What we Know so far about vaccine Safety – January 10th 2021
Dear community members and families, In the last few weeks, we have seen significant movement in our understanding of the COVID-19 vaccines. As of today, here is what we know.
The vaccines are safe
The vaccines approved for use in Canada work by sending a message to our body’s immune system to stimulate our natural immune response. Over 70,000 people were involved in the trials of the approved vaccines. The mRNA technology on which the vaccines are built started in the early 1990s, so this science is not actually new to us. As of January, more than 15 million people have been vaccinated worldwide.
The vaccines work
We know the vaccines protect us from getting COVID-19 and getting very sick from COVID-19. A 94 to 95 per cent efficacy level, as seen with the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, is as good as the results of the best vaccines we have for preventing any disease. People who were vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus were about 20 times less likely to get sick with COVID-19 than those who were not vaccinated. They also likely prevent us from spreading COVID-19 to our loved ones and those around us, although studies are ongoing. This level of efficacy will play a major role in helping slow spread and move us towards a post-pandemic Canada.
There will be people ahead of us in line, and people behind us
Ontario’s goal is to vaccinate every eligible person by the end of 2021. In general, older adults and others at high risk of getting sick or transmitting the virus will be vaccinated before others. It will take some time to vaccinate enough of our community members and achieve shared protection through herd immunity. During that time, it is crucial that we all continue to follow public health guidance regarding masking and distance, even after we are immunized – until experts say otherwise.
The pandemic is evolving, which emphasizes the need to maintain measures
There is also concerning news. Cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 are rapidly rising throughout Ontario. There is a new strain of COVID-19 found in the United Kingdom, which is thought to be significantly more transmissible. The vaccines are a way out of Ontario’s epidemic in the coming months, but they are not the only thing we must do. Despite the vaccine news, the new strain and our case rates: our shared responsibility remains as important as it has ever been. Aside from getting vaccinated when our time comes, we must all still maintain our layers of protection. These layers mean physical distancing, masking at all times, good ventilation, hand hygiene and all of the steps we know work to protect us and our loved ones.
In summary, the vaccines are safe and effective. We will continue to monitor the vaccine landscape and provide you with the most relevant science-based information as soon as we have it available to us. Wishing you and your loved ones good health,
Effective Sept 21, 2020:
Since the COVID-19 pandemic is still unfolding, our main goal is to protect everyone, including all patients and staff, from exposure to COVID-19 infection. Therefore, we established the following procedures:
* We are not prepared to safely assess Any patients with Any cough, colds, fever, new onset shortness of breath, or flu-like symptoms or those who think they might have COVID 19. If you have ANY of those symptoms, DO NOT enter the clinic and instead go to the nearest COVID-19 testing facility. We DO NOT have testing available at our clinic.
* It is mandatory to wear a mask in our clinic, please bring your own; sanitize your hands on arrival to the clinic.
* We are strictly limiting the amount of people in the clinic to 10 only (including patients and staff combined). Companions are NOT allowed unless it’s ABSOLUTELY necessary and it’s limited to only ONE companion.
* ALL patients will be booked for virtual phone assessment FIRST; we DO NOT allow any walk-ins at this time.
* If you are attending ONLY for either a vaccine, injection or blood work, and have NO symptoms of concern, please stand in line outside, following social distancing rules until it is your turn. * Blood works will ONLY be available to our own patients or patients who have their blood work requested by one of our doctors (Dr. Taha, Khalil, Chander or Abdul Hadi).
We placed an example for our services and their prices. This will give you an idea so you can prepare for your visit.
- Travel Assessment: 20 minutes • $90 includes the assessment and the 1st round of shots (first in the series); $15 for subsequent rounds in the series if needed; Not included is whatever charged by pharmacy for acquiring the vaccination vials (most vials in the range of $100-150 each), uninsured by OHIP
Travel assessment and vaccination, excluding yellow fever vaccine for those who travel to endemic destinations in Africa & South America. Rabies vaccine is expensive and requires order in advance. An average total expenses per patient for both pharmacy & clinic is about $405
- Immunizations, vaccinations: 10 minutes • OHIP insured, some vaccines are uninsured, $15 for doctor fees; Immunization/vaccination, both OHIP covered and other non-insured vaccines, e.g. travel vaccines & those that are given outside OHIP insurance schedule; $15 doctor fees & $100-150 each uninsured vaccine vial charged by pharmacy
- Blood lab on-site: Check our lab hours. Check our lab hours. We welcome our patients to use our clinic for lab services for their own convenience, e.g. blood works, urine exams, swabs & biopsies.
- Wound care, lacerations: 15 minutes, OHIP insured, our surgical unit is fully equipped to deal with mild open injuries, traumas
- Fracture care, minor fractures: 30 minutes, OHIP insured, minor fractures (broken bones) area easily treated by primary care doctor
- Annual preventive exams/physical: 30 minutes, OHIP insured; we recommend annual preventive medical exams/physicals; this is to optimize health and keep up with evidence-based preventive medical advice. It’s of particular importance for patients who are 40+ of age.
- Diabetes care: 20 minutes, OHIP insured; Invaluable care for diabetes, a chronic illness that can influence patient health outcomes adversely; conducted by expert doctor and trained nurse
- Well Baby care: 20 minutes, OHIP insured; we love babies; we offer regular well baby care usually done frequently during infancy and less frequently when the baby gets older
- Pap/cervical screening: 20 minutes, OHIP insured; well women care, Pap smears (cervical cancer screening) and breast cancer screening are part of regular services we offer and insist that all women should take advantage of to prevent poor healthy outcomes and premature death
- Driver’s Medical/Physical: 30 minutes, $125; we follow MTO’s guidelines & mandates.
- Worker/volunteer physicals: 20 minutes • $100 for 2-step TB & $60 for physical; $160 if both required; 2-step TB (usually required by all health-care workers), other vaccines plus physical if necessary; the majority of vaccines in this setting are uninsured
Joint/bursa injections: 20 minutes • $20-30 charged by pharmacy for each injected vial; the procedure of injection is OHIP-insured; Painful joints, bursitis, tendinitis sometimes respond to injection after doctor’s consultation; decision to injection requires booked appointment for the injection on a later date
- Wart cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen:
30 minutes • $30 per lesion; only face lesions in children & feet lesions are OHIP-insured; often >1 visit required; We use verruca-freeze limiting cone to increase the effectiveness of delivery of freezing agent and maximize success, so you would eventually require less frequent visits/treatments; hence, less cost.
- Skin mole, cyst removal: 30 minutes, $50 for mole, $100 for cyst, $200 for big cyst or lipoma; only cancer/malignant/premalignant lesions are OHIP-insured; booked appointment required. With local anesthesia, even complex medical cases can be done safely (because you don’t get put to sleep); talk to our doctor for consultation.
We’re pleased to inform, starting January, we have Dr. Khalil taking patients. We created a waiting list, please call us to add your name to the list.
Dr. Pranay Chander has committed to provide home visits to our most vulnerable patients who, due to debilitating illness or frailty, unable to present physically to our clinic. This service is insured under OHIP with some exceptions apply!
Please check out our work schedule because we have extended our hours! We have Dr. Pranay Chander seeing our walk-in patients on Tuesdays.
MediCorner cares about the environment. We know at heart that you’re thankful for the work we do, but we’ve set policy to accept food and other gifts only if they meet the following criteria
1. Food inside a reusable container with a lid; will wash it before we give it back to you
2. We will NOT accept plastic or any form of throw-away containers
3. In select cases, we will hold containers for rotation if an agreement made early on.
Keep the cheers, the jolly and save the environment, thank
Please note, the following services are no longer free based on recent OHIP changes:
1. Low-risk pre-operative assessment, e.g. before dental surgery
2. urine-based pregnancy tests, unless there’s a medical emergency
3. Ear wax removal only restricted to certain indications
Due to our increased wait times at the clinic in MediCorner, creating work efficiency bottlenecks, I, Dr. Taha, on behalf of myself and other doctors in MediCorner clinic decided to phase out “automatic” Prescription Authorization by fax. You are encouraged to follow up with the doctor personally to fill your prescription. I understand if you are unable to attend to doctor’s office in timely manner then the pharmacist is authorized to re-prescribe a short supply of regular medications if appropriate under their license restrictions/privileges. For longer-lasting supply of regular medications then you are required to attend to the doctor’s office to fill them.
If it’s at all necessary for you to get refills by “automatic” prescription authorization by fax without physically presenting to the doctor, the service can be accommodated by a fee of $10 per page (paid cash or by interac e-transfer) and that is only if for whatever reason it was prohibitive for you (or your legal representative) to see the doctor in timely manner.
Save time and view our real-time wait time for walk-in, click here
***Dr. Abdul Hadi, is back working and you can book for woman-health exams
*** Dr. Taha is NOT acquiring NEW patients at this point, but will continue caring for his rostered patients and walk-in’s.
*** We apologize for interruption in our on-site dietician and diabetic educator service. The service is no longer available due to lack of funding.
Our doctors adopt and strictly follow the new 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Pain to improve our patients’ care and reduce harm. For more information please follow this link: 2017 Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Pain
Rabies in Hamilton Ontario🐰
Public Health Warning – Lyme Disease
Hamilton Public Health Service officials warn that Hamilton is poised to become a risk area for Lyme disease. Increased numbers of disease-causing ticks have been found in the Hamilton area. Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria. In Ontario, Lyme disease is carried by some black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. However, in Hamilton, the most common type of tick found is the American Dog tick. American Dog ticks cannot transmit Lyme disease. Ticks are bugs that sit on tall grass and bushes until they attach themselves to a person or animal passing by. Make sure to check your body or your pets for ticks after hiking and other outdoor activities. For more information visit: hamilton.ca/ticks or call Hamilton Public Health Services 905-546-2489. A useful resource on Lyme Disease for primary care physicians is available on the CDC website: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/ .
***Please be advised, in no circumstance that you will receive any request either directly from us (MediCorner Clinic) or from a person on our behalf asking you to send/forward money/funds/cheques for donations, compassionate funds, charity, etc. We don’t use social media, mail, email, phone or any other method of communication to promote charity of any kind. Please be careful and use your common-sense judgement to avoid potential fraud, scams, etc.
Flu shot is here! Take your flu shot, protect self and others! Click link below for more details:
Five Things You Need to Know About Zika Virus
Zika primarily spreads through infected mosquitoes. You can also get Zika through sex.
Many areas in the United States have the type of mosquitoes that can spread Zika virus. These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters and can also bite at night. Also, Zika can be passed through sex from a person who has Zika to his or her sex partners.
Zika is linked to birth defects.
Zika infection during pregnancy can cause a serious birth defect called microcephaly that is a sign of incomplete brain development. Doctors have also found other problems in pregnancies and among fetuses and infants infected with Zika virus before birth. If you are pregnant and have a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika, do not have sex, or use condoms the right way, every time, during your pregnancy.
Pregnant women should not travel to areas with Zika.
If you must travel to one of these areas, talk to your healthcare provider first and strictly follow steps to prevent mosquito bites during your trip.
Returning travelers infected with Zika can spread the virus through mosquito bites.
During the first week of infection, Zika virus can be found in a person’s blood and can pass from an infected person to a mosquito through mosquito bites. An infected mosquito can then spread the virus to other people.
Couples with a partner who lives in or has traveled to an area with Zika should take steps to protect during sex.
My “common-sense” hypothesis on diet!
I always wondered what is it and what would it take to eat healthy. You probably know already that you opened the door on a very wide range of thoughts, almost endless like a “sea”.
Then, I thought, let’s go back to the basics, back to our ancestors; this was the time when we’re still hunting, gathering and forging. This is the time of our very beginning, perhaps about 160 thousands years, a time when the oldest fossil of our ancestors dated. We didn’t farm until about 12 to 14 thousands years ago; before then we were almost like any other “omnivore”.
Now, you’re probably getting closer to what our menu looked like. Everything was fresh, apart from what was cooked with simple “flame of fire” because back then we knew fire at some point before we farmed. Fire kept us close; in fact, they even thought that fire helped us develop “language” a ground breaking point in our distinction from our ancestor, the Homo erectus.
Again, you probably notice that we could be eating all day long, because we were roaming the earth searching for food and probably eating some in the meanwhile carrying some with us home. I wonder how much vegetables and fruits we ate then. You know they’re very hydrating in a long day walking down the savannah looking for more food.
We ate meat too, but that comes out of a price. We would have to run, chase and ambush; this means, we would have to waste more energy to get meat, but we needed it, because our brains needed it. In other words, it means that our body is designed in such a way that it conserves energy the best way it can, otherwise, we’ll have trouble surviving. Our best tool is our brain, that’s why about 30% of our blood volume goes to our brain. As a result, less blood goes to our muscles, and other organs to compensate for that. Hence, compared to other animals, we’re not the fastest, strongest or tallest, but we’re the most intelligent, hence we needed so much blood to go to our brain.
How are we doing now? We certainly evolved, I spent about 30 minutes sitting down to write this article on my computer at home; not so much hunting, gathering or even walking round the yard. I spend most of my hours at the office, sitting down, talking, typing and writing prescriptions; though I hope I do more than just writing prescriptions to my patients. I hope I can motivate them for a healthier life-style; hence, I wrote this article.
So we evolved in our life-style, more convenience, more sitting down, less walking, less searching on our feet, less running and chasing. Our food evolved also to match our busy lives; processed food, dense in calories and carbs to give us the energy quickly with less chewing, so we can go back and work on our computers, or driving our trucks, which is not a whole lot of exercise either. Not only you can eat processed food faster, but it is indeed cheaper because it has a longer shelf-life so it can be stored and “sold” for less. The end result, is less exercise, more calorie-dense food, less nutrition; remember, the food we ate in the past takes a lot of chewing and it’s bigger in volume, because there’s a lot of vegetables and fruits full of fibre, nutrients, and antioxidants that every cell in our body needs.
You may argue, that we live longer; though this is a very broad-base discussion either because there are many factors involved in living longer. We live safer. We surpassed the microbial challenges with antibiotics and vaccines. We take less risk because we’re not hunting anymore. We’re more sanitary. Technology allowed us to bypass blocked blood vessels in our heart and provided us with another “10-years” of heart-attack free time. Those factors to name few, so we live longer not because our food is better; in fact our food is one of the main reasons that we are less healthy and although it shorten our life-span, that is compensated by these factors just mentioned.
Our intelligence allowed us to develop technologies that changed our life-style forever, but our genome hasn’t evolved yet to allow us to be less energy/calorie conserving. The genome takes way longer to evolve. I wish our genome would evolve to allow our eyes to send signals to the brain to increase our metabolic rate when we are about to eat that cheesecake! That is not happening yet.
So what’s the solution to our unhealthy food habits. Simple, eat fresh, more salads, a lot of salad, like really a lot, less breads and pastries. Eat meat and eggs, it’s fine as long as you exercised on that day, like you “hunted your prey”. Avoid the “white killers”, they’re killers because they’re highly refined/processed: salt, sugar, white wheat flour, or any white flour. Take cucumbers and carrots. Eat them on your way to work, eat them at work. Eat a lot of them. Eat whole vegetables and fruits, don’t be afraid of peels. You have no time to peel, otherwise, the sun downs and you’re in the middle of the jungle facing nocturnal predators.
Finally, I would like to ask you to keep searching, reading and exploring the question: What is it to eat healthy?
Thank you for reading, have a nice meal!
Dr. Hussam Taha, CCFP