Getting vaccines with Bunkis and Ekstrom

COVID-19 Update


Hello from all of us at Orange County Plastic Surgery in Newport Beach, CA and Salisbury Plastic Surgery in Worcester, MA. Drs. Ekstrom and Bunkis have both received the Moderna vaccine at the Orange County Surgery Center Vaccination site.

Getting vaccinated certainly made the start of this New Year very special to us! By the way, neither of us, nor any of the patients injected so far at the OCSC, have experienced any side effects. It will take the majority of us, getting both doses of the vaccine, to stem this pandemic. New more contagious mutations out there will accelerate the spread of COVID-19 infection until enough people are vaccinated to make a difference and to bring the number of infections down towards zero. We will never truly see zero infections as so many people have unfounded fears of the vaccination. Yes, your arm may be sore for a few days. Flu like symptoms for a day or two have been reported but we have not seen that here. Yes, your lips might swell for a few days after the vaccination if you have had prior filler injections (this has been reported twice in the millions of patients who have been injected). There was a reported case of a patient with a severe shellfish allergy developing similar symptoms after a vaccine injection, but again, his symptoms were treatable and self-limiting. But these issues are minor compared to the lives the vaccine will save. To obtain full immunity, both doses of the vaccine have to be given to each patient – and it has to be the same type of vaccine. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines act slightly differently and receiving a dose of one followed by a dose of the other will not give us optimal immunity. No one yet knows how long this immunity will last – will it be ten years like rabies vaccines or only a year like current flu vaccines? The same people who previously were screaming that the vaccine was being rushed through the certification process are now complaining that the vaccine is not being delivered and administered quickly enough. The number of people receiving the vaccine (4.9 million Americans have been vaccinated) is below initial government projections but the delay is truly understandable when we see the amount of bureaucracy and paperwork Dr. Becker had to endure to begin immunizing patients here at the Orange County Surgery Center!

The one thing we do know about the COVID-19 virus is that it is unpredictable. We have previously mentioned cases we were personally familiar with in which an ill patient lived with their family for a week before their illness had been diagnosed and the patient was hospitalized, yet no one else in the family tested positive. We read a disturbing article in the New England Journal of Medicine last month which chronicles the effects of a COVID-19 outbreak on the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt while it was at sea. Of the 4,779 relatively healthy crew members on this aircraft carrier, everyone was tested after the outbreak occurred. Of the infected crew members, 23 were sick enough to be hospitalized, and one crew member died of respiratory complications. Not surprisingly in this confined space, 1,271 crew members ended up testing positively. But the mind boggling statistic to us is that of these crew members who tested positive, 77% showed no signs of disease at the time of initial diagnosis, and 55% did not develop any symptoms at any time! The moral of that story is that you cannot rely on asking people how they feel or on checking their temperature before assuming you can remove masks and work together in the same office or socialize.

It is frightening to read that 40% of health care workers who have been offered the vaccine have refused to accept it – the same percentage as those in the general population who say that they will not accept the vaccine. In the United States, over 20.7 million people have tested positive and at least 352,397 have died of COVID-19 infection related causes. Spiraling COVID-19 deaths have left morgues overflowing and funeral homes turning away grieving families. Worcester, Shrewsbury, and Clinton are on the list of highly infected cities released by the State of Massachusetts. Ambulance scarcity and long 911 response times are the norm as COVID pushes L.A. County to brink of catastrophe. Many locations are beginning to limit non-essential surgical procedures to conserve supplies, but fortunately, that has not affected us at our usual facilities. This is not a time to let our guard down! Stay healthy and get vaccinated whenever you get the opportunity to do so!

Dr. Bunkis on his version of the U.S.S. Roosevelt, fishing in 1956.

Dr. Bunkis on his version of the U.S.S. Roosevelt, fishing in 1956.

Don’t give up now – let us stay vigilant to the end!

To your health and well-being. Stay healthy! Stay happy and persevere!

The end of the pandemic is almost here!

Keep wearing your masks in public, social distancing, continue to wash your hands frequently, all of you get tested before getting together with friends and family, get vaccinated when you get the opportunity, be safe, be happy, be healthy and prosper!

Enjoy your families! And have a Happy New Year!

Be grateful for what you have now and for what is on the horizon.

If you need Dr. Ekstrom or I, please call 949-888-9700 or visit our websites at:

Or for MA location, call 508-755-4911 or visit

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Thanks for staying in touch and for your feedback!