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CDC Says…. Vaccine Round Three


Rower Michelle

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Hey gang- Passing along an update. We had our lung cancer support group this morning.  One of the KU oncologists decided he needed to do some additional research and outreach to his colleagues.  His findings were fascinating, lung cancer patients for some unknown reason in one study had higher antibody levels for longer periods of time than other cancers.  So he’s ordered Covid antibody testing for all of his lung cancer patients. So far his patients all have high antibody levels.   His current thinking is to retest again six months following the second shot.   
I see my oncologist on September 7th and am very curious to see what direction he gives to me.   

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Michelle,

Are these patients all people who had some form of chemotherapy?  I'm not sure that just having a lobectomy would have an effect on how well a vaccine works, but I'm willing to learn.  I had a meeting with my doctor earlier this week and while she acknowledged that I was healthy she told me that she recommended the booster.  I did ask her if there were immunity tests that would test the "level of antibodies" and she said only positive negative results were the norm for the testing.  I'm guessing that your Oncologist has access to more sophisticated testing than we would get at CVS or LabCorp.  Would that be your understanding.  
BTW, I did go and get the booster today.  I will say that I was concerned about side effects, but at this point that is moot.  I'll have to see what happens.  

Lou

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This group member is on targeted therapy, did have chemo/immuno prior.  She was surprised at the guidance received.  
Yes, there is a test that measures serum levels starting with .80.  It is a more sophisticated assay than the finger prick test at CVS.  I’m not sure how much it cost as the insurance paid for it so I’m waiting to see the EOB.   I was very reluctant to get poked off cycle as my regular labs are in about two weeks.  As you know, every poke counts.  I’m trying very hard to avoid another port.  I also didn’t want to re-experience the side effects from the second shot, it was miserable, almost on the verge of a ER visit.  
Let us know how you make out.  Good luck…hope is goes well.  

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That's interesting, Michelle. I'm getting my (senior) flu shot on Monday. Will get the booster in October. When I went for a port flush this week, I asked the nurse what the oncologists are recommending but she said they hadn't put out any guidance yet. So, having positive antibodies from the vaccine, I'm comfortable with this plan. Plus I am not going anywhere these days and not seeing friends (indoors) who have recently traveled. 

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An update: my neighbor 3 doors down just told us that her boyfriend Jim has Covid and her 2 (grown) sons had Covid and were re-infected again. I don't think any of them are hospitalized. Jim does have an underlying condition so I hope he makes it through OK. I believe they were all vaccinated. 

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I just read this in The Atlantic about COVID vaccines, boosters, and vaccine effectiveness. It is written by a physician infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist and shines light on what should our expectations be about COVID and vaccines.

Stay the course.

Tom

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I have already had Covid, and the 2 Moderna vaccine shots.  My health plan- Kaiser Permanente emails with recommendations periodically.   If they recommend and offer a booster, I'll of course go ahead and get it.

My overall diagnosis is still ongoing, however my PCP did mention that the CT scan also detected "mild emphysema", and that has me wondering at what point I should consider self-quarantining.  ?

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I've been staying home for several weeks now. I only go out for medical appointments, occasional trips to grocery stores (with at least 90% mask-wearing customers) and essential trips to the lawyer, bank and post office as I settle my father's estate. I wear a good KN95 or KF94 mask. I've stopped seeing anyone indoors but will probably resume after I get the 3rd shot next month. 

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Tom,

I just read an article that is much on track with the one in The Atlantic and that is a story I've been telling people for a while and it seems some people from both sides took umbrage with it (some insulted that I wasn't saying vaccines are 100% and others saying that infection is normal and expected, but milder).  But, it's accurate and really more accurate than much of what we heard previously.

Update on my shots.  After my second original Moderna vaccine shot I went through a day and a half of headache and fatigue.  I expected that this booster would be the same or a bit worse, but frankly other than a bit of fatigue the day after I'm back to normal (no jokes Michelle) :),  and frankly side effects were less this time so I was pleasantly surprised.  A friend of mine who has an adult daughter with a kidney transplant also got the booster and had no side effects at all.

As I said before, go with what your doctor tells you is best for you.  But know that the majority of folks getting the booster have minor to no side effects.  At this point I figure I'm past all potential side effects.  BTW, I kept seeing stories of horrible reactions to these shots and it made me very concerned, but maybe we should listen less to the news and more to our doctors.

Lou

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Yes, Lou listen less to the news and more to our doctors!  
 

Interesting I just participated in a KU patient advisory board this evening and the doctors think the CDC guidelines were as clear as mud.  They seem to be sorting this through like we are.  For now they’re going to be super flexible, anyone who wants a booster can have one now or depending on the individual circumstance/clinical status there’s an option to wait up to six months post second shot.   The priority right now for them is the patients with organ transplants, and anyone in active treatment with abnormal lab results.  
 

I see my doctor next week for labs so I’m curious to see what he says….  

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So, I saw the doc this morning for routine surveillance labs and we chatted about the booster.  He reviewed my Quest Covid antibody titers and said there’s no question that I still have adequate protection from the second shot on April 1st.  
He said all the guidance issued to date isn’t all that clear for people like me.  Even though I’m on targeted therapy, my cancer is in remission and I’m not technically considered immunocompromised but lung cancer is one of the big risk factors.  
He also said there’s more concern about flu so plan on getting a flu shot no later than early October then schedule a Covid booster toward the end of October when I can plan to be sidelined by side effects for 3-4 days.   

 

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Great string. I'm so disappointed that we are still having to deal with Covid in September of 2021. I expect this wave of infections will be the last (my reasoning is to complicated to post here).

I see my onc next Tuesday. Hopefully still NED! I will ask him his opinion about a booster and will get another jab as soon as available. I got Pfizer so it should be easy. I will get my flu shot when he recommends it.

Peace

Tom

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Your doctor may be right.  Many of our flu viruses have been with us for years.  They mutate, someone changes the vaccine and then they mutate again.  Viruses are little buggers that way.

Lou

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I decided to go ahead and get my third shot now, just over two weeks from the concert I'm planning to attend. I'm not positive whether I qualify as currently immunocompromised--I don't think I am, as of this moment, but I definitely was when I had the first two. My reasoning is if that status prevented the vaccines from reaching maximum effectiveness, then I probably need the booster. And I had my whole immune system messed with only a few weeks ago, so I don't feel like I'm gaming the system. 

Also, according to the CVS website, the CDC has determined it's safe to get the flu shot at the same time, so I'm getting that, too.

The other thing is that my next scans will be on or about 10/12, so hopefully any swelling of lymph nodes will be gone by then.

Hopefully side effects won't be too bad. I felt pretty lousy the day after shot #2, but I don't expect any bad effects to last more than a day or so.

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Let us know how you make out.  I don’t think you’re gaming the system, from what I’m hearing there’s not too many takers for the booster…. I guess people have Covid fatigue and have stopped paying attention.

As for the scans, the docs got a pretty good handle on how to read images post Covid vaccine.  My doc told me not to worry about it as I’ll get the booster toward the end of October.   

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You are definitely not gaming the system. I mean they essentially wiped out your immune system and even tho the thought is your still have immunity I really question how accurate that opinion is. I think what you are doing is very prudent.

Peace

Tom

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I've scheduled my booster for 9/14 (had my flu shot 2 weeks ago). Even though I'm NED, I understand that those of us on TKIs are considered immunocompromised. I think it's a guessing game at this point. But I'd like to do more than stay home so I'll be more comfortable with the booster. 

Another concern in my area is unhealthy air quality from the fires in Northern California. When I take my morning walks, the AQI is in the range of unhealthy for sensitive groups. The other day I forgot to check the AirNow app and went out without a good mask. I had shortness of breath all day. I just ordered a bunch of new U.S.-made and NIOSH-certified N95s from projectn95.org (a nonprofit group) for both Covid and wildfire smoke protection. 

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Shot #3 done--went to CVS and it took all of 20 minutes, including 15-minute post-shot wait. The pharmacist persuaded me to wait a few days for the flu shot--even though the CDC is saying no problem, we are just hitting flu season and so not a lot of experience with the two shots together. No biggie--the flu shot can wait till next week. 

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Lexie, when I went to Walgreens for my flu shot (they are my Rx plan), they told me I could get both shots together but Walgreens only had Pfizer and I need Moderna (at CVS).

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The CVS I normally go to apparently has only Pfizer. I had to go to the one inside Target. I was appalled at the number of people in Target unmasked. Then I stopped for milk at the Wawa (convenience store) and MORE people without masks. And a ton of the people with masks had them hanging under their noses. 

I swear, I haven't been inside anyplace with that many unmasked people since this all started. Of course, most of my indoor shopping has been at a store that insists on masking. But WHY, right when numbers of cases are climbing, are more people maskless than before??

Makes me feel like I did the right thing getting the booster now.

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I will not set foot in a Target or Walmart right now for that reason. Costco was actually pretty good and our local Sprouts is back to 99% masks. I trust no one. 

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If you are wearing a mask please don't wear clothe as they are useless and latest studies show that surgical masks only reduce exposure by 11%.  In other words it would take you from a 10 out of 10 chance of being infected to a 9 out of 10 chance.  KN95 masks are pretty available and do a better job when worn properly.  My doctor equated my cloth mask as putting up a chain link fence to stop mosquitos.  That did it for me.  

Stay safe folks and have a great concert Lexie.

Lou

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So far, so good. My arm is very sore--feels like I got punched, hard--but no chills or other symptoms. I'm pretty tired, but part of that is because I didn't sleep that well. I kept waking up trying to get comfortable. My bet is that the pain will be gone by tomorrow.

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