4th COVID-19 shot?

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Omicron is super-contagious and skyrocketing across the nation, while thevirus continues to replicate, and mutate mostly in the bodies of those more than 50 million unvaccinated people in the USA, who are carriers/transmitterscausing the current massive surges (almost a million last week) in COVID-19 infections, 70,000 hospitalizations, and about 1,300 deaths daily. Indeed, this is mostly the pandemic of the unvaccinated. Those with the booster must still be careful, since they still have 5-10 percent chance of getting infected, especiallywith Omicron and future strains.

In spite of the more than 829,000 deaths in the USA from COVID-19, the government still refuses to employ the proven standard epidemiologic protocol at its disposal that would rapidly end this pandemic: most importantly, a federal vaccine mandate. It might sound crazy but, as a physician who is very frustratedlike millions of other people, I feel like suing the government for gross negligence and dereliction of duty resulting in unintentional negligent genocide. If I neglect to follow the standard of care protocol in treating a patient who died as a result, I would lose my license, fined, and maybe go to jail. So, why not hold our government accountable and liable?

Post-COVID-19 syndrome

For those who are waiting for natural immunity to protect them from COVID-19, the bad news is: In order to develop natural immunity one has to be infected by COVID-19 first, and many of them would die (like the two anti-vax radio talk show hosts) before they develop natural immunity. Natural immunity is unstable, unreliable, and shortlasting, compared to immunity from the vaccines.The risk from COVID-19 infection is at least 20-30 times greater than the riskfrom the vaccine, which is a fraction of 1 percent. And if one survives the infection, there are a lot of health issues (post-COVID-19 syndrome) that could last for months, if not years, with exhaustion, headaches, rapid heart rate, weakness, depression, cognitive impairment, loss of appetite, smell and/or taste, blood clots, etc. Getting the vaccine is the clear and wise choice.

Proven vaccine safety

More than 8.7 billion vaccines have been administered around the world, about 487 million doses in the USA, and more than 60 million doses in the Philippines. The vaccines have been massively proven to be safe and effective.

Laboratory studies show the T-cells induced by the vaccines could protect people from Omicron, and those infected might have milder symptoms. We still dont know for sure if Omicron is not worse.

In the pipeline are chewing gum from lettuce that neutralizes the SAR-CoV2 virus in the saliva to reduce infection and transmission, and pills for COVID-19.

4th Vaccine?

The new definition of fully vaccinated now appears to include the Booster. The need for a 4th shot will be decided by the ravages from Omicron and the future strains churned out by the unvaccinated.

The Omicron is at least ten times more rapidly contagious. COVID-19 patients are filling up hospital beds around the country, with many of them waiting in hallways, and resulting in the cancelation of elective surgeries. The current70,000 hospitalizations are 40 percent higher than last month.

I only pray that the repeated mutations, enabled mostly by the unvaccinated carriers, will not produce a deadly variant that would not respond to vaccines or anything else, resulting in an Armageddon, the annihilation of our civilization. Science fiction? A figment of my imagination? Yes, and I hope it stays that way, with Gods mercy.

Global Medical Mission

Fil-American surgeons in the United States are well known for their love of our beloved native land of birth, The Philippines, and our people back home, especially those marginalized, suffering in the gutter of poverty in the hinterlands.

Annual medical/surgical missions, like our own Las Vegas yearly missionto Kamay ni Hesus (Hands of Jesus) Pilgrimage town in Lucban, Quezon, (led by Danny Fabito) which serves more than two thousand people each year. Andthere are dozens of other Fil-Am groups from the USA and Canada, flying home to provide free medical care and medicines to our neglected fellow Filipinos.These Fil-Am physicians are inspired by their compassion and desire to give back to their homeland.

One such group is headed by Dr. Pedro J. Obregon, MD, FACS, agraduate of FEU Institute of Medicine in 1960, who was inducted into the Global Medical Mission Hall of fame in 2014 at the University of Toledo, Ohio. The award also included the Distinguished Global Faculty Membership of the University of Toledo Health Sciences. Pete is a Fellow of, the American College of Surgeons, the Society of Philippine Surgeons in America, and recipient of theMost Outstanding Medical Alumnus Award from the FEU-DNR School of Medicine Alumni Foundation.

Pete started his general surgery practice in 1967 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, and moved to Columbus, Ohio, in 1973. While in practice, he volunteered 2-4 weeks a year to do surgical missions abroad for the faith-based humanitarian Medical Ministry International (MMI). He also directed two Homeless Clinics, Faith Mission and Open Shelter in Columbus. He decided to devote his time to his humanitarian endeavors, retired from private practice in 1993, and accepted the full-time directorship of MMI, a position he still holds today. His wife of 31 years, Judy, a Respiratory Therapist, Pharmacy Technician, and a Medical Assistant, is the Project Director of MMI. The Ministry was based in Irving, Texas, till 2009 when it moved to Toronto, Canada.

Pete heads regular surgical missions, 2-3 times or more each year, in various countries around the world. A sample tour is the one in 1994, when he and his team traveled to Kibogora, Rowanda, after the genocide. They proceeded to Iloilo, Roxas City, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, T’Boli, South Cotabato, Esmeralda, Ecuador, and Karanda, Zimbabwe. With 2 other surgeons, anesthesiologists, his team of 10-12 did 80-100 cases each time and a total of500-550 a year. They have provided surgical missions in many other areas (Cebu, Aklan, Palawan, Leyte, Antique, etc.)  in the Philippines. The COVID-19 pandemic derailed their schedules for 2020 and 2021. For 2022, they are planning to go to Bolivia, Dominican Republic, and Panama.

This indefatigable Fil-Am surgeon and his team have performed surgeriesin 45 countries in the last 32 years, a great source of pride and inspiration for the Philippines, the Society of Philippine Surgeons in America, and for every Filipino.

A blessed Christmas and a joyous and safe New Year to all!

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