I Am Healthy and Practice Natural Medicine, Do I Really Need to Get The Vaccine? This is a very good question and one without an easy answer. It is true that healthy people have stronger immune systems, and the human body has a remarkable ability to resist disease and to heal after it does become sick. In a previous post, I have written about the risks vs. the benefits and discussed that each person must make their own choice based upon their own circumstances. I have also discussed how the vaccines work. My opinions below are based on science and experience, not conspiracy theories. So, let’s take a closer look in the form of another Q and A.
I’m healthy, should I get the Corona Virus Vaccine?
That depends in part on how healthy you are and how much risk you are willing to tolerate. If you are healthy, you are at lower risk of serious illness from Covid but there is always a risk that the infection will hurt, cripple, or kill you. Even if you are healthy, you could have a genetic predisposition that leads to severe illness.
I practice Ayurveda. I don’t need it. Is that right?
Well, if you practice Ayurveda you are healthier than if you do not. But many people come to Ayurveda after suffering from major health issues that may make them immune-compromised and /or put them into a higher risk category. I also know lots of people who practice “some Ayurveda”. I know no one who practices it perfectly all the time. Hence, I know no one who is perfectly healthy. So, even if you practice Ayurveda, there is still some risk.
Can I use Herbal Medicine to prevent Covid 19?
Yes and no. Herbal medicines can help. Studies have shown that some have antiviral benefits. Others benefit the respiratory and immune systems. Time and the experience of users and practitioners’ strongly support their use as a first line of defense. But there are no well-designed, controlled, studies on their use against Covid-19. Not all viruses are the same. Hence, there are certain unknowns, and this increases the risk.
Who is at the greatest risk of contracting Covid 19?
Those who are obese, those who have heart and /or lung disease (including asthma), and those who are immune-compromised such as those taking cancer-fighting drugs as well as those who are or were smokers or heavy drinkers are at the greatest risk.
Who has the lowest risk?
Those who are physically fit, have no serious pre-existing conditions, live a healthy lifestyle (no drinking or smoking), and are young. The more of these criteria that fit you, the lower the risk. And, if you live harmoniously according to the principles of Ayurveda, the risk is even lower still!
Does the Covid 19 vaccine work?
Yes. It produces immunity though it is unclear how long that will last. There is little question of the short-term benefits.
What are the risks?
The main risk is that there are no long-term studies on the safety of the vaccine. This is rather significant, especially with new technology (Mod-mRNA vaccine). This does not mean it is not safe. It means no one can say for sure that it will not cause cancer, infertility, or autoimmune disease. Only time will tell. There is also the risk of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and hence it is not recommended if you have a history of this and if you do then it should be administered in a place that can manage this.
The question I get asked is if I would take it?
I am reasonably fit and healthy for someone who will turn 59 in April and I practice Ayurveda and Yoga. I’m not obese, I don’t drink, and I’ve never smoked cigarettes. I am also well-versed in herbal medicine. However, I have a past history of several serious illnesses (See my book; Healing Your Life) and most importantly I have had an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin. The history of anaphylaxis means I should not take it till at least much more is known, or I will need to take it in a place prepared for a reaction should it occur. What if I was not allergic? My response would be this. I would wait at least a few months and reassess after there is more data from the millions who do receive the vaccination. Given that my work involves lots of travel, speaking to large groups, meeting lots of people, and teaching in classrooms, the likelihood is that I will be exposed to the virus. Most likely my response would be strong, and I would eventually be okay but there is no guarantee. I do have some increased risk due to past illnesses and to some extent age. But, if the data still looks good in the year ahead, I may take the vaccine for peace of mind. And what if I had more co-morbidities (heart and lung disease, obesity)? Then yes, I would take it now and I’d keep practicing Ayurveda and Yoga to build my health.
Bottom Line: There is no one right answer that fits everyone. Please consider all of the factors that affect your choice and respect the choice made by others.