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“Hallelujah there’s a vaccine! We’re all saved! Oh, wait…”

Sorry to rain on the parade, but this isn’t going to change anything, anytime soon.

First, by all accounts, take-up is not going to be that great. Even among health workers, who are rightly suspicious of the data-poor way vaccines are being rushed out.

Second, it is going to be months before there are enough vaccines to go around, and most of us, even if we are inclined to take a vaccine, are at the end of a VERY long queue.

On that score, I have no problem at all with any vulnerable elderly being vaccinated first – although in my more cynical moments I wonder whether
they are being used as convenient guinea-pigs to see if the thing actually IS safe. What I DO have a problem with was that the suggestion that the
obese should be second in line.

Yes, I know. Politically incorrect. Sorry. I am reaching for my compassion-booster, but my first reaction to that news was that the obese are going to be “rewarded” for not looking after their health. But let’s spin it to blame government (again). For decades our idiots in charge – and the international consortium of idiots – have done NOTHING effective to stop the global pandemic of obesity.

The World Health Organization’s current statement on the situation is: “The issue has grown to epidemic proportions, with over 4 MILLION people dying EACH YEAR as a result of being overweight or obese in 2017”. (I added emphasis.) Given that statistic, in what universe is obesity an epidemic, not a pandemic?

Third, being vaccinated – even if it works – does not stop you from getting infected with SARS-Cov-2. If you’re the sort of person who
doesn’t have a functioning immune system, is on multiple medications for several chronic diseases and is – let’s say it again – obese, then a vaccine
might be what keeps you out of the ICU. But you can still get infected, and you can still pass it on. That means the new policy is vaccines PLUS masks PLUS lockdowns.

And now the good news. A huge international team led by the University of Edinburgh has identified SNPs in 5 genes – two to do with inflammation and two associated with direct anti-viral response – that appear in people who get severe COVID-19, not in those who shrug it off. (Page 6.) As I explore with naturopath John Stirling (page 26 this issue), this inbuilt susceptibility is one of the reasons supposedly “healthy” people have been dying
with COVID-19.

Another area we are deeply familiar with, thanks mainly to our relentless conference star Dr Tom O’Bryan and, more recently, Dr Sam Yanuck, is autoimmunity.

So it’s welcome news (page 5) that a Yale University study has not just confirmed that SARS-Cov-2 infection generates autoantibodies, but that in severe COVID-19 cases there are even more of them than occur in patients with lupus/ SLE. Which explains the myriad of symptoms – including the bizarre skin rashes and random swellings that come with COVID.

It’s good news because we do have a handle on autoimmune diseases. And so to grief… There’s a lot of it about. And we don’t deal with it very well. We tend not to talk about it, and we certainly don’t have any rituals to help us deal with it. Yet loss is traumatic – on a physical as well as an emotional level.

Our In Practice contributor Vanessa May (page 42) uniquely combines nutritional therapy with grief mentoring and coaching. Grief, she reminds us, has radical, visceral, physical effects. It can lead to heart attacks and cancer. We loved her story and case study, especially the wisdom that it’s not a question of “getting over” a loss – that’s not going to happen. But we – and our clients – can learn how to deal with the fall-out so that severe illness doesn’t follow.

Simon Martin

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