Last week, I wrote a 2000-word blog stating that I declined the invitation from my local clinic to receive Covid-19 vaccination. Over 250 comments landed in my social media, mostly from Facebook, and other social media. This blog shows my response to a range of comments. I took a sentence or a few lines from 15 comments.
I am not anti-vac. If I adopted that view, I would state it in the same way elsewhere I state I am anti-war, anti-abuse of power of politicians/corporations and anti the economic/financial system alongside expressing of alternatives.
Here are the opening paragraphs of last week’s Blog
At 76 years, I qualify for an early vaccination along with others in my age group in the UK.
I telephoned the surgery (clinic) and told the nurse I have received the text. I thanked her and said: “I will not be having the vaccination. For now. Thank you.”
She said: “Fine.”
An Oxford Coronavirus Survey in December 2020 asked 5114 members of the public whether they would receive a vaccination when offered. Adults represented age, gender, ethnicity, income, and region.
72% of British citizens said they wish to have a vaccination. 28% had different views.
16% of the population were very unsure about a COVID-19 jab. 12% said they were likely to delay or avoid getting the vaccine. One in twenty in the survey described themselves as anti-vaccination for Covid-19.
Four groups of people have views. I take a similar approach to those in Group Two.
- The majority of people express a pro-vac viewpoint.
- Others see the genuine benefits of a vaccination but feel no present need for a jab for themselves and/or currently have reservations about a jab regardless of the pressure of politicians and medical scientists.
- A minority have an anti-vac viewpoint.
- A minority do not fall into the above three categories and take no notice of texts from a clinic similar to the one I received.
Acknowledgement of Personal Situation
I am in a fortunate position. So far, I am healthy with no underlying health issues. I exercise daily, am 99% vegan and blessed with peace of mind.
The strict use of the facemask, social distancing and washing of hands gives much protection. There is daily enjoyment of the silence and solitude at home. I engage in correspondence, via emails, text messages, WhatsApp, Skype and use of Zoom for Dharma teachings and support for those in need. I regard the chances of my catching Covid-19 as low.
A Response to 15 Comments on Facebook/Blog/ Social Media on Covid-19 Vaccination
- It seems likely that there will be an increase in suffering because of the disinformation in your blog. All I can do is share my disagreement with you which is based on scientific evidence and then let go and send lovingkindness/metta to you and compassion/karuna to those who will fall ill whether directly or indirectly as a result of your actions.
Please be specific on the ‘disinformation’ in my blog. Then send me the correct information, which will not increase suffering. I will make the information you send to me available for others to read.
- So you would consider taking the vaccine when it suits you…Whilst everyone is entitled to their perspective, you definitely don’t speak for me….I would urge everyone to check out their thinking to see if it stems from the three right intentions or right motivations, of 1. renunciation/-letting go (of self-interest), 2. kindness and 3. compassion/non-cruelty/non-harm. Let’s think of our common good for once.
The blog encourages people to check out their thinking and more. It will take more than six months at the rate of two million jabs per week in the UK to vaccinate the adult population. People might say: “You (such as Buddhists, spiritual people, meditators, humanists etc) only think about yourselves. You probably have no cancer, heart disease, diabetes, weight issues or underlying health problems. Yet, as soon as offered the jab, you will take it. You are not interested in letting go of your own self-interest. If you had the common good in mind, you would ensure the vulnerable took priority and you would decline the jab. You would volunteer to go to the back of the queue. That shows renunciation, kindness and compassion.” This is NOT my view but it is worthy of your consideration.
- As some people look to Christopher for guidance, his promoting an ethically questionable stance on the matter is profoundly irresponsible.
You will need to state precisely in the text what is ‘ethically questionable’ in last week’s blog.’ Since returning from teaching in India in early March 2020, people have asked me regularly my views on vaccination. I engaged in much reflection and research before responding. Ten months later, I wrote the blog to make clear my view and the values to support it. To say nothing, to refuse to express a view on an ethical/global issue, is irresponsible.
- Saying it is a Buddhist perspective sounds authoritative and therefore gives the piece undue power to influence other Buddhists.
The weekly blog contains around 740 items over the years. A backbone to the blogs arose from my years in the East as a Buddhist monk. I received a Buddhist training in ethics, non-violence, mindfulness, meditation, reflection, tolerance, kindness and liberation. The blog states clearly “A Buddhist perspective.” ‘A’ implies it is one of a range of perspectives within the Buddhist tradition and one of a wide range of perspectives among religions, philosophy, academic research and science. ‘Undue power?’ The readers, including Buddhists, can make up their mind. Please do not treat them as powerless and submissive.
- Don’t have a vaccine by all means if you feel that strongly but no need to advertise it.
I am a servant of the Buddha-Dharma. Freedom of expression of language matters when one intends to encourage a deep exploration of a major issue. People have a right to ask others their views. This includes the right to ask teachers of the Dharma, spirituality and meditation. There is no discernible reason for us to avoid offering our views on major issues and avoid making them known.
- From reading scientific studies on the mRNA vaccines, it’s highly likely you will still be able to pass the virus on.
Healthline states: “You can still spread, develop COVID-19 after getting a vaccine.” Hopkins Medicine (USA) states: “While the vaccine may prevent you from getting sick, it is unknown at this time if you can still carry and transmit the virus to others.” You can have the jab and you can still spread the virus. That means there is no scientific evidence to say a jab stops transmission. The jab reduces the impact of Covid-19 for the one who receives it. That is what it does. If scientific evidence stated : Your vaccination means you cannot give Covid-19 to anybody, I would say it is worthwhile for all of us to make a serious consideration for the vaccination.
- One who works at a public hospital, serving the medically indigent. Your white middle class privilege blinds you to much of the suffering.
Your comment reads like the projection of a stereotype. I would humbly mention that co-teachers and I work with people’s mental suffering worldwide. My daughter, the CEO of www.mindfulnesssupportservice.org – and a team of us, work with the suffering of domestic violence and the suffering of public servants in the UK – currently via Zoom.
- Bull fucking shit. You chirp this like you know stuff, and I’m sure you don’t.
Such comments reveal more about the one who makes such a comment than the one commented on.
- How utterly sad that instead of bringing respectful dialogue around a very important and relevant topic, certain individuals on this thread resort to swearing, insults and name calling. It weakens any valid points you may have had.
Thank you for the reminder. As a blogger for 12 years, I have noticed the expressions of abusive language have increased in the past year. The lockdown, social isolation and stress generate an increase in blame and personal attacks on loved ones, family, colleagues and strangers. Anger shows an inability to control the voices of others. Verbal abuse is a pandemic in the mind. There is no vaccination for this. It requires wise attention and more. Some Facebook Friends, who were abusive to other Friends or myself, later deleted their attacks. Thank you.
- I wonder how is possible that the Covid variants UK, Brazil and South Africa match with the AstraZeneca countries where the trials where done.
This is an important area of concern. The Astra Zeneca trials took place in these countries. Is there a relationship between the trials and the mutations of Covid-19 in these three countries? We need independent scientific research to advise us without politicians constantly filtering scientific research to suit their agenda.
- We do know from scientific research that vaccines don’t work very well on old people.
A comment on my blog: “My friend who is 87 years old is very upset at the moment after hearing her sister in England died the day she had her 2nd shot of the vaccine. Her family have been told she died of heart failure.” I listed in the blog the side effects of the vaccination on some elderly people. Could the impact end up as a tipping point leading to deterioration and death for an undisclosed number of elderly people and those with highly vulnerable health condition? We need scientific research of any such impact in the days after a jab on the elderly and vulnerable.
- I believe these are grounds for thinking deeply before accepting the offer (of a vaccination).
Yes. We can reflect and meditate before accepting the offer. Is it wise? Is it selfish? Is it unselfish? Is it neither? Are mass vaccinations worldwide the answer to a global pandemic? Science says the new mutations are much stronger than the original virus. Do the current vaccinations halt the impact of the stronger mutations? UK government first told us we must have the second vaccination three weeks after the first jab. The government changed its mind and said the second jab could be up to 12 weeks. Where is the scientific evidence for such a lengthy postponement? The government told us that if the vaccine used for the first jab was not available for the second jab, doctors/nurses can inject one of the two other vaccines. Is this safe? Where is the scientific evidence? We need to think deeply about such matters for our family members, young, old, and ourselves. How long does a jab give protection from Covid-19? Does it vary between people? Will the entire 16 years and over population require two or more jabs every year, year after year? Since the UK mutation is up to 70% more transmissible and could be more deadly than the original virus, then will the first jab protect citizens from the mutation? Number of deaths in UK from Covid-19 will reach 100,000 sometime this week while more than 1,000,000 people in the UK are currently infected with Covid-19.
13. Who would have thought you would be an antiwaxer
Please read the first section of the previous blog before jumping to false conclusions.
14. Concerns have been raised over how much protection a single dose of the Pfizer BioNTech covid-19 vaccine provides, following reports from Israel that it is much lower than expected.
Israel has the highest number of vaccinations per population in the world. We need to follow scientific research in Israel on the beneficial impact of vaccinations and the concerns. Following vaccinations, Israeli research shows this month there is a 33% reduction two weeks later in cases of Covid-19 rather than 52% as in the trials after the first jab. After giving 75% of older Israelis the job, scientists there reported a number of elderly people were more vulnerable to further health issues following the jab. Israel and medical experts elsewhere also expressed concern about the UK government’s decision to postpone the second jab for up to three months.
15. (Three of the supportive comments of readers). 1. Thank you again, for meticulous information, honest exposal of your view, about ethics and political interwovenness and your stand towards that being as it is. 2. This is a good article, with very ethical reasons for your ‘no’ choice. 3. I’m not sure if I agree with you about not vaccinating, but deep respect for your well-researched and moral stance.
Thank you for your responses. I devoted many hours in recent months to reflections, meditations and research until I came to a personal resolution around vaccinations..
I adopted the view: No vaccine at this time but with the door ajar in the future.
In the previous blog, I closed with the words: The jab is a choice.
NB. Please see blog OF 28.01.2021 A SIMPLE GUIDE TO FACEMASKS. If you do not wish to be a spreader of Covid-19, nor an inhaler, please ensure you are using an appropriate mask.