As I write this blog to share my personal decision on whether or not to get the new Covid-19 vaccine I want to start by acknowledging my very strong belief in medical freedom. No one, for any reason should be forced to get an injection of anything into their body. Freedom to choose and transparency of information for self education is paramount in my opinion. I feel this way about patients who refuse life saving care when faced with terminal illness, about the right to die and about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body in the case of pregnancy.
Asking a person to receive a medical intervention in the name of public health is a big ask. Especially when the person may not feel connected to the community they are being asked to protect and when the intervention comes with its own health risks. I do however think we should always consider others when we make decisions. Especially if our decision impacts the well being of others. These kind of communal decisions are easier when the community is small and connected. When it is an intentional community. It’s harder when it’s the public at large that we are calling community but where the population is dense and you may not even know or have ever exchanged a ‘Hello’ with your neighbor – like in Los Angeles.
When my son was born I did not vaccinate him. At that time in the mid 90s I was required to sign a form acknowledging the risks of vaccination. I couldn’t look at my perfectly healthy baby born through natural child birth and sign such a form. To me, living in a first world country where there was no chance he would come into contact with any of the pathogens vaccines were being offered for – the risk of vaccinating outweighed the risk of not. We knew a family with a vaccine injured child and I also was the primary caregiver at a very young age for my sister who survived polio, a devastating disease with lifelong disabilities for many including post-polio syndrome. My sister lived with a tracheotomy and was a regular ventilator patient requiring oxygen supplements daily throughout her adult life. I know first hand the pros and cons of both disease and vaccination.
Fast forward to 2009 when my 2nd child was born, I again had to decide whether or not to vaccinate. My intuition strongly said not to. My work in the healthcare consulting industry also informed my decision – vaccines are a very profitable business for the pharmaceutical industry, they require less rigorous testing, carry no liability because of legislation that big pharma lobbied for in Washington and the number of vaccines recommended for children increased multifold from my first child to my 2nd- I believe in part due to the profit factor. Many vaccines now recommended are for illnesses that children can easily overcome. And also in the case of Polio, an illness that is eradicated in the Western Hemisphere the risk of getting polio from the vaccine was greater than the risk of getting wild polio unless you live in Pakistan. They have since changed the polio vaccine from a live virus vaccine to one that carries no risk of contracting the disease – but we don’t live in Pakistan. With so much still not understood about the impact of adjuvants, damaged fetal cell strains and how the immune system and gut biome are linked – I decided again that the risks of vaccinating out weighed the risk of not for us here in a first world country. That decision came with a huge amount of noise from many who feel parents shouldn’t have the right to choose medical treatments (or not) for their children, especially when it comes to widely accepted practices like vaccination.
I’ll also note here that I hold spiritual beliefs that understand death and reincarnation as a part of our human experience. I also believe over coming disease has karmic value. Treating the person as a physical being alone without recognition of the soul experience does not resonate with me.
When my daughters were young, we lived in California. By the time they entered first grade, California enacted laws requiring all children be vaccinated for school entrance. Taking way personal beliefs and religious exemptions. I also worked as admissions director of two private schools while this new legislation was imposed and as grandfathered statuses expired I dealt first hand with distraught parents who like me felt strongly that vaccine was not the best choice for their child. I even worked through a chicken pox outbreak that required our school to work with and report incidences to the CDC directly. The legislation in California was triggered in large part by a measles outbreak at Disneyland years before and again, I was there working for Disney in a health benefits oversight capacity when that happened. A family visiting from South America had brought the disease across the border and because adults are not routinely vaccinated for measles and childhood immunizations wear off – many adults contracted the virus. I took my daughters to Disneyland later that month as a demonstration of my lack of fear around the contagion. We didn’t get measles. At work we arranged for the vaccination of any Disneyland employees who wished to receive it. And many did.
So here we are in the midst of a global pandemic affecting every country in the world. And again I am faced with a decision to vaccinate or not. Myself this time. I first read everything I could get my hands on. I even listened to the conservative news outlets and the conspiracy theorists. I also tuned in to my intuition again. This time I didn’t get a no. My gut didn’t run screaming away from the prospect of a Covid-19 vaccine. I kept tuning in and every time my gut told me it would be fine to get this one vaccine. I had heard the vaccine could alter my DNA – I read scientific articles explaining MRNA vaccines, how they worked and how they were different than DNA vaccines. I learned my DNA would not be changed. I also read that certain elites like Bill Gates who I do not respect for his eugenics racist beliefs and for his willful disrespect of most people’s intelligence by imposing his own values on the world – was not himself getting the vaccine. Again, not true. Both he and his daughter have reportedly received the vaccine. Even Dr. Fauci and believe it or not former President, Donald Trump and his wife the ultimate plandemic fear monger poster children – both got vaccinated. Even though they both contracted and overcame Covid. Why? Because this vaccine has the ability to provide more immunity and longer, than a natural immune response. So what about the side effects? My chiropractor had a chilling first hand awareness of an individual who died after receiving the vaccine. I did some research, he had Covid when he got the vaccine. So that seems like an important factor.
I weighed the pros and cons and determined that there was no reason not to get the potentially life saving vaccine. but which one would be the most safe? Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson or a future vaccine still in development? I decided Pfizer had the fewest reported side effects and the best outcomes in clinical trials. It also had the lowest volume of additives when compared to Moderna. I also believe that future versions will include more preservatives to lesson the cold storage requirement the new vaccines currently have – so getting the first vaccine now that requires below zero refrigeration seems like getting in while the getting is good or at least available without more additives and preservatives. My chiropractor said if I was going to get it, I should get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine since it is not mRNA but based on the old model of using a weakened virus. This sounded strange to me since she preaches against the traditional vaccines. When I asked her why she didn’t recommend the mRNA vaccine – she didn’t have a good answer. She said it bypasses the body’s first immune defense, the eyes and saliva in the mouth – by nature of being an injection. This didn’t seem logical to me as a reason not to get the vaccine. Aren’t all vaccines an injection? This answer didn’t support J&J over the MRNA vaccines. It seemed more like an un-willingness to switch gears from years of having an anti-vaccine position. I’ve always said I’m not anti vax just anti over vaccinating. I have the same approach to all medications. When my daughter went in for surgery they wanted to dope her up before giving her anesthesia – I declined that as an unnecessary extra step and coached her through complying with the anesthesiologist to get the main sedation needed for surgery without the extra shot of “happy juice”. She came through great and did not have any lingering grogginess or hang over effects. I also regularly decline antibiotics for my children preferring instead to boost the immune system and apply holistic remedies. But if ever an antibiotic is the right or last resort solution – we go there.
I’m not anti-vaccine but like antibiotics, I think we should reserve their use to very limited situations – where they are really needed. And here we are in one of those really limited situations with a global pandemic and a deadly pathogen that may have lasting effects. This is the one time that I think we should all consider a vaccine. I might also consider a vaccine if I was traveling to a country where it was recommended for a very specific risk.
So, long story short – I got the Pfizer vaccine. After the first dose, I did have a sore arm – totally expected. I did feel my immune system was taxed that week and I got a migraine headache the day of the injection. I did get a Covid test again before receiving my 2nd dose because I think it might be dangerous to get the vaccine if you have an active case of Covid (maybe without symptoms) and I did space the doses out 4 weeks rather than 3 to make sure my body had time to recover between doses. And no, a magnet did not and does not stick to the injection site. [insert eye roll emoji here]
I noticed right away how much more comfortable I felt in public after the first dose. Knowing that even one dose offers 80% protection gave me a carefree feeling I haven’t had since before the pandemic. I’m trying hard to remember to keep masking for the sake of others in my sphere. Getting the vaccine protects me but I could be a carrier without knowing and inadvertently pass the pathogen along to my children or others in my community.
Having many people in my community and immediate circle not take the disease seriously also influenced my decision to get the vaccine. I could not rely on others to keep me safe. Their denial was a liability for me.
Intuitively I believe getting the vaccine now will protect me from future versions of the vaccine that might not be as clean and that may be forced on us later. Right now it’s all voluntary and no one is being forced to get the vaccine which is how I think it should be. I also think that like chicken pox we should let the youth get Covid and over come it rather than rushing to deliver vaccines to children. I worry about the effect of over vaccinating on fertility as well as other potential conditions like auto immune diseases and autism. More needs to be known before I can justify vaccinating my children for a disease that most children seem to be able to easily recover from. Fortunately I don’t have to make that decision right now since the vaccine is still only available to adults. My children can make their own vaccine decisions when the time comes. I would only intervene if there is a good reason and the risk analysis favors vaccinating them over not. So far it doesn’t.
I’ll close with one last observation. Many in the new age spiritual community saw the pandemic as an affront to their freedom and even marched and protested mask wearing. I found this to be so full of White privilege that it really made me look hard at who my friends are and what I believe. The spiritual gurus that have profoundly impacted me seem to all support this vaccination. Deepak Chopra has made statements in favor of the Covid vaccine. Oprah Winfrey got vaccinated and so did the Dalai Llama.
As I walked up to Maui Medical center for our first dose appointment, one day after returning to my island home from a trip to Los Angeles, I was still not feeling confident in my decision to get vaccinated. Plus who wants a shot in the arm? I kept checking in with my gut. Any indication that I shouldn’t be there I was going to run. But every check-in said, stay the course. Don’t run. If the person checking me in was too forceful or even the least bit unkind I would have taken it as a sign to get out of there but everyone met us with the spirit of aloha and the experience couldn’t have been nicer. I called on my angels and guides and even some arch angels to protect me from any adverse effects of the vaccine while I received the first dose. As I waited in the lobby for 15 minutes after to ensure I didn’t have an allergic reaction I noticed, neighbors and co-workers who haven’t been together in a year spotting each other in line and in the lobby. Each greeting the other with a big smile that was only visible in their squinted eyes behind a mask – amazing how I could see their smiles – the brain fills in. Soon I hope the masks can come off more and we can see each other’s smiles in person.
Whatever you decide, I hope it’s thoughtful, full of intuitive knowing and based on truth. Being flexible and not rigidly sticking with prior decisions that may no longer fit the circumstance is important in this new paradigm post 2020. Pluto, Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter have changed things up – we need to re-fresh our perspectives for a new day.
“Then you have to vaccinate. There is no other choice. Because fanatical opposition to these things is something that I wouldn’t recommend at all – not for medical reasons, but for general anthroposophic reasons. Fanatical reactions to these things is not what we are striving for; rather, we want to do things differently in general. I’ve always seen this as something to fight against in my friendship with physicians. For example with Dr. Asch, who absolutely did not vaccinate. I always fought against this. Because if he doesn’t vaccinate, someone else will do it. It is completely absurd to be this fanatical in individual cases.” -Rudolph Steiner
Post script, I know that vaccine shedding is a thing people are talking about and that it is creating a lot of fear. I remember wondering the same thing about kids getting vaccination for school (mumps, measles, you name it) and then coming to school where my children attended potentially exposing them to the very pathogen they we’re trying to protect themselves from. I looked into it and never found any evidence that this was something that could really harm my child any more than exposure to the natural virus could. A few obscure doctors from Europe are talking about Covid Vaccine shedding in videos that have spread like wildfire within the anti vax community. I watch these videos and analyze them with very critical thinking. They don’t actually make a case. They have made a hypothesis but there is no proof, just a lot of speculation. The speculation seems more rooted in fear and not in reality. Sadly, some who refused to live in fear of the virus have now been caught up in fear of vaccinated people. I am observing and noticing. Trying to stay out of fear and in touch with my intuition. These dynamics within my own community are challenging my commitment to inclusivity. Fear is ugly. Discrimination feels unsafe. And exclusion feels bad. My children are concerned that they will be excluded from activities and play dates because we are vaccinated. Two parents in our community have specifically said they don’t want us around their children. This is coming from a place of fear and it triggers my anger from the shunning that I experienced being raised in a dogmatic cult that brain washed its followers. Fear of any vaccine is irrational. Deciding to eat healthy is not the same as fearing junk food. Deciding to avoid some or all vaccines doesn’t need to be accompanied by fear of others who make a different choice. Before anyone discriminates against or shuns someone for exercising medical freedom they should really consider whether there is evidence to support their concern or if they are reacting based on fear. So far I can find no evidence to back up their concern. This is reminiscent to me of discrimination against AIDS patients in the 90s.