Herd Immunity

Each autumn I do some heart searching in connection with being vaccinated against flu. To have or not to have? And not having much information to go on, for or against, and not being keen on injections anyway, I opt out. But is that irresponsible? Is my not having the injection putting others at risk?

The other day I heard that the local doctor was coming out into our wild valley with a bag full of vaccine. Apparently he comes because there are enough of the community who gets vacinated to make a Herd immunity (community)! And presumably worth while for the doctor to make the journey. A heard immunity, by the way, occurs when the vaccination of the majority of the population (or herd) provides protection to un-vaccinated individuals. So I’m grateful for all those who make it possible for the rest of us to remain un-vaccinated, yet protected.

The other subject that has been before me recently is, now taking a deep breath, Psychoneuroimmunology. In a nut shell, this long word encapsulates the truth that mind and body are not separate. A truth that Buddhism teaches and proves true, in fact the discipline of Psychoneuro…….ology indicates that meditation really helps the immune system.

And for people facing cancer the above discipline means that meditation and similar activities can effect recovery, significantly. However, a big however, in Zen, meditation is complete in itself and not something one does to achieve or get anything, or get rid of anything.

Time to spare a thought for all those who are living with seriously compromised immune systems.

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5 thoughts on “Herd Immunity”

  1. There is a view that vaccination can overload an immune system & that it can be more useful to work on strengthening the immune system. As personal choice I avoid vaccination and I know it is a controversial subject. My grandfather went to court to swear an affidavit of some kind because he didn’t want his childdren to be vaccinated. At that time the freedom we have to refuse was more restricted than now.
    Best wishes,
    Angie

  2. … if you go in and get one thats a good thing, and if you just walk by and not get one thats a good thing to …

  3. We are fortunate in the developed world to have the choice. My last utilities bill included advice on which foods to stock for a precipitate two week shutdown of all services in the event of an outbreak of Avian flu – when not if. All movement would be curtailed. Singapore had to deal with the SARS outbreak, and is taking no chances with Avian flu. I also note that polio is almost eradicated through large-scale and committed vaccination programmes, and huge efforts, sometimes in very dangerous places like Afghanistan, are being made to contain the remaing cases.
    At best “herd immunity” offers a firewall that reduces the chance of infection, but is of no help if you get infected.

  4. Now I remember, reading Angie’s comment, that my mother held me back from vaccinations at school. Maybe I had the polio one, can’t remember.

    Points taken Walter, the thought of Avian flu in Singapore doesn’t bare thinking about. Is there a vaccine?

    What I sense for myself from certain reactions I’ve had that I’d probably be the one in a million cases who get the flu from the shot. Or really sick anyway, perhaps a rationalization though.

    And, as you say from Canada in the big picture, the VERY big picture, OK either way. All the same I may educate myself better and work on upping immunity too.

  5. Lots of people do get flu from the vaccination (a lot more than one in a million). The big problem is that flu is constantly evolving & the vaccine is often out of date. When I had some vaccinations because I was thinking of travelling to India one time my homeopath was furious with me. The assumption is that vaccintions work, but they don’t necessarily.

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