Swine Flu Vaccination: What’s a Yogi to Do?

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | January 8th, 2010 | 7 Comments
topic: Family Health, Health & Wellness

Swine Flu vaccineBeing a yogini and very health-conscious individual, I have trusted the natural resilience of my immune system for years. Despite the annual suggestion of my doctor­-father to get a seasonal flu shot, I’ve never had one, and I’m happy to report that I have not been sick for over 4 years. In fact, while my anti-flu-shot husband suffered through a week-long bout with the flu a couple of years ago, I slept soundly next to him with no problem.

Many of my friends are alternative healers and anti-vaccination moms and dads. Many argue that we don’t need immunizations; that our natural defenses are harmed by the shots and they render us more vulnerable in the long run, and there are some elements of this argument I find valid.

Why I was skeptical about H1N1 vaccinations

My father is an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist with access to the latest information on microbial diseases around the globe. The notion that invisible organisms could cause such devastation has always compelled me. (Though my dreams of being a microbiologist are long gone, I now help my Yoga Tune Up® students peer into their own flesh and bones with laser-like focus of kinetic perception.)

Who says people should get the Swine Flu vaccine?

When the first alarms of the impending Swine Flu, or H1N1, started to make nightly news last March, I called Dad to check in. As the go-to guy for critical infectious disease cases at a major medical facility, he does not like the way the press tends to sensationalize every new disease, as he totally objects to fanning the flames of hysteria and sensationalism. His distaste for the press has led to me distrusting their messages about public health.

So when I asked him, “Is this all for real?” his response came as a surprise: “Do everything they are telling you; get vaccinated as soon as you can.”

My husband and I spent this past Christmas Day with my Dad, and the dinner conversation swirled around to H1N1. One of his current patients, who is currently “drowning inside of her own lungs,” is a 27-year-old mother. While pregnant with her second child, she refused her doctor’s recommendation to be inoculated because she “doesn’t believe in vaccines.” She contracted H1N1, and infected her husband and 2-year-old child at home. She slipped into a coma, her uninfected baby was rescued from her belly, and now she lay in isolation in the hospital, where every health-care worker who works with her must have protective respirators and clothing in order to not get sick. Her medical bills are currently in the millions, as the interventions to save her life are beyond complicated.

By “conscientiously objecting” to the vaccine, a shot that may have caused her some discomfort, she risked the health of her entire family, caused them financial ruin, and nearly died to boot.

Where I stand now on Swine Flu shots

As a teacher who works with the public, it is my responsibility to “do no harm” to the hundreds of lives I contact on a weekly basis. I also am not “magically immune” to microbes, even though the past has shown me to be abundantly healthy. Students may unknowingly carry the bug, and I can easily pass the contagion along while giving adjustments and sharing close quarters.

My husband and I now carry a card that states we are vaccinated against H1N1. (Thanks for the extra Christmas gift, Dad!) We feel very relieved to have done our part to curtail the disease, at least in our own bodies.

Now, what will you do?


  1. With your argument, I take it that you will never ever drive a car again. If you cause an accident while at the wheel, you put your health, your families health, and the health of those around you at risk. The financial hardship that you would instill on your family would be devastating. Do yourself a favor-become a Quaker, and travel via horse & buggy.

    Todd | January 8th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  2. I also am a health practitioner assisting individuals with healing techniques in a large fitness center. Mostly filled with healthy people working out, strengthening their bodies. This doesn’t make them immune to the flu. And even though my clients come to see me for massage and energy treatments don’t come when they’re sick they may be carrying the virus without knowing.
    Neither does my healthy lifestyle and nutritional practices make me immune. However having said that, many of my fellow pranic healing and arhatic yoga practitioners believe that their spiritual practice will keep them immune from the flu.
    I disagreed and got the seasonal and H1N1 flu shot because I don’t want to catch the virus and then spread it to someone who is respiratorily compromised, like your example of the mother who then spread it to her husband and child with disastrous financial consequences.
    Our collective health depends on us sharing responsibility for immunization and protecting our loved ones and neighbours.

    rajai fontaine | January 8th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  3. It makes me sad this article was printed by Gaiam. Such viruses can not jump species, with this information comes all the other relevant issues. The data is available, the vaccine is not safe. The writer did not do her “alternative” home work. I suggest mercola.com

    S. Brennan | January 9th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  4. Good for you! Thankfully, science doesn’t need anyone’s belief in it to be right. We must vaccinate or people will die unnecessary, preventable deaths.

    The Yoga world is riddled full of pseudoscience and bad information, so I’m very glad that you chose proven, science-based methodology in your decision making process. Let Yoga guide your inner spiritual journey and let science guide your physical health when it has clear, proven answers.

    The rejection of science-based medicine is why we’re having outbreaks of mumps and other preventable illnesses. Luddites are refusing vaccines because they’re listening to quacks, not doctors and scientists. These people are a threat to us all. We are losing herd immunity to these people because they are guided by ideology, not facts.

    I know two women afflicted by polio as children. Their lives have been a constant struggle with debilitating pain. They are living evidence of why we vaccinate against preventable diseases. I fear that vaccines have been a victim of their own success. People question whether to vaccinate against a flu because we have forgotten the pandemic of the last century. How many people need to die because of pseudoscience? I lay the body count at the feet of every parent who refuses to vaccinate their child, and every potential typhoid Mary who could spread a deadly disease.

    Being guided by ideology instead of facts leads to death – be it disease or war. Have a healthy physical life so you can indulge in the luxury of a rich spiritual life.

    Max Miller | January 9th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  5. This vacine will helpful especially in developing countries where this is of great concern.

    ftiens | September 8th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  6. This vacine will helpful especially in developing countries where this is of great concern. thanks for sharing.

    ftiens | September 8th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  7. Preventative vaccination is taking proactive approach to your overall health and wellness. As an HC provider we encourage each individual to get annual vaccination as well as health screening to sustain healthy lifestyle..

    R Johnson | November 5th, 2010 | Comment Permalink

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