Dr. Pramjeet Ahluwalia is a local doctor who practices medicine at the InCare medical clinic in the Riverview. Dr. Ahluwalia recently received the COVID-19 vaccination and has been blogging about it on his practice’s website.
The doctor has seen more than 800 COVID-19 patients last year and has done significant research on both the disease and the vaccine.
“I received the Moderna vaccination on December 28, one of the first doctors at Lakeland Regional Medical Center to receive it as a pre-release due to my frontline work with COVID patients,” Dr. Ahluwalia said. “The Moderna vaccine was the vaccine our hospital received. It was a quick shot to the arm, similar to a flu shot, with a 15-minute observation time period afterwards.”
Two days after receiving the vaccine, he experienced some mild side effects, such as pain at the injection site, muscle aches, low-grade fever (99 F), fatigue and general tiredness.
“Overall just traditional discomfort similar to other vaccines like the flu shot. I was not taking any pain relievers or fever reducers, such as Tylenol,” Dr. Ahluwalia said. “Having these side effects was actually a positive thing because it told me that my body was mounting an immune system response to the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine does not include a live virus but instead consists of an antibody to the spike protein.”
A protein spike is how the COVID-19 virus enters cells in order to infect the individual and replicate, which causes the patient to get sick and/or infectious.
“The vaccine does not consist of any parts of the live coronavirus,” Dr. Ahluwalia said. “The ingenious design of this vaccine is that even if the coronavirus mutates, it still needs the spike protein to enter the cell. So even with the recent news indicating new versions of the virus, this vaccine should potentially still be effective as it targets the entry point of the virus.”
Dr. Ahluwalia would definitely recommend getting the COVID-19 vaccine to his patients and to people who are leery of getting the vaccination.
“I would recommend for my community to receive whichever vaccine is available to them,” Dr. Ahulwalia said. “The differences between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are minimal, so my recommendation would be to receive whichever one is available. The need for taking both doses of the vaccine that the patient is receiving is critical, since the percentage efficacy that you see advertised is based on receiving the full course of the vaccine. The greatest immunity achieved is approximately 14 days after the second dose, so compliance with the second dose is critical. The immune system needs time after exposure to develop antibodies to defeat the COVID-19 virus.”
If you would like to read Dr. Ahluwalia’s blog, visit the InCare website at www.incarenow.com/blog. InCare is located at 11922 Boyette Rd. in Riverview.