Although I try to live by the mantra of “No Regrets”, I have to admit that I regret NOT listening to your weekly COVID-19 clinical updates sooner!!! A fellow vaccinating pharmacist turned me onto these weekly gems about a month ago and I am truly grateful for the information you share and how you share it. My co-worker says “You are the reason she has stayed sane over this past year” and I understand where she is coming from. We both have been part of a team in MN working since the end of December to vaccinate Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Living Facilities. Empowered with the knowledge that you have shared, my team and I have been able to answer the questions asked by staff/residents to make everyone comfortable through a better understanding of these remarkable vaccines. Our clinics have been very successful and I think we owe much of that credit to you. I personally preach the “never miss an opportunity to vaccinate” and “you don’t need freezers, you need arms” and everyone on my team has now been introduced to your podcast. From all of us, thank you for all that you do!!!!
I do have a question that I am hoping you can weigh in on. My neighbor is 59 years old. She is relatively healthy, however she has had three episodes of Bell’s Palsy in her lifetime. Looking at the data in the Moderna and Pfizer trials it appears both trials had incidences of Bell’s Palsy, however the incidence rate of Bell’s Palsy in both trials (~0.02%) was roughly equivalent to what you would expect to see in the general population. The CDC currently has the following guidance on their website: Cases of Bell’s palsy were reported in participants in the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider these to be above the rate expected in the general population. They have not concluded these cases were caused by vaccination. Therefore, persons who have previously had Bell’s Palsy may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.” Interpreting this data can be challenging for a small number of cases of a rare condition, however I find it more challenging to assess whether someone with a history of Bell’s, like my neighbor, would be MORE susceptible to another Bell’s event or would she fall into that general population 0.02% risk group. She is trying to weigh her dueling concerns of potentially having a paralyzed face for life versus being put on a ventilator if she were to suffer from a severe case of COVID. Two questions I am hoping you could help me with:
- If she were your patient, how would you advise/address her concerns?
- With the COVID vaccines that we have information on, which vaccine might be safest for a person with a history of Bell’s Palsy?
Thanks in advance!!!!
Ross Parr, PharmD
Pharmacist Staff Supervisor
I am a registered nurse that works a COVID hotline in Wisconsin. We help connect people with tests, vaccines and answer all questions related to COVID the best we can. Recently, there have been some of our PCP’s telling their patients that they need to hold ibuprofen before and after they receive the vaccine. I recall you touching on this question at least once and you noted there is no issue. Has anything changed? Is there any contraindication having a COVID vaccine while a patient is on an antibiotic for a bacterial infection? (Assuming they are fever free and symptoms are improving)
I had my first “microchip in the vaccine” question this week. Tough person to give facts to, but she did schedule an appointment. There is hope!
Thank you SO much for all you do. I listen to your clear and concise updates every Saturday morning. Your service to others is exemplary and has inspired me to return to healthcare after a 12 year hiatus. I couldn’t sit by and do nothing to help during this pandemic.
My best to you!
Mary Ellen writes:
Dear Dr. Griffin,
Thanks for all you do.
My friend had been donating convalescent plasma on a regular basis, but was told after he was vaccinated with one of the mRNA vaccines that he could not donate convalescent plasma anymore. (He can still make other kinds of blood donations.)
Why not? Why are the antibodies generated from the disease considered more valuable than the ones generated by the vaccine? I understand that the vaccine antibodies would be against the spike proteins, but if the Abs protect my friend, why won’t they protect patients?
(I understand that convalescent plasma is now considered helpful only for immune-compromised patients.)
I have been told to wait 90 days before vaccination because I was given convalescent plasma. Should I wait ?