By Judith Andras, Health Practitioner and Store Manager, Germany.
I was greatly inspired by the blog: My Experience of Vaccination and Self-care by Jennifer Smith, a registered Nurse in NSW Australia.
It made me aware that I had avoided this subject and simply ignored it, despite the fact that my GP at my last check up explicitly talked to me about the importance of vaccination.
After reading the blog I made another appointment. Whilst I was waiting to see my doctor I had the opportunity to read through a brochure about vaccination, which was available in the waiting room and provided me with a good basic understanding about the subject.
I also had a chat with my doctor, before I got the shot and he answered all my concerns, from: “Can I get sick from the vaccination?” to “Are there any risks involved with vaccination?”
Talking to him allowed me to feel that this is really a field of competency for him. He has administered vaccines to hundreds of people and their families over many years and besides his knowledge about official statistics, he actually has his own experience about adverse reactions, etc. I could feel his lived knowledge whilst he was talking and that he really knows what he is doing.
Talking to my GP about vaccination raised my awareness on another level as well, and made me stop and deeply consider. I realised that vaccination is something that I am not just doing for myself. But by making sure I am vaccinated I actually take care that others are also protected from that disease.
What we need to understand in this context is that vaccination is a protection from infectious diseases, and a lot of these diseases actually decimated whole villages, even cities, not that long ago and still have the potential to do so.
Whereas my body may be strong enough to deal with a particular disease if I get infected, it could actually be so strong that I may not even notice that I am carrying the pathogen! I may just think I have a cold or a cough or have eaten the wrong food. In that case, whilst I would be fine and go about living my life as if nothing was wrong with me, I actually endanger others who may be weaker (e.g. elderly or sick people, babies, etc.) that may get infected through me.
So I realised that vaccination is a responsibility I hold towards my community. And also I saw that by walking around without being vaccinated, I could potentially cause harm to others. And furthermore, by getting vaccinated I also help the whole community to eradicate that specific disease.
The choices we make do not only affect us – they affect everyone around us, sometimes in ways we don’t see or realise. And for me, vaccination is one of those choices that I now choose – for me and for everyone.