INSIGHT INTO THE mRNA COVID-19 VACCINE

Vaccines save millions of lives every year. They work by training the body’s immune system to recognize and ward off viruses and bacteria. With the COVID-19 vaccine spreading around the globe, people have expressed mixed emotions about the vaccine. While most were elated with the news and had high hopes for it, others were a little skeptical. The average person does not understand how the vaccine will work on our bodies or how our bodies will react to it. However, a lot of information is now available about how and when research began, the technology used, how it works in our body and the side effects.  

HOW IT BEGAN 

Synthetic messenger RNA (mRNA), is an ingenious variation on the natural substance that provides instructions or serves as a blueprint for protein production in cells throughout the body. By making precise modifications to synthetic mRNA and injecting people with this blueprint, any cell in the body could be transformed into an on-demand drug factory. Before this was a multibillion-dollar idea, it was a scientific backwater. Katalin Kariko, a Hungarian biochemist, specializes in RNA-mediated mechanisms. She dedicated her work attempting to harness the power of mRNA to fight disease. However, she was faced with rejections and didn’t receive any support in the form of government grants, corporate funding or even support from her colleagues. After partnering with Drew Weissman and tweaking her current work, they discovered a solution to the existing mRNA research. Today, Moderna and Pfizer, have used this mRNA research that started three decades ago in an attempt to end this global pandemic and save lives. 

HOW DOES IT WORK

Most vaccines introduce weakened or inactive versions of the virus in the body for it to make antibodies. The COVID-19 vaccine has strands of genetic material called mRNA inside a special coating. That coating protects the mRNA from enzymes in the body that would otherwise break it down once it entered the body. mRNA can most easily be described as instructions for the cell on how to make a piece of the “spike protein” that is unique to SARS-CoV-2. Since only part of the protein is made, it does not do any harm to the person vaccinated. After the piece of the spike protein is made, the cell breaks down the mRNA strands and disposes of them using enzymes in the cell. Once displayed on the cell surface, the protein causes the immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating T-cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection. These antibodies are specific to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which means the immune system is primed to protect you against future infection.

SIDE EFFECTS OF THE VACCINE

Patients considering vaccination may worry about the short-term and long-term side effects of taking the vaccine. The most common side effect of the vaccine is pain/soreness at the injection site. Other commonly reported side effects include fever, fatigue, muscle aches or headache, but these are usually mild and resolve in a few days. Serious reactions are uncommon and include rare cases of severe allergic reactions. Caution is advised for anyone who has a history of serious allergic reactions to vaccines or injections in the past. The mRNA does not enter the cell nucleus so it cannot alter or affect your DNA. it has also not been linked to infertility or miscarriage as suggested by many rumours.

WHO WILL BE VACCINATED?

The delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine will be prioritized since it is limited in terms of quantity at the moment. The CDC has recommended phases in which different groups of people should receive the vaccine, but currently it is up to individual States to set exact criteria for who is included in these phases. For the State of Georgia, this link provides updates on current phases.  As the vaccine becomes more readily available, additional groups will be vaccinated. 

Buckhead Medicine is a premier concierge medicine practice in Atlanta. We provide quality, attentive and personalized medical care to people with physician access 24/7. We have also been approved for international testing and offer COVID-19 tests like the COVID-19 RT-PCR Test, COVID-19 Rapid Molecular Test, COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test and the COVID-19 IgG Serum Antibody Test. check out our website for information. Visit our page to find out about COVID-19 testing in Atlanta. Read our blogs for more information about the COVID-19 vaccination and how long you have to isolate for if you were exposed to COVID-19

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

FAQ

What services are provided as a part of my annual fee?
  • Same-day or next business day appointments
  • Direct access to Dr. Espinosa via his personal cell phone after hours, weekends, and holidays
  • Minimal office wait times
  • Longer, more comprehensive appointments
  • House Calls (requires additional trip fee)
  • A strong focus on preventive medicine, long-term health and wellness
  • A personal professional relationship with your physician
What is the mission of Buckhead Medicine?

We strive to provide the highest quality medical care, emphasizing a comprehensive approach to prevention and disease management. We want patients to be completely satisfied with every aspect of their care.

Where is your office and are you on the medical staff of a local hospital?

Yes, Dr. Espinosa’s office is in Buckhead, a suburb of Atlanta. He is on the medical staff of Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia and Northside Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. If you require hospitalization, Dr. Espinosa will coordinate your patient care by working with the hospital based physicians. He will also make periodic hospital visits during your hospitalization.

Who will cover for you when you are not available?

On infrequent occasions when Dr. Espinosa is out of town or otherwise unavailable, he will have another qualified physician cover for him. Even while out of town, Dr. Espinosa will generally be available by phone to his patients and to his covering physicians. For practical reasons, we reserve the right to designate another qualified physician to perform any and all services should the need arise.

Do you accept insurance?

Commercial Insurance and Medicare:
Buckhead Medicine is an In-Network provider for Blue Cross Blue Shield PPO, Aetna, Coventry, Humana, Cigna, Tricare and United Healthcare. Our practice fully participates in the Medicare program. Buckhead Medicine accepts all other insurance as an Out-of-Network provider. We, however, do not participate in the Medicaid program. Regardless of your plan, we will bill your insurance for all covered services. It is our intention that no insurance-covered medical services are included in your annual fee.

HMO and Medicare HMO:
We do not participate in HMO programs. As such, HMO patients will not be able to join the practice until they transition to either a PPO or traditional Medicare plan.

Do I still need insurance if I enroll with you?

Yes. Personalized medical practices do not take the place of general health insurance coverage. Buckhead Medicine is a primary care medical practice, not a health insurance program. You are advised to continue your PPO, Medicare or other insurance program. If you are an uninsured individual and desire to enroll in the practice, we will provide you with a discounted fee schedule for office visits, tests and procedures.

What if I don't have health insurance?

For uninsured patients, Buckhead Medicine offers an uninsured patient plan. Although this plan is not insurance, it does cover for all clinic visits and any labs or tests that are performed in our office. In many cases this plan provides for significant cost savings to uninsured individuals. Please contact our office for additional details on this plan.

Will my insurance still be billed for my office visits?

Yes, we will bill your insurance company directly. The annual fee does not cover costs for regular exams or testing conducted inside or outside of the clinic. These costs are billed to your insurance provider in the same manner that traditional practices bill insurers.

Is there a co-payment?

If you have commercial insurance, we will collect the co-payment at the time of service. Medicare patients usually do not require a co-payment.

Do you bill Medicare for the annual fee?

No. The annual fee is not covered by Medicare. The fee only includes services that are not covered by Medicare and, as such, cannot be paid for or reimbursed by Medicare. We will bill Medicare for your sick visits and for any additional services performed at this practice that are covered by Medicare.

Will my commercial insurance reimburse my annual fee?

No, commercial insurance does not typically reimburse for the annual fee. However, some Flexible Spending Account and Health Savings Account plans may pay for all or part of the annual fee. In addition, some insurance plans allow the concierge fee to apply towards the annual deductible. Members are advised to consult their human resources representative at their place of employment.

Is the annual fee tax deductible?

In many cases the annual fee is a tax deductible healthcare expense. Patients are advised to consult with their tax consultant to clarify qualification in their particular circumstance.

Does the annual fee cover lab, x-ray, specialist fees and hospitalization?

Services such as labs, x-ray, specialty visits or hospitalizations are covered based on coverage determined by your insurance plan.

Are there age limits?

Dr. Espinosa is an Internal Medicine physician. His specialty is Adult medicine. Dr. Espinosa is trained to manage acute and chronic medical illnesses among adults. As such, the practice is limited to patients 17 years of age and older.

What if I have an emergency?

If you have a life threatening emergency, call 911 immediately. After you call 911, please call Dr. Espinosa. He will contact the hospital and notify the emergency room of your tentative arrival. In addition, Dr. Espinosa will provide the emergency room with pertinent medical history information

How far in advance do I need to book an appointment?

Dr. Espinosa is committed to providing his patients with easy access to care. All urgent visits will be accommodated either same day or next day, placing the greatest priority on the sickest patients. Annual physical exams will be booked 1 to 2 weeks in advance.

What do I do if I become ill while traveling or away on an extended vacation?

Call 911 if you have a life threatening emergency. Then call Dr. Espinosa. Call Dr. Espinosa first if the problem is minor. With the exception of a few controlled substances, most prescriptions can be ordered anywhere in the country. If necessary, it may be possible for Dr. Espinosa to find you a resource in your area. If you seek care at an emergency room or urgent care center out of our area, we request that you have the doctor seeing you call Dr. Espinosa for coordination. Dr. Espinosa will be readily available by phone for consultation with you and/or other health care personnel. If you should require hospitalization while away, at your request, Dr. Espinosa will establish phone communication with you and your attending physician(s) to ensure continuity of care.

Do you make house calls?

House calls will be available to Buckhead Medicine members, within a limited radius from the clinic. These will be done as deemed appropriate by Dr. Espinosa on a case-by-case basis. Home visits will be billed to your insurance provider similar to an office visit. A separate trip fee is required for house calls.

What if I need to see a specialist or a surgeon?

Of course, Buckhead Medicine patients are free to see any specialist they wish. We are available to help you decide what specialists to see and to coordinate such consultations. Patients may frequently request for “doctors in my area”, and we can accommodate this. We will ensure that the most appropriate resources are used, the earliest arrangements are made, and your applicable medical information is sent in advance of your specialist visit.

What about the cost of prescription medications?

The cost of prescription medications are the patient’s responsibility and in most cases should be covered by their insurance plans. We have expertise in assisting patients in purchasing medications in the most cost effective manner.

Will I be required to pay my annual fee even if I do not use your services?

Yes. Paying your annual fee allows you to be a member of the practice whether you are sick or well. We encourage our patients to utilize the amenities offered such as wellness consultations and emails for appropriate non-urgent health related questions, regardless of your state of health.

Your Chat will diaplay here...