Skip to main content

Newsletter September 2021

logo dragon claw horizontal 2

Newsletter September, 2021

 What's in this Newsletter

  • Happy news! Our work in Aboriginal Health at Tiwi Islands
  • Covid updates by Nurse Jill 
  • Pfizer offering DC members patient support
  • DT story by co-facilitator Paul Kett
  • Regulating immune system by Functional Nutritionist
  • Invitation to Free event - Making sense of disabling back pain
  • MsK support phone number
  • Calendar of Events for our Weekly Dragon Talk

 Enriching trip to Tiwi Islands – working to improve Aboriginal Health

L-R: Pirrawayingi Marius Puruntatameri, Mamanta Cultural Consultant, Denis Tebbutt, DC Chair, Jennifer Richards, TV works, Tammy Abala and Shane Tipuamantamerri of Mamanta Cultural Consultants.

Our Chairperson, Denis Tebbutt was able to represent the production team on the Tiwi Islands to complete our planning for their video in this Medication Adherence series during July. With Sydney in a COVID lockdown our risk mitigation planning worked well with our local production partner, TV Works and our on island cultural consultants Mamanta, able to join up and complete this very important phase of the project.

It is extremely important to share with the community the storyline of the initial script and to take the opportunity to share its intent and to listen and learn the priorities and needs of the community.  Tammy and Shane from Mamanta worked tirelessly to ensure that Jennifer and Ian from TV Works, along with Denis, had a full experience of Tiwi life and health challenges that we can help impact. We visited the key locations where we had the opportunity to meet and discuss the plan with a broad range of dedicated Elders, such as Marius, who is extremely knowledgeable and experienced in health and education. He is a joy to listen to how he now sees his challenge for the young people of Tiwi. We are encouraged and enjoyed meeting with the enthusiastic and dedicated residents engaged across the health sector.

Each new project within this program opens exciting and culturally rich experiences where the challenge is not the message but how we engage and help transmission, this is not only what Dragon Claw has become recognised for but is continuing to learn and develop.  This project will produce outstanding messages with a very exciting and colourful Tiwi style.


 COVID update

by Jill (retired Nurse)



Over the past few months, the Delta variant has spread widely in countries around the world, becoming the dominant variant. Its rapid spread has inferred that it may be able to bypass existing COVID-19 vaccines in some cases.

Professor Sir Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group, has even commented that, in his opinion, the highly transmissible Delta variant has made achieving herd immunity an impossibility.

“The Delta variant will still infect people who have been vaccinated. And that does mean that anyone who’s still un-vaccinated at some point will meet the virus […], and we don’t have anything that will completely stop that transmission.”

Additionally, recent data have also suggested the immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccines fades considerably over time, which also means vaccinated individuals become more susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2.

According to Pfizer’s 2021 second-quarter report, receiving an additional booster dose of their COVID-19 vaccine after having had the initial two doses increases the amount of Delta variant antibodies five-fold in 18-to-55-year-old's and 11-fold in 65–85-year-old's.

“The booster trial builds on the phase 1/2/3 trial and is part of the companies’ clinical development strategy to determine the effectiveness of a third dose against evolving variants.” This third dose would be identical to the two doses of the currently authorized Pfizer vaccine. However, the company is also investigating how an “updated” vaccine dose, altered to target the Delta variant specifically, would fare.

Moderna has also said that an additional booster shot of its COVID-19 vaccine would be able to keep the Delta variant at bay. The three boosters under investigation included their currently authorized shot, as well as two more experimental candidates.

Following these findings, both Pfizer and Moderna have been seeking authorization for their respective booster shots from countries that have already authorized their main COVID-19 vaccines.

So far, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of America has authorized the distribution of third booster shots of both the Pfizer and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccines — but only for those who are immuno-compromised, and therefore at higher risk of infection with emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.

Israel has also recently authorized the distribution of third shots of the Pfizer vaccine, which is now available to “people over 50, healthcare workers, people with severe risk factors for the coronavirus, prisoners and wardens.”

While the United Kingdom has not yet authorized additional booster shots, unofficial reports indicate it has ordered millions of extra doses for a COVID-19 vaccine booster campaign in 2022.

Australia has yet to authorize additional booster shots for people with compromised immune systems.


Pfizer offers Aussies in Lockdown support


Meet our key contact with Pfizer, Leigh Simmonds, Senior Manager Patient Advocacy and Reconciliation Action Plan lead at Pfizer Australia. 

Leigh writes:

“As this response to COVID19 has been a government vaccination roll out program, they have taken the lead with providing information”.

“Feedback tells me that there is a need for us to assist with some specific information gaps where it may be helpful. “

“We would like to help you with answering questions you may be getting if we can, so we are compiling a list of questions specific to our vaccine that we are handling through our phone lines and through HCP’s from their patients. We are also liaising with the Department of Health, Federal & States to facilitate additional and consistent information for when you refer people there.”

Pfizer Phone for medical info at 1800 675 229

“I am hoping to have this FAQ from us, for you in coming weeks if not sooner. In the meantime, you can also refer your patients to our medical information service (1800 675 229) or and our team will respond. “ says Leigh.


These are really fantastic and credible resources, which you may already be referring to:


Functional Nutrition

by Charlotte Hill


Regulating the immune system with  Paleo template

– complementary to conventional medicine

This month at one of the Dragon Talks I gave an introduction to the Autoimmune Protocol (“AIP”), a therapeutic version of the Paleo template designed to help regulate the immune system, mitigating autoimmune and other chronic diseases.  In this month's newsletter, I am going to give an overview of the key principles of the template that is designed as a complementary approach to conventional medicine and has shown extremely promising results in small scale clinical trials. For more information click here or here.

The Autoimmune Protocol involves both dietary changes and lifestyle modifications (including stress management, movement and sleep) to:

  1. Flood the body with the nutrients through nutrient dense healthy foods to help reverse the nutrient deficiency caused by standard diets
  2. Supports reduce inflammation through providing nutrients to the immune system and removing both dietary and lifestyle triggers
  3. Promotes healing of the gut and improves the gut microbiome which are both intimately connected with immune health
  4. Supports balanced hormone regulation which supports a healthy immune system
  5. Encourages tissue healing that may decrease symptoms of your autoimmune disease
  6. Helps you understand specific foods that trigger symptoms in your individual body (see Reintroduction Phase)

There are two phases to the dietary component of the dietary portion of the Autoimmune Protocol: the Elimination Phase and the Reintroduction Phase. The Reintroduction Phase results in a template dietary protocol that is individual to you and that you are recommended to follow alongside conventional medicine support to help best manage your autoimmune condition(s). The AIP diet focuses on nutrient density (not calories) and the key differentiator to many other diets that focus on nutrient density is that some nutrient dense foods are actually removed in the Elimination Phase (for example: eggs, nightshade vegetables, nuts and seeds) as these contain substances that can disrupt gut health, impact our hormones or stimulate the immune system which we are trying to improve! 

Here is a summary of both stages: 

  1. Elimination Phase: A 30 - 90 day period where you follow a specific dietary protocol which focuses on adding lots of nutrient dense superfoods (organ meat, vegetables and seafood in particular) and removing foods that are 1) processed 2) not nutrient dense or 3) nutrient dense but at the same time may aggravate the immune system.  Click here for a summary of the foods to eat and eliminate.  This phase is designed to stay in this phase until there has been a shift in your baseline symptoms as your body heals.
  2. Reintroduction Phase: Foods are reintroduced one at a time whilst carefully watching for any adverse symptoms to arise. Such symptoms could be digestive symptoms, aches and pains, sleep, energy or mood changes and can arise up to 7 days after reintroduction. If you have an adverse reaction it shows that your body is not quite ready to bring this particular food back in. If you have no reaction you can bring the food back into your diet. There is a certain order in which it is advised to bring foods back in - starting with those most nutrient dense and least likely to impact your immune health e.g. egg yokes, seed based spices and lastly it includes grains and legumes which can be tough to digest and can stimulate the immune system which also aren’t comparatively speaking high in nutrients. Some foods are never recommended to be reintroduced for example: processed foods with additives, preservatives and vegetable oil or gluten. After a period of reintroductions you end up with a tailored 'AIP template' for you but this will continue to evolve.

As already mentioned AIP also involves lifestyle changes that can't be overlooks although I haven't gone into them in detail here. Improvements to elements like sleep and movement can have huge impacts on our immune system regulation, gut health and hormone regulation that we cannot achieve by diet alone.

So that is it for now on AIP! This is obviously a very in-depth topic that cannot be covered comprehensively in just one sitting but I hope you enjoyed finding out a bit more about it. There are lots of resources online for those that wish to find out more. For example 'The Paleo Mom' or Mickey and Angie from Autoimmune Wellness. In addition, there are now many practitioners who are AIP Certified Coaches - including me. If you wish to work directly with a coach here is a link to a directory of coaches all around the world.


Dragon Talk update by Paul Kett


Our Dragon Talk support group meets each week via Zoom to share our journey, support each other, and learn about a variety of aspects of autoimmune disease. We are global in nature; some of us reside in North American, specifically western and central Canada, others reside in Australia. We have, over time, developed caring relationships with each other. I feel that I have made many new friends in my time as a member of Dragon Talk. 

Our teaching/learning sessions are not all medical or clinical in nature. For example, recently two of our members facilitated discussions on the meaning of life from the perspective of our particular disease and debility. Robin approached this engaging topic from a philosophical perspective, quoting a number of contemporary thinkers and inviting us to choose one of the quotes and share how it affects us. The following week, I (Paul) invited the attendees to bring a poem, a song, or a short piece of prose, and to share it with the group, speaking to its meaning and inviting comments and reactions. As you might imagine, the offerings were varied but also poignant. Each one reflected a journey, or an aspect of the reader’s life. Both evenings were enlightening, with great group participation. 

I value my time spent with my Dragon Talk friends and I make it a priority each week. Please consider joining us. Charmaine or I would be happy to give you more information. 

Paul Kett Member Patient Advisory Committee, Co-facilitator of Dragon Talks, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Contact  National (Australia) Help Line



Our friends at Musculoskeletal Australia provide a contact free national Help Line! 

Do you have questions about dealing with pain, your musculoskeletal condition/s, treatment options, COVID-19, or accessing services? Then be sure to call their nurses on their free Help Line. They’re available weekdays between 9am-5pm on 1800 263 265.  

Alternatively feel free to drop a line to our patient volunteers with your phone number and we are happy to give you a call by appointment This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here is MsK’s newsletter MSK News


Invitation to Free event: Making sense of disabling back pain


Do you have back pain? You’re not alone. Back pain is the leading cause of disability and can affect many aspects of a person’s life. The problem is there are so many myths and misconceptions about back pain.

Back pain is complex and the facts about it are rarely understood. Best care for back pain involves a journey with several key steps. 

Register with our friends at  Musculoskeletal Australia’s free online Koadlow Community Lecture on Wednesday 15 September at 7.00 – 8:30pm (AEST), as Prof Peter O’Sullivan makes sense of back pain, busts common myths, and provides some practical information about how you can become more effective at managing your back pain. This event is supported by the Myotherapy Association of Australia.

REGISTER NOW by  clicking on the link


Our tentative (always open to change!) schedule for DragonTalks

September 2021

Please share with anyone with an autoimmune condition who might benefit from a safe space to share and learn.

September 07/08 Susan's Story - RA Patient Getting into the Driver Seat - challenges of diagnosis, getting the right clinical / medical support and help from my community / friends
September 14/15 Jill Dunkley Bone-Fit programme
September 21/22 Coffee Hour



 Please contact Charmaine This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for the zoom link or if you see a session of particular interest, and would like a link to a taped session.

Tuesdays North America 8 pm ET
Wednesdays Australia 10 am AET


Medical Disclaimer
While all information in our newsletter  has been researched, reviewed and presented with all due care, the content is provided for general education and information only.Information here is not intended to replace medical advice from a health professional and Dragon Claw does not accept any liability for any error or omission, injury, expense, loss or damage incurred by you or another party as a result of you using or relying on any information contained in our newsletter, on our website or any linked website. All users are urged to seek advice from a qualified health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.