Dr. Caren and Dr. Urman's Heart Health e-Newsletter
Happy, healthy and safe New Year!
This complimentary monthly educational service is for our patients and their families but please forward it to anyone who might find it of interest. It usually is sent out the first Friday morning of each month with occasional additional special editions as well. Click here to enter our website and learn more about our practice. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions or wish to make an appointment.
FAQ's about The Vax
Doc, when can I get my vaccine?
Some of you might first ask, "should I get a COVID vaccine?" and the general answer for the vast majority of you is ABSOLUTELY!
Doc, did you get yours? We both sure did (as pictured above), and we both had a little bit of a sore arm for a day and that was it (in addition to feeling fortunate and hopeful). Frankly, it was even less significant than the minimal symptoms we had from this year's flu shot. Dr Urman is scheduled for his 2nd shot next week. Admittedly, the second shot might carry a higher risk of side effects but we truthfully are not worried as the risk is still relatively minor. In addition, several of our staff have also been able to get vaccinated. The picture below shows one of our medical assistants, Erika getting her first shot.
Didn't they develop it so quickly that we do not know if it is safe? Well, we certainly would not have been ready to get our first shot so quickly if we had concerns about safety. No corners were cut in their development and the two vaccines approved thus far went through the same peer-reviewed trials and safety evaluation as all vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was evaluated on more than 40,000 participants and over 30,000 participants for the Moderna vaccine. The technology and science of mRNA vaccines has existed and been developed over the past few decades (which also gave us a huge head start) but the world never had the right incentives for full development until the global threat to health and wealth that COVID-19 posed here in 2020. Thus there was no skimping on research but very efficient and diversified planning (such as starting the manufacturing of doses while trials were still going on, governmental guarantees of purchasing large amounts of vaccine ahead of time and the governmental financial advances) which allowed that lots of doses are already available as soon as each vaccine is approved. In addition, inherent in the mRNA technology platform is that vaccines can be developed in relatively short periods of time as opposed to the traditional vaccine development methods that can take years, if not decades.
While one is not incorrect to say that we do not have any long-term data on the vaccines' efficacy or safety, the safety profile thus far has been as safe, if not safer than previously approved vaccines within several months of administration and there are no plausible concerns of long-term safety issues. To date there are no serious, long-term side effects associated with receipt of these vaccines (in tens of thousands of recipients) which will be closely monitored as their use expands. A few serious allergic reactions seen in the Pfizer vaccine since its rollout began are still statically extremely very, very rare and were not seen in the clinical trials. Its remains to be seen if similar events will be seen with the Moderna vaccine.
The most common side effects are injection site pain, swelling, or redness in the arm, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills and infrequently fever. Side effects are more common after the second dose; younger adults, who have more robust immune systems, reported more side effects than older adults. And these side effects are actually a sign of an immune system kicking into gear and do not signal that the vaccine is unsafe. With regard to short-term efficacy, the results are frankly truly remarkable, approaching 95% for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines thus far.
In addition, we are definitely already seeing concerning long-term effects of COVID-19 infection (even after relatively mild cases) so the odds of a problem with the vaccine is immensely less (if not all but nil) compared to the risk of getting the infection with acute illness or even lingering long-term effects. It also is not incorrect that we do not know how long one will be immune after vaccination, but that is not a reason to not get vaccinated as the risk of getting infected and ill (if not vaccinated) is way higher in the short-term. Figuring out how long the protection provided by either of these vaccines will last will take time and whether one might need a "booster" vaccine at some yet-to-be-determined interval will take time. Perhaps we will need a follow-up shot in a year (unlikely) or 2 - 3 years (more likely) or never (also admittedly unlikely).
Ok, so when and where can I get my vaccine? Will your office give it out like the flu shot?
The short answer is, as of New Year's Eve 2020, we still don't know even though we have regularly been reaching out to the LA County Department of Health as well as McKesson, the distributor of the Moderna vaccine. If it is possible, we want to be able to help get our patients vaccinated consistent with the timing and prioritization set by applicable public health guidelines. Our office (and presumably most, if not all other offices) will definitely not administer the Pfizer vaccine given the complex storage and distribution logistics. We hope there is a chance that our office will eventually have the Moderna vaccine (or other vaccines yet to finish their trials and get approved) but we have not seen any specifics regarding this as of yet.
So whether you will be getting your vaccine with us, at a local medical center or a local pharmacy is unclear at this time. However, We would think it is very likely that those of you aged 75 or greater will be able to get your first shot (wherever that might end up being) within the next 4 - 6 weeks, those over age 65 years likely by the end of winter, and others by the spring. The goal is to vaccinate everyone who wants to be vaccinated by the middle of 2021.
Until you get vaccinated, and frankly until a significant majority of the public achieve immunity, it remains imperative that you cover your mouth and nose with a face covering when around others, avoid close contact with people who are sick, practice physical distancing, and wash your hands often
If you are frustrated by not having more specifics - join the club. And yet, when you think about the logistical feat that the federal, state and county governments are undertaking, where if every citizen ultimately requires two doses and with a population of over 300 million, it's beyond comprehension when you start to begin to think about the logistical challenges of transporting and distributing this vaccine.
Wishing all of you and your families a happy, healthy and safe 2021 and at least there is a lot more hope in the air for this next year.
Learn more about the COVID vaccine:
Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination (CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Information about the Pfizer-BioNTech CVID-19 Vaccine (CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Factsheet for Patients and Caregivers for Moderna's COVID-19 Vaccine (FDA - Food and Drug Administration Emeegency Use Authorization)
Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine (New England Journal of Medicine, subscription required)
Efficacy and Safety of the mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine (New England Journal of Medicine, subscription required)
COVID-19 Information (LA County Department of Public Health)
Thank you shout out
We just want to publicly give a sincere thank you to all of our amazing staff, for all of their hard work and dedication over this incredibly difficult past year. Drs Caren and Urman are so appreciative of everything they have done for all of our patients.
Enhanced Access Membership Program (EAMP) 2021
During these challenging times, more than ever -
The Patient-Physician Relationship is The True Core of Optimal Medical Care
"It is far more important to know what person has the disease than what disease the person has." - attributed to Hippocrates, the father of Western Medicine.
- Personalized concierge services not covered by private insurance or Medicare
- Three annual membership options to choose from. Patients choose what works best for them
- Monthly payment options for current EAMP members renewing prior to the end of the year are available. Discounted fees for current EAMP members renewing at the same or higher level when pain in full by the end of the year.
- Increasing levels of priority and enhanced access for routine appointments and testing and to speak with you cardiologist on routine matters.
- New for 2021: Significant discounts offered on Sollis Heath Annual Membership Plans (24/7 unlimited, immediate access to world-class concierge facilities in Beverly Hills and Manhattan equipped with laboratory and diagnostic imaging including MRI, CT, ultrasound and x-ray, no wait time)
- Priority completion of administrative paper-work and fees waived.
- Global CARE coverage (for concierge level members). Critical care air rescue and evacuation anywhere in the world with the coordination of your cardiologist and the Cleveland Clinic.
- Validated parking (Premier and Concierge members)
- Convenient VIP parking for Concierge members for office visits
Current EAMP members should have received renewal information in the mail recently but if not, please call us or speak to our staff when visiting our office before the end of the year.
If you are not a current EAMP member, and wish to maximize your experience with our office and your top-tier cardiologist, click here for more information or call our practice manager, Lilly Garzona or EAMP representative Kahlia Bundle at 310.659.0715.
|Cedars-Sinai Smidt Heart Institute cardiologist Dr. Mark Urman is named as a Super Doctor for the thirteenth straight year|
We remain committed and available for your cardiac health needs.
As health care providers, there is nothing more important to us than the well-being of our patients.
It is important to keep yourself heart healthy while trying to remain safe.
If you would like to see our prior COVID-19 Heart Health e-Newsletters and all prior editions from 2020, click here
[Author’s note: This e-newsletter was written on Thursday, December 31, 2020. The subject matter is rapidly changing, and the recommendations below may be out of date within a short period of time. Find the latest general recommendations from the LA County Dept of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control by clicking on the links.]. In addition, this link is quite thorough and complete in giving you the latest statistics not only for LA county but also how we compare to the rest of the country: https://corona-virus.la/data
- We Remain Open to Serve You
- We Are Caring For You in a Safe and Secure Environment
- Do Not Delay Your Potentially Life-Saving Cardiac Care
No doubt, even under the best of circumstances, life for us will not be entirely back to normal anytime soon although there are promising signs that vaccines will become available soon after the new year. However, no matter what, we are here for you. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns and take advantage of technology to stay medically connected with us to keep you healthy.
Learn about Virtual Visits (Telemedicine) with us
Share Your Experience
Please help get the word out about our doctors and our practice. It will only take a minute and we will be so grateful! Share your experience in our office by clicking on your cardiologist:
If you Yelp review your healthcare encounter with Dr. Urman by clicking here.
On Google, look Dr Caren or Dr Urman up in Google, on the right of the screen you will see a picture of the office, a map, hours and other reviews, if you look just above the review section toward the bottom and to the right you can click on the button ‘Write a review’
On Vitals, here is the link for Dr Caren: https://www.vitals.com/doctors/Dr_Jeffrey_Caren.html
On Vitals, here is the link for Dr. Urman: https://www.vitals.com/doctors/Dr_Mark_Urman.html
| ||Following a Heart-Healthy Diet and Lifestyle|
Cedars Heart Program Remains Top 3 in US and Best in the West