Letter from Summit Medical Group Board Chairman Concerning COVID-19

August 31, 2021

We are sharing the letter below with permission from Dr. Nick Thornton, Chairman of the Board of Summit Medical Group, because it contains important information and compelling facts.  We want to encourage our patients and their loved ones who are eligible to seriously consider getting vaccinated if you haven’t already.  If you have questions about the vaccines available or would like to discuss further with your physician, please call our office.  We currently have all three vaccines available:  Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

August 30, 2021

We strongly encourage everyone that is currently unvaccinated to consider getting the Covid vaccine as soon as possible.  We realize that there are many reasons why some of you have chosen not to get vaccinated yet.  We also realize that most of you have very strong feelings about those reasons. While we respect your right to have those emotions and opinions, we are concerned that some of you may be basing your decision on incorrect or misleading information. So, we just want to ask you to consider some of the following information which may help inform you about the risks of taking versus not taking the vaccine. This information could literally save your life or the life of someone you love, so please take a few minutes to review and consider it.

The first and most important point that we would make with anyone that asks to discuss the vaccine is that you will be taking a risk regardless of your decision. Many people seem to focus only on the possible risks of the shot without fully considering the risks of getting the disease. Please allow me to share some important statistics with you…


There have been over 217 million cases of confirmed Covid worldwide which has resulted in over 4.5 million deaths (about 2% or 1 out of 50). Even if you think that either number is inflated or underestimated, the numbers are still going to be astounding. These numbers do not include the hundreds of millions of people with long-Covid who have chronic damage and symptoms from the infection that may never resolve.



There have been over 5.18 Billion doses of Covid vaccine administered worldwide. There have been well documented common symptoms like fever, headache, fatigue, achiness, etc. which have generally been limited to less than 24-48 hours. There have been isolated reports of more severe reactions and even deaths after vaccination, but these are extremely rare. Over the first 7 months of distribution there were reported to be 6,968 deaths that occurred after a Covid vaccine (0.0018% or 1 in 55,555). Almost all of these deaths were investigated and found not to be related to the vaccine. Even if they were all from the vaccine, the risk of death from the shot would still be over 1100 times less likely to cause death than Covid infection (1/55,555 vs 1/50). The actual rate is likely less than 1 in 500,000, especially in the US where emergency care is readily available if needed.



In Knox county, there have been 43,719 people with confirmed Covid between the ages of 18 and 64. Of that group, there have been 625 hospitalizations (1 in 70) and 130 deaths (1 in 336). Over 476,000 doses of vaccine have been given in Knox county with about 48% of eligible people being fully vaccinated. There have been no reported deaths and the estimated chance for anaphylaxis is 2-3 per million which would equate to less than 2 cases. So, the risk of the disease is substantially higher for getting Covid than taking the shot to prevent it.


The CDC recently estimated that if you are unvaccinated the risk of getting Covid is 5 times more likely and the risk of being hospitalized with Covid is 29 times more likely than if you were vaccinated.  It is estimated that over 98% of the hospitalizations and 99% of the deaths from Covid in the last 3 months are people that are unvaccinated. The Delta variant is estimated to be at least twice as contagious as the previous virus. Therefore, it will spread exponentially faster and more than the surge we had last winter. This is the reason that our community numbers have climbed so rapidly in just the last few weeks. Our hospitals are currently packed to capacity. It also appears that the Delta variant is more powerful for causing severe disease, especially in populations under 30 years old.



For many people, the main reason that they have resisted vaccination is because they feel like it is being forced on them or they don’t like the politics of the people that they see recommending it. Our natural human response is to resist being compelled to do anything, especially in America where we cherish and defend our freedoms. So, we understand this response, but putting your health at risk just to prove a point or oppose someone else seems somewhat shortsighted. So, please try to take the emotion out of this decision and instead focus on what is best for your health and the health of those around you.

Most of you have taken vaccines to prevent Hepatitis, Chicken pox/Shingles, Influenza and Tetanus.  Covid is WAY MORE common, easy to contract and seriously life threatening than all of these conditions combined. This vaccine has been more widely given, monitored and scrutinized than any vaccine release in history. The vaccine has been endorsed and encouraged by millions of doctors, health experts and scientists around the world. Most of the “data” and stories that patients have told us as reasons not to get it have been based on Facebook posts or what a friend told them. If there was a tornado coming toward your town, would you listen to multiple meteorologists on a dozen different networks with satellite images, millions of dollars of equipment and years of training and experience or would you just take your neighbor’s advice? Please consider the source of any and all information that you find relevant to this very important decision.

One analogy that I have shared with my patients is that getting Covid is like being in a car crash. It could be as simple as a scratch in the paint or a dented fender, or it could be as catastrophic as a head-on collision. Even though some people carry more risk than others, you won’t know which type of crash you are in for until it is too late. Considering the fact that the crash could likely be avoided or at least mitigated, makes it really tragic when it does happen. So, for those of you that have chosen not to get vaccinated, please reconsider this important life decision. In our opinion, it is much, much safer than getting Covid and will reduce your risk for getting others sick as well.


  1. Q: What are mRNA vaccines and can they affect my DNA?

A: To trigger an immune response, many vaccines put a weakened or inactivated germ into our bodies. Not mRNA vaccines. Instead, they teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.

  1. Q: Do any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States shed or release any of their components?

A: Vaccine shedding is the term used to describe the release or discharge of any of the vaccine components in or outside of the body. Vaccine shedding can only occur when a vaccine contains a weakened version of the virus. None of the vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. contain a live virus.

  1. Q: Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine if I would like to have a baby one day?

A: There is currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there is no evidence that female or male fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines.

  1. Q: Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

A: COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept.

  1. Q: What if COVID-19 vaccines cause long term effects that we don’t know about yet?

A: Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely unlikely following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that side effects generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the FDA required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. Billions of people have received COVID-19 vaccines, and no long-term side effects have been detected.

  1. Q: Are there components of the vaccine that could be dangerous to my body?

A: None of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals such as iron, nickel, cobalt, lithium, rare earth alloys or any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.

  1. Q: Were aborted fetal tissues used to produce the Pfizer or Moderna Covid vaccines?

A: No. The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna do not require the use of any fetal cell cultures in order to manufacture (produce) the vaccine. Early in the development of mRNA vaccine technology, stem cells were used for “proof of concept” (to demonstrate how a cell could take up mRNA and produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein) or to characterize the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. These stem cells were developed and reproduced in a lab using no fetal tissue. This stem cell line was first developed and grown from the fetal tissue of a single child, that was collected in 1973. In the 48 years since, the cells have been synthetically replicated and grown in a lab to be used for testing vaccines and medicines, but no other fetal tissue has ever been used in the creation or propagation of the cell line.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were found to be ethically uncontroversial by the pro-life policy organization the Charlotte Lozier Institute and approved by the Pro-Life Activities Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

  1. Q: Do COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips?

A: No. Vaccines are developed to fight against disease and are not administered to track your movement. Every cell phone you use, smart watch you wear and internet search you do is already tracking you on a daily basis, so there is no reason (nor is it possible) to put it in the shots.

  1. Q: Can receiving a COVID-19 vaccine cause you to be magnetic?

A: No. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not make you magnetic, including at the site of vaccination which is usually your arm.