My Experience of Vaccination and Self-care

 Jennifer Smith, Registered Nurse Maclean NSW

As a health professional working in a hospital, it is a requirement to be vaccinated against a variety of infectious diseases. When I was in my twenties, prior to any training in health and health care, I had chosen to be vaccinated to travel overseas. I was fully informed and chose to be fully vaccinated, as I was travelling to some very isolated areas and communities.

Later in life, I learned more about vaccines and health care, and made the conscious choice not to be vaccinated, based on certain beliefs.

Recently I began to ask myself:

Why choose vaccination then, and not now?

What’s the difference between getting vaccinated to go travelling and getting vaccinated to go to work?

If I really think about it, in all honesty I am more likely to come across someone with an infectious disease while I am at work than I was when I went travelling.

So where did my hesitancy and reluctance come from, for the many years of refusing to have some vaccinations as part of my job?

Most of this was tied up with the beliefs that I had about vaccinations. It wasn’t that I was worried about side effects so much; it was that I really didn’t believe that I needed them. I thought that if I kept myself well, then that would be my insurance. At this time I was also working with herbal medicines and I felt I could prescribe for myself if I became unwell.

What I began to feel was that although this was true, it wasn’t the whole truth; there was something missing in this argument that I had constructed for myself.

I began to ask myself…

Could becoming fully vaccinated for my work be a part of how I care for myself?

I considered the purpose of vaccinations and why and how they came about in the first place. Having worked with elders within my profession, they speak of caring for lots of children with diseases we rarely see now because of the use of vaccines.

The vaccine that I had steered clear from was the influenza vaccine. I had it about 10 years ago and became very unwell afterwards. Whilst I acknowledge that vaccines, and any medication, can have potential side effects I had reached the conclusion that it was only the vaccine that had resulted in my flu, that kept me in bed for one week. What I had not acknowledged was how I was caring for myself at the time. Around the same time as receiving the flu vaccine I went out late night partying, being outside in the freezing cold, inadequately dressed, and drinking a fair bit of alcohol (to keep myself warm!). Potentially what could have been a fairly minor side effect turned into a full-blown bout of the flu, because I wasn’t truly caring for myself.

Although having the vaccine can cause flu like symptoms, I didn’t want to accept the fact that on top of that I wasn’t really caring for myself. What I had been offered at that time was the opportunity to acknowledge this and also feel what my level of responsibility was in caring for myself. It is more than receiving a vaccine and hoping that I won’t become ill. I also have a part to play in caring for my body.

Recently, I began to feel that being vaccinated was a deeply caring thing to do, not only for myself, but also for the people I care for. I followed up on what was required. I was due to have three vaccines (injections). I was offered a blood test for one vaccine, and found that I was already immune, so that particular vaccine was not required. With the two vaccines that I received, I did it in a way that was very supportive and nurturing for me:

– I had one injection at a time, rather than getting them all at once. This was spread over 2 weeks.

– I made sure that I had days off after each injection, so that I didn’t have to push through any discomfort I may be feeling in my arm from the injection, whilst at work.

– I rested deeply after receiving each vaccine.

Other than a sore arm after one vaccine, I experienced no side effects.

It’s interesting to reflect on the beliefs we have on a subject like choosing to be vaccinated and where those beliefs may come from.

For me, there was arrogance in the belief of ‘well it won’t happen to me’ and ‘it’s ok, I can deal with it if I do get sick’.

Acknowledging and then letting go of those stubbornly held beliefs has allowed me to see that these medicines can be a true support for our bodies and how we care for ourselves.

 

You can read more about Serge Benhayon’s views on vaccination on the blog “Serge Benhayon on vaccination – choice and responsibility”. 

528 thoughts on “My Experience of Vaccination and Self-care

  1. I feel like we instinctively link vaccinations with disregard, that we need to have them when we’ve slipped up. The truth is more the opposite – that it’s simply caring to consider what could happen ahead of time and support your body to be ready.

  2. If we look back to the origins of developing vaccines, it was all about preventing people from serious infectious diseases that were literally taking many thousands of lives. I am not saying that they are perfect or that they are for everyone. But the origins of vaccines feels true as its about humanity as a whole.

  3. I don’t think you can underestimate the importance to take time off (be that an hour, day/s, week, month/s…) after your body has undergone a medical/dental etc.. procedure. We have this strong mentality of ‘soldiering on’ and ‘carrying on regardless’ but it is much more supportive to your healing process to allow time for your body to rest and recover.

  4. This has been the same for me also Jennifer. In the long run, holding on to stubborn ideals and beliefs that do not support our body can be far more damaging to us then any perceived ‘harm’ from a simple vaccine.

  5. There are so many beliefs and ideals around vaccinations these days making it very hard for people to make a true choice; I feel this is more toxic than the vaccinations themselves.

    1. I agree Joseph. There is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, there is only what is true and thus the will to align with this or not.

  6. I am shortly going on an off the beaten track tour to an Asian country and had a whole heap of vaccines – it felt great to do that and very self-loving and supportive. Previously I have been to the same country but not off the beaten track and didn’t have an impulse to have a vaccine. Generally I am very much in favour of vaccines but not religious about it. I am amazed at the reactions and emotions that people have around vaccines – there seems to be some huge consciousness at play here and very little common sense or discernment.

    1. That’s a great point Chris – yes we get so identified with these beliefs that we think that is who we are and then don’t want to let them go and face the glory of who we truly are which might be completely different to what we think!!!

  7. Surely there is a certain arrogance if one takes a stand on something that so obviously serves the whole community, and separates oneself from the overall responsibility of being a part of this community.

  8. The human race considers itself impervious in areas it is weak and lacking where it is strong. If we can switch around to grasp that we are powerful when we honour our fragility we may finally see our grace and divinity. Thank you Jennifer for your eulogy here to the sweetness that is there when we choose to take care.

  9. When we vaccinate ourselves we take a small but discernible risk and provide a great benefit for the community and for ourselves.

  10. “What’s the difference between getting vaccinated to go travelling and getting vaccinated to go to work?” – this is such a great question, and ‘Well it won’t happen to me’ and ‘It’s ok, I can deal with it if I do get sick’ would be my sentiment, too. And I can feel how I wanted the vaccination to be the answer – removing all the chances of me not being sick, and if it had failed in any way, it would be the medicine that I blame and I probably would have never considered to look at how I was living.

  11. Beautiful to read your responsibility in having your vaccinations and the care you took in having them individually and the care and preparation you put into place before and after each one.

  12. Jennifer, this is a great blog showing how even medical professionals can engage in magical thinking – definitely avoiding illness through ‘right’ living and effective healing through self-medication.

  13. I love how you broke your own myth of ‘you do get ill after a vaccination’ by exposing your lifestyle at the time. We are often more quick to blame something outside of ourselves for what happens than our own choices even though it is always the latter that do make things happen!

  14. This piece highlights for me the common relationship between medical pharmacology and personal self-care, how it is not so unusual to think that medical pharmacology will take care of everything and all you have to do is turn up to the doctors office. When in fact, there is a deeper and much more substantial approach to health that includes you, your body and all the movements that you make. And I love this because even though medical pharmacology is great, we still ultimately have all the power in our hands to create the lives we live and experience each day.

  15. Whatever the view is about vaccinations or not what I took from this article was giving yourself the space and your body the time to adjust to treatments. In a world that seems to push through things and want things to quickly get back on track it was great to see the care that was taken when it was needed or in this case before it was needed. Meaning the quality of care you have for yourself is paramount in any treatment or illness. We are seemingly skipping over this quality of care for ourselves to go back to a function when this doesn’t support us at all.

  16. To me it seems that it is not what we do but how we do it that matters and informs the consequences. The loving care you brought to yourself this time around when having your vaccination counts for a lot more than we usually give credit.

  17. A big part of vaccination is that we do it for others. A hospital worker with close contact with many ill people can infect a lot of vulnerable people at once even if it is only a minor episode for them.

  18. This makes total sense, taking care of ourselves needs to encompass every single part of our lives and work and how we approach our day and vaccinations help us ensure that certain aspects of our health are cared for at all points in time also.

  19. This is a great example of sifting through any preconceived ideals and beliefs around a certain topic, looking back through your own experiences with a level of self-honesty, and seeing what is really true for you. Oh and I love that you took a day off and deeply rested after each vaccine.

  20. I was really interested to read the level of care you took with yourself when you had the vaccines Jennifer. Bringing this level of awareness and presence into our decisions can provide the clarity that is needed which knowledge and theory on its own may not do.

    1. Interestingly this level of care for oneself then also translated into a lot of care for others automatically through those actions.

  21. I used to hold the belief that I didn’t need to get vaccinated but realised it is a part of self care and the responsibility we have towards others and what we may inflict on them if we don’t get vaccinated. I’ve had a few shots now and haven’t had any side effects at all.

  22. ‘What’s the difference between getting vaccinated to go travelling and getting vaccinated to go to work?’ None to me but it’s fascinating to see how our mind can justify and manipulate our thoughts and reason otherwise.

  23. What we understand under self -care has been also misused, not used in its true way.. As since when has self care become about following what others tell you to do or about ticking boxes of what to eat and not to eat.. How to lose weight and or how to be on weight.. All these ideals has come from outside of us and it is time to go inside us and feel what our body truly wants.. Not our minds. I am very much a student of this myself – learning how to truly take care of myself in every moment of the day. But opening myself up to true care is a big gift and that I can feel in all that I do thereafter.

  24. My mother had some strong ideals about how getting vaccinated was unnecessary, she also thought it was a way for the government to control the public, so growing up, I had no vaccinations until I was in my twenties and I took a round the world trip and choose to go get vaccinated myself. My mother is now very pro vaccination and realised that her ideals and beliefs were based on a consciousness that she had aligned to at the time, which I like to call the alternative, hippie cloud.
    Thanks to Universal Medicine, I am so appreciative of Western Medicine and the support that it offers, my children are vaccinated but I did it my way, in the order and timing that supported my boys and our family, its not about rolling over but about being responsible and making sure that what ever you choose is truly from you and not from an ideal that serves no true purpose.

    1. I wonder why an act that is very supportive of our community is so violently vilified? Yes, there is a small risk associated with it but I wonder if that is the only reason?

  25. I love that through appreciating the power of making loving choices for yourself, you were able to nominate stubbornly held beliefs and let go of them so as to truly support your body by choosing what was most loving for you in your circumstances. The way you then chose to put this into action, ensuring that you made the process as loving and supportive as possible for you, was deeply inspirational and a level of care we could offer ourselves in many areas of our lives.

  26. There is a responsibility in being vaccinated that extends beyond the individual and our own self-care and respect for the body. It is part of our personal responsibility in keeping our communities free of unecessary life-threatening diseases, particularly in those sections of the population who are vulnerable due to age or frailty.

  27. My 180 degree change in attitude to vaccination (from very pro when nursing children, to against when I had my own child then back to a choice based on what was the right timing etc for the child), was the first time I realised how beliefs, although they may feel very true are not true. A real truth doesn’t change, it is steady and holds true for all. I loved receiving this lesson and it has made me question if something is a belief or if its true.

  28. We blame medicine and angrily say ‘the drugs don’t work’. But as you simply ask Jennifer – are we doing our part? Do we truly expect a single pill or supplement to change our whole life? What if it actually comes down to the way we are with ourselves? Then surely we will see it’s the way we care for every move that counts.

  29. Letting go of stubbornly held ideals and beliefs and listening to the wisdom in our bodies is certainly the key to making decisions about all aspects of life.

  30. Vaccinations have become a hot topic in recent years and can get people into quite a debate, I have always found that it is important to honour whatever you feel is right for your body. Because what is right for me, may not be for someone else, however, vaccines can be very supportive and a blessing, but there still needs to be discernment always.

  31. I too have had a period in my life where I, from a belief, was against vaccinations, but as I needed some for traveling later on and when I took these, my body felt so thankful in me taking care for it so well. It now feels for me like these vaccinations are a blessing from heaven, given to humanity to alleviate the pressure and discomfort to humanity from these illnesses they help to prevent.

  32. Beliefs are powerful things – but do not always represent the truth of a matter. I would rather know the truth in any situation.

    1. Yes and know that the choices that are made are coming from the whole body intelligence rather than being feed by the common beliefs that is often mixed in with a combination of ideals.

  33. Vaccination was something that the whole world embraced and it was well proven to not only be safe but also was credited with removing the risk of small pox from the world as well as controlling many other diseases. Then some false science enters and casts doubts over its safety and proposes a link to autism which has clouded the issue.

    1. Doug its interesting how well Vaccination has worked for the world, and whilst some people have reactions perhaps thats something bigger than just the medication. Out of fear perhaps sometimes we can think its safer for us not to vaccinate, but what about all the people we then come into contact with?

  34. We can be really arrogant about our beliefs and selfish when we don’t realise that our own choices affect others too. I loved how you realised that being vaccinated was part of your own self-care, and for me it is part of taking responsibility for both ourselves and equally for others too.

    1. Hear hear Sally. Not only is vaccination the responsible thing to do for our selves it is the responsible thing to do for the whole of society. We need to all start to look beyond simply what we think is best for ourselves and embrace a more all-encompassing approach to everything.

  35. Vaccinations are preventative medicine that mean taking responsibility for ourselves and also for those around us and, as is shared here, the responsibility called for in how we care for ourselves when we are vaccinated.

  36. Here we have a perfect example of what could be called… mass disinformation energy, or subscribing to a belief that is based on false premises, to the point then where these premises become a part of and indeed affect our lives… And then we have to feel how much energy actually goes into keeping needs. And so is keeping these false premises alive…( at the expense of keeping humans alive)

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