • Oxford-AstraZeneca AZD 1222 | 0.5ml/dose : Modified Adenovirus (ChAdOx1 nCov-19) (C19VAZ) Non-replicating Chimpanzee Adenovirus DNA, Disodium edetate dihydrate (EDTA), Ethanol, L-Histidine, L-Histidine hydrochloride monohydrate, Magnesium chloride hexahydrate, polysorbate 80, Sodium chloride, Sucrose, Water
  • Sputnik V¬† | 0.5ml/ dose : Adenovirus 26 and 25 DNA.¬† Similar to AstraZeneca and Johnson & Jonson. It also offered to share one of its two human adenoviral vectors with AstraZeneca to increase the efficacy of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

How This Works :

  1. This vaccine uses double-stranded DNA as a shell to carry genetic code on the spike proteins to the cells. 
  2. Researchers added genes for coronavirus spike protein to another virus called Adenovirus 26, which can enter cells but are unable to replicate themselves.
  3. After the vaccine is injected into the body, the adenoviruses bump into cells and latch onto proteins on their surface, go inside the cells, and travel to the nucleus where the cell’s DNA is stored. Then begins transcription into mRNA.
  4. The mRNA leaves the nucleus and the cell’s molecules read the sequences (the code) and begin making spike proteins.
  5. The spike proteins are produced and displayed on the cell’s surface, prompting the immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating T-cells and B-cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection (same mechanism as other vaccines mentioned above).

Benefits :

This type of vaccine introduces a modified version of the virus ‚Äď known as ‚Äúthe vector‚ÄĚ ‚Äď to deliver genetic code for the antigen.¬† This modified virus can‚Äôt replicate itself nor cause viral infection in the body.¬†¬†

Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires 1 dose.

Potential Challenges :

Fatigue, fever, headache, injection site pain, or myalgia (pain in a muscle or group of muscles), all of which generally resolve within a day or two.  On rare occasions, potential serious adverse reactions are reported with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Facial Paralysis, Blood Clotting, Transverse Myelitis, and Tinnitus.

PROTEIN SUBUNIT VACCINE

Vaccine names / manufacturers : 

Novavax NVX-CoV2373

Required Doses : 

2 doses

Other licensed vaccines with this technology : 

Hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, pneumococcal disease, shingles

Ingredients : 

5mcg Spike Proteins/ RBD, 50mcg Matrix-M‚ĄĘ Adjuvant

How This Works :

  1. Researchers inserted the modified spike gene into a different virus called Baculovirus and allowed it to infect moth cells.  
  2. This process allows the infected cells to produce spike proteins and spontaneously join together to form spikes like coronavirus. 
  3. The spike proteins from moth cells are harvested and assembled into nanoparticles, then combined with compounds extracted from soapbark trees.  This compound attracts immune cells to respond strongly to the nanoparticles once being injected into the body.
  4. Antigen-presenting cells encounter the vaccine nanoparticles, tear apart the spike proteins, and display some of the fragments on its surface.  
  5. T-cells and B-cells start responding to the vaccine similar to the immune response as the vaccines mentioned above.

Benefits :

The protein subunit vaccine contains purified ‚Äúpieces‚ÄĚ of a pathogen rather than the whole pathogen to trigger an immune response. It is thought that by restricting the immune system to the whole pathogen, the risk of side effects is minimised.

Potential Challenges :

Pain, redness and/or swelling near the injection site, headache, mild fever (It’s in the third trial as in Apr 2021)

2.   N O N / P R E / P O S T   V A C C I N A T I O N 

Functional Nutrition and Plant Medicine Support
  1. Reduce refined sugar - Poor glycemic control is a risk factor for immunity status as the immune system can be suppressed for up to 6 hours after consuming sugar, more serious Covid-19 infection and may affect vaccine efficacy.
  2. Load up on vegetables and fruits (organic is prefered) as it helps with a stronger immune response. Fruits and vegetables (especially vegetables in Brassica Oleracea family such as broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, kale if you aren’t on Low FODMAP diet) as they contain full spectrums of phytonutrients and constituents that our immune system (and gut microbes) needs.
  3. Unless necessary, try to avoid immune suppressants such as Acetaminophen/Tylenol which reduces glutathione (the master antioxidant), Ibuprofen, NSAIDs, and Steroids if possible. These tend to suppress immune response.
  4. To support healthy immune response with immune modulators and neurotransmitters such as :
  • Specialized Pro-resolving Mediators (SPMs)
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C (+zinc)
  • Melatonin
  • Gaba
  • Cannabis¬†
  • Glutathione¬†
  • Electrolytes (best with creatine as it pushes electrolytes into the cells)
  • L-Theanine (helps support serotonin and remind calm)
  • Reishi Mushroom
  • Homeopathic Argentum Nitricum (reduce anxiety)¬†
  • Rose or other nerve calming essential oil and herbal tinctures
Lifestyle Support
  1. Sleep & Rest - Prioritize sleep and rest time to help reduce stress and regulate homeostasis. Having a sufficient amount of sleep a few nights prior to receiving the vaccine may help vaccine efficacy. 
  2. Moderate exercise - not only does this help regulate immune system, lymphatic system, and mood, but may also improve vaccine efficacy, especially in older adults.
  3. Meditation, Breathwork, and Stress Management - Research has shown that Qigong, Tai Chi, Breathwork, Meditation, and practising gratitude help regulate the immune system, maintain positive attitude, and reduce stress. Positive mood and greater optimism are associated with higher antibody responses.
  4. Poop - Gut health has been one of the most fundamental approaches to longevity and overall well being in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Japanese daily living.  Recent research shows that viruses can accumulate in the stool. Start practising daily bowel movement to help regulate the immune system.
  5. Add Emotional First-Aid with Functional Nutrition & Lifestyle Approach to your tool box to help manage anxiety.  (Download the tool kit by subscribing to our newsletter.)

3.   C O N S I D E R A T I O N S

Before making any decisions, a number of provocative yet fundamental questions should be brought up in the conversation when you consult with licensed medical or certified healthcare providers, such as :

  • The benefits or risks for folks who are age 16 and under;
  • The benefits or damages of getting vaccinated for those who have Immune or Immunoglobulin Deficiency;
  • Adverse reactions or cross reactions for folks who have chronic low grade inflammation, autoimmune challenges, severe allergies, poor methylation, and transsulfuration pathways;
  • How well do the vaccines work on virus mutations or different variants in the future;
  • Do vaccines trigger autoimmune disease;
  • Do side effects from DNA and mRNA-based vaccines bring long term and irreversible results;
  • How long do antibodies last;
  • Does the vaccine cause Paradoxical Immune Response (PIR) and bring high levels of antibodies that can accelerate the infection?
  • Any personalized protocol or manageable health plan if vaccination isn‚Äôt an option or becomes mandatory.
RESOURCES
  1. Moderna Fact Sheet - https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download
  2. Pfizer-BioNTech Fact Sheet - https://www.fda.gov/media/144414/download
  3. Johnson & Johnson Fact Sheet - https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download
  4. Astrazeneca Monograph - https://www.astrazeneca.ca/content/dam/az-ca/downloads/productinformation/az-covid-19-vaccine-product-monograph-en.pdf  
  5. Four Types Covid-19 Vaccine Snapshot - https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/emea/four-types-covid-19-vaccine-snapshot
  6. Development of an Inactivated Vaccine Candidate, BBIBP-CorV, with Potent Protection against SARS-CoV-2 - https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(20)30695-4 
  7. Comparing the COVID-19 Vaccines: How Are They Different? - https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/covid-19-vaccine-comparison 
  8. How Sinopharm Vaccine Works - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/sinopharm-covid-19-vaccine.html 
  9. Safety and immunogenicity of an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, BBIBP-CorV: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1/2 trial - https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/laninf/PIIS1473-3099(20)30831-8.pdf 
  10. How Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Works - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/pfizer-biontech-covid-19-vaccine.html?searchResultPosition=2 
  11. How Moderna Vaccine Works - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/moderna-covid-19-vaccine.html 
  12. How Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Works - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine.html 
  13. AstraZeneca Vaccine Data - https://go.drugbank.com/drugs/DB15656 
  14. Vaccine Knowledge Projects - https://vk.ovg.ox.ac.uk/vk/covid-19-vaccines 
  15. SputnikV Peer Review on Lancet - https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00191-4/fulltext 
  16. Novavax - https://www.novavax.com/our-pipeline#nvx-cov2373 
  17. How Novavax works - https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/health/novavax-covid-19-vaccine.html 
  18. Novavax Clinical Trials - https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/results?cond=Covid19&term=Novavax&cntry=&state=&city=&dist=&Search=Search 
  19. COVID-19 vaccination in athletes: ready, set, go… - https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanres/article/PIIS2213-2600(21)00082-5/fulltext 
  20. CUHK Finds that the Coronavirus Can Persist in Stool after Its Clearance in Respiratory Tract Will Conduct Stool Test for People in Quarantine Camps for Early Identification - https://www.med.cuhk.edu.hk/press-releases/cuhk-finds-that-the-coronavirus-can-persist-in-stool-after-its-clearance-in-respiratory-tract-will-conduct-stool-test-for-people-in-quarantine-camps-for-early-identification 
  21. News Feature: Avoiding pitfalls in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine - https://www.pnas.org/content/117/15/8218 
  22. Long-term antibodies, B-cell and T-cell SARS-CoV-2 immunity studies - https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.08.11.20171843v2¬†‚Äć
  23. https://www.cell.com/immunity/pdf/S1074-7613(20)30445-3.pdf¬†‚Äć
  24. https://mbio.asm.org/content/11/5/e01991-20¬†‚Äć
  25. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/371/6529/eabf4063 
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