My Experience of Vaccination and Self-care

 Jennifer Smith, Registered Nurse, Australia

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”. 

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

  1. 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)

  2. The reality hits home when we actually experience these diseases returning that have been absent for a long time due to the vaccinations given in our youth. Until we see how terrible the effect of whooping cough is on a small baby or the return of TB or Polio or Measles to name just a few diseases that cause serious effects. To me vaccination is a responsible gift we give to our children. I also realize there are some who have adverse reactions to these vaccinations and that needs to be taken Into account..

  3. We need simple and clear information about these subjects upon which so much disinformation has been heaped… Thank you Jennifer… Please keep writing ☺

  4. Yet another great example that it is not what we do but how we do it that is key. We cannot have a blanket rule – everyone must be vaccinated – without each person working out for themselves how that looks like for them personally in terms of honouring what is best for their body. And by this I don’t mean that the mind marches in and makes demands of the body to succumb to its self-imposed will, but more so that we deeply attune to what will best support us to either restore or maintain our vitality so we can be of greatest use for everyone else. This is true service. It begins at home and then reaches far wide.

  5. There has been so much misinformation about vaccinations and anti vaccinations. Everything is life should be a personal choice yet this area has become clouded and so making an informed choice has become a lot harder. Both sides have presented such emotionally charged information that it can be hard to cut through it all and get the facts.

  6. It is great what you share here, as you took responsibility, you could see what the true cause of making unloving choices resulted in. Also when we stop to understand the bigger picture there is a purpose of taking vaccination, and it’s not just for self protection, it is for other people you have contact with too.

  7. ‘Flu – it’s not just about you’. So said the editorial proceeding this helpful article on The Conversation (‘Flu vaccine won’t definitely stop you from getting the flu, but it’s more important than you think’ http://bit.ly/2p50qae ). It supports the notion that we need to go deeper with our understanding of the purpose of vaccination.

  8. An excellent and timely reminder that the flu season is upon us, and , more virulent then ever, there is the opportunity to get vaccinated and save oneself a lot of grief

  9. My journey with vaccination mirrors yours Jennifer. It wasn’t until I heard Serge Benhayon present a wholistic – nay, universal – view that I understood vaccination is not just for me, it’s for humanity. We have a responsibility to ensure we are protecting everyone.

  10. What stands out for me in this blog is the significance of self-care, or the lack of it, upon the state of one’s health and that to be truly loving and caring is to make choices not just to benefit oneself but also to take into account the affect of our choices will have on others

  11. ‘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.’ Yes our bodies are asking to pay attention to even the smallest detail as they are sensitive and tender and it is inspiring to read how you nurtured yourself after each injection, taking care of ourselves is naturally there when we start to love ourselves again.

  12. I laughed when I read how the ‘side effects’ of the vaccinations that lead to your decision to stay clear of them for a while coincided with you being out on the town till late, drinking heavily and letting your body be cold! I was well familiar with such evenings when I was at college and feeling terrible the next day. I don’t recall ever worrying about or hearing anyone else even discuss the side effects of such a night out, but the flu like symptoms which periodically happens when the body is building its immune system was blown out of proportion to herald vaccinations as a monster!

    For me it did not help that there was a lobby that linked autism and vaccinations (as mentioned in Doug Valentine’s comment above) citing cases that had developed issues following being vaccinated in order to scare everyone about the whole process. On hindsight I realize even if such links were genuine, this kind of conversation is like spreading the word that nuts are poisonous because some people have died from eating them (it a fact that an allergic reaction to a substance can lead to death). To me it is pure irresponsible scare mongering.

    I am so very grateful that I have had the opportunity to observe where my thoughts about vaccinations come from and reassess.

  13. The area of vaccination is one that attracts some extremes in responses. I had always argued that I would not have injected into my body anything that was not meant to be there and as I type this I am aware that during my life there are many things I have chosen to consume that were not natural to my body and so therefore my reasoning was not true. As my heart has opened to others so has my mind and understanding of the importance of vaccinations. The last couple of trips that took me overseas which required vaccinations meant that I was open to these vaccinations. The choices around these vaccinations were loving and supportive and there were no side effects experienced. Honesty and openness forms a very important part of all choices we make.

  14. Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent paper linking autism to the MMR vaccine back in 1998, for which he was struck off the medical register, had I feel a hugely negative effect on the populations views on vaccination. It is incredible how much damage one lie can cause.

  15. It is awesome you have re-imprinted how you are with vaccinations, western medicine is a huge support for us but the best medicine is how we are with ourselves … self-love and self-care. It is great to take stock and reflect on why we do and don’t do certain things. Only today I was talking to someone about how I was vegetarian for years but this didn’t come from a truth within or from me really wanting to do it and choosing it was more like following the crowd.

  16. Yes it is always worthwhile taking the space to reflect on the bigger picture and check whether we are making a true choice or one that is influenced by ideals or other impositions.

  17. There is a responsibility beyond our own when we are choosing to make vaccinations a part and parcel of living and working amongst our community. Vaccinations are there to support all and the questions here is, are we still living as individuals or part of the whole?

  18. Recently my friend and I began a game of calling out our beliefs, it was awesome to expose how many beliefs we have around us, and it was very supportive to call out each other’s beliefs and then see the simplicity of life without them.

  19. I have started to be far more self-loving and caring towards myself after having any form of vaccination as the more I look after myself during that time the less it hurts and the less side effects I experience.

  20. What a wonderful journey you’ve shared with us Jennifer. That you experienced only one side-effect from your three recent vaccinations is evidence to me of the immense amount of self-love with which you now live – that alone is inspiring. That you considered the broader implications in your decision-making process is indicative of your care for others. That is equally inspiring.

  21. Vaccination has been an emotive subject for a long time now.. I wonder why? Is it not wanting to see the bigger picture, the care that is needed for our own health and in turn other people’s health also? For if we are sick we have an impact on everyone – loss of work, etc. It makes sense to do what we feel is supportive and that is a very personal choice that should be respected.

  22. I would have loved to have read your blog 8 years ago when I was a student nurse. Back then I was petrified about having to have vaccinations; I really did not want them. I could have saved myself a lot of stress if I had dropped the paranoia I was holding around vaccinations.

  23. I too have avoided vaccinations unless needed to enable me to travel to some part of the world. I found this article very timely in that I have received an invitation for a flu vaccine from my local clinic and have been pondering on whether to say yes to it. Recently I decided to say yes but once then have been struggling with a virus that has dragged on so I am choosing to wait until I feel well again before having the vaccination. It was useful to read this to confirm my feelings on it.

  24. Jennifer, it is great to see and feel the level of care and honouring that you are bringing to your body.

  25. We can allow ourselves to be led, manipulated and controlled simply by believing in something because we allow ourselves to become attached and therefore don’t question it. There are many reasons for this attachment eg.fulfilling a picture, fitting in, thinking because another believes in it (possibly someone we look up to) then it must be true, holding on to an arrogance thinking we are right, etc, etc, but it is within my body where the true answers lie and it is my responsibility to live in a way that supports me to connect to my inner heart and respond with love to myself and to everyone equally so.

  26. I decided to have the whooping cough vaccine this year after having resisted for a long time; it just felt that it was the responsible thing to do as I work with children a lot. And no side effects at all, not even a sore arm which I attribute to my level of willingness and acceptance of the procedure.

  27. I loved reading how you honoured your body after each injection by booking a day off work to rest, this was a great reflection for me that not only is the vaccination a part of self care but so the opportunity extends into the time around that choice too.

  28. what is very revealing here is how we can take a construct, a system of beliefs, and then make it our own so deeply that it will have such a powerful effect upon our lives… How deep does this illusion run in our society, and in our lives… This is what must be observed felt and revealed

  29. Great Sharing Jennifer, how you came to examine your preconceived ideas and how you found what is more true and comprehensive care for yourself. It is something I can relate to thinking I will be ok and not really going into the detail of what I am choosing – a kind of faith, even though I was always ridiculing religious faith.

  30. Our arrogance is no protection against an illness and disease, especially when we live with the disregard of the body.

  31. It is madness…we crash around in these bodies with no care for their well-being in the arrogance that they will still support us not matter the abuse we subject them to. No other animal on Earth does this. When we finally take it too far and our physical form responds by trying to clear the excess and disregard by way of illness and disease, we somehow find the ignorance to blame anyone but ourselves, lest we have to take responsibility for our wayward ways. Our bodies are designed to be in harmony with the Universal Order we are held by, yet inside us lives a being that pulls away from such accord until such a time that we are given the grace of a STOP whereby we learn through our sickness that there is another way.

  32. Being able to honestly observe our lives, like Jen did when she noticed the lack of self-care around the original vaccination date, empowers us to see and feel a much bigger picture in life and consequently to be able to be much more responsible ,

  33. Great article Jennifer and what really stood out for me was “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.” As the saying goes ‘We owe it to our body’. RESPONSIBILITY!

  34. Hello Jennifer and I’m not commenting on this blog in the fear of being chased out of town or at least off the internet. I’m kidding but this is certainly a subject that divides the community and possibly the world. I am not going to get into the issue but more ask why this is so divisive? I mean I have seen people have a difference of opinion but this one really gets emotional, I wonder why. Without being dismissive of the nature of the issue why do we become so emotive around certain things but not others. I mean we all have the choice to do what we feel is needed for us or our family but I see this issue as one that people have difficulty allowing people to do what they feel, why? Why are some issues more pointed than others? Why do they bring up such emotion and others don’t? I haven’t got the answers to this but I find it very interesting to watch. There is so much around this issue but what you offer cuts this away and brings it back to simply taking care of yourself which I can understand. I can’t get my head around all the emotion with this issue at this point but I can understand what you are saying and how simple you have made it, thank you.

  35. Great points Jennifer. We tend to look first at the microwave, vaccine, pink elephant or other external factor when the first place we should be looking is ourselves, our energy, intentions, how loving we are being etc and from there consider the external factors. Looking outside without considering what we are contributing is not only grossly irresponsible but contaminates our view.

  36. Thank you Jennifer. You show clearly that vaccination is a preventative medicine in the same way as is the way we live and the choices we make in how we treat ourselves.

  37. Thanks Jennifer, there is so much more for us to understand when it comes to vaccinations and any side effects we might experience. The level of responsibility and honesty required to do so is very clear from your example, and this to me, is where we need to start heading in every aspect of healthcare.

  38. I can see that I have liked this blog before but to be honest I feel like I am reading it for the first time today! There is another level of understanding about the responsibility we have to take care of ourselves before we have the vaccine, I would always have thought about the after but of course, it makes so much sense to take care before to ensure the body is not already compromised. I know that in the end, we need to look after ourselves consistently, not just in anticipation of one thing or another, but for now this is a perfect place to start seeing and feeling the consequences of our choice to self care.

    1. I agree Lucy, it does make so much sense to perhaps take some extra care before we embark on something that may add a little stress to the body. My children were due to be vaccinated (after not choosing to vaccinate them when they were babies) a couple of weeks ago but I postponed it because they were feeling a little under par. They are due to have them this week but I am feeling into it every day and will not go ahead unless I feel they are well prepared especially making sure they are not tired.

  39. The thing is the arrogance that Jen writes about , and which I shared, does usually come from misinformation which we grab onto, make our own, and then develop a steadfast arrogance about …. Strange really!

  40. It’s always much easier to blame any resultant health issue on the vaccination rather than take responsibility and look at the underlying energetic reason for what occurs.

  41. I really appreciate what you are offering here, it’s like when people blame the weather for their sickness, when they were underdressed in cold conditions, the responsibility that this blog brings is epic, no blame and no games.

  42. Having read numerous news articles on the topic it can be easy to get caught in right or wrong over vaccinations, yet in this article you bring it back to simplicity back to caring for ourselves and taking responsibility for our place in society. Some great points and certainly confirming to me the importance of vaccination as part of self care.

  43. What a great reflection and honesty that led you to make a self loving choice for yourself and others and in turn caring for yourself more deeply.

  44. I had a flu injection these past two years as I finally understood how much my arrogance as in ‘it wont happen to me’ and lack of responsibility jeopardized not only my patients but also my colleagues. It feels like the loving thing to do.

  45. Jennifer I too shared the same belief around the flu vaccination at work, a few years ago ‘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’. However, when I realised that as a carer – midwife, we look after babies – sick, premature and term, and pregnant mothers who are very vulnerable. I felt the responsibility and duty of care to get vaccinated, and felt that it is part of us looking after our own health as well.

  46. It’s interesting how we can take on beliefs that something is not ‘good for us’ based on even one negative argument against. There have been some well-meaning discussions around the safety of vaccinations but on the whole the rhetoric has been irresponsible and scaremongering, leading to people refraining from having vaccinations themselves or not having their children vaccinated which has had the consequence of an uprising in the number of incidences of preventable diseases such as measles, sometimes with tragic consequences. Surely we have a responsibility to the health of humanity as a whole, let alone our communities, to ensure we are doing our part? I agree that it’s also an important part of self-care.

  47. How scared are we that we avoid injections that actually help prevent us getting ill? As you dig a little deeper here Jennifer, it seems our whole perception is rooted in fear. Yet the irony is we actually end up neglecting our body and disregarding our responsibility. So what if there is a bigger picture here, that the fear and concern is actually the thing that is causing us to be ill? Let us try living free from this protective layer and we may see that true freedom and health lies not only in a pill, but the way we live and choose our life to be.

  48. Thank you for your reflections here Jennifer Smith. Like you, I have chosen not to have the ‘flu-jab’ in recent years having had it once and then getting the flu. I had not considered any other aspect in this equation – such as my lifestyle at the time – which I am sure could just as easily have been a factor. You make a good point about taking care of ourselves after having a vaccination and it occurs to me to that we can see ourselves of absolved of responsibility because ‘I’ve had a jab and that will protect me’!

  49. Conventional medicines wisdom is essential to the health of our society. And caring for ourselves and all others equally in a responsible manner is a foundational ingredient to supporting this system, a system that is struggling because too many of us are not living responsibly and nor caring for our own human bodies to the level we should be, or supporting each other with that same level of care.

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