Covid + Vaccine Q+A with Dr Gary

The good lawyers and legal aid workers of 155 Community Law Centre Taitokerau ( provide free legal aid for non-wealthy clients in Northland. Their staff had some questions about Covid and Covid vaccination. I was more than happy to Zoom a medical Q+A session for them. I hope these questions and answers help you too.

Just a few of their submitted questions: Is this new technology? How does it work, and how do we know if it is safe? What about risks of heart inflammation? If I have a heart murmur am I more at risk from the vaccine/Covid? Will we likely need booster shots for different strains of Covid? What are the vaccine side effects? My experience after the first injection was a much heavier than usual period. Is this normal?

To summarise my advice in a few paragraphs (and save you an hour): Get vaccinated. The risk of vaccination is not zero. Nothing is ‘zero risk’ in the real world! But compared to our risk of Covid (the acute injury, the chronic damage, and rarely the chance of death), and even compared to our everyday health risks, the risk of the Covid vaccine is absolutely trivial. (5,290,000,000 doses and counting.)

Perspective. The Big Picture. You can’t just read headlines about blood clots or heart inflammation without understanding the baseline health risks we face every day. Medical perspective doesn’t come easily. You won’t readily find it on Facebook, because social media is optimised to make money: to create and sell outrage, sensationalism, and hatred to earn clicks and advertiser dollars. Perspective and understanding are dead boring and profitless compared to paranoia, rage and fear.

So, get vaccinated. Act as if you are part of a functional society of intelligent, interconnected people looking out for one another.

And once you are vaccinated, if there’s Covid in your community, wear a mask indoors to avoid spreading infection to others — and to avoid receiving Covid from others. Win-win.

If we could just do these three things: Vaccinate, Mask and Avoid crowded indoor places whenever possible, our communities would be in a stronger position to face this pandemic, new variants, the next influenza pandemic, or whatever the future holds.

Best wishes in health.

Kia kaha. Stay strong.

-Dr Gary