Christopher Titmuss Dharma Blog

A Buddhist Perspective

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I had the Pfizer jab in early June (2021). I am not happy about it.

I made the 25 minute walk from home in Totnes to Follaton House (head office  of the District Council for South Hams), on the first Saturday of June to receive the Pfizer jab for Covid-19.

I am not happy about getting the jab. Last year, I told the Dharma centres overseas where I teach, I would only get the jab in order to make it easier to enter countries to teach. (I would also get the jab, if it ever became necessary, to visit Nshorna or grandchildren if one of them was in hospital). South Devon has one of the lowest rates of infection in England.

Two days before, Ulla, co-teacher on the Dharma-Yatra (Teaching-Pilgrimage) rang me from Germany letting me know Reutlingden Council near Stuttgart had given permission for our annual pilgrimage in southern Germany. (The Council did not give permission in 2020). I immediately emailed the local NHS clinic to book an appointment stating I did not mind a Pfizer or Astra-Zeneca jab. An hour or two later, the clinic had booked me an appointment 48 hours later for the jab. The second jab for seniors will take place within eight weeks. I am due to travel to Germany in August.

I was the first in the queue of around 15 people.

After saying ‘no’ to the nurse’s questions (Do you experience?…Do you have…?) about my current state of health, she gave the jab – a mild pinprick. Those of us who received the jab, then walked to another room to sit for 15 minutes before leaving to return home.

I decided for 15 to 20 minutes to use the time as a meditation on the body (body scan). Insight meditators know the practice. The meditator sits tall and upright and places mindfulness at the top of the head from within to feel the vibrations, tingling warmth, sensations, pleasant, unpleasant or painful. It is a meditation on changing sensations, to develop equanimity and for clarity about the nature of the body.

Then one slowly moves the attention down through the body to the soles of the feet experiencing the body from within, not the outer layer. Then one starts in the reverse direction from the soles of the feet to the top of the head. It took me around 20 minutes to complete the meditation with two or three minutes of meditative presence to the whole of the body.

I read conventional vaccines, use a weakened form of the virus. Pfizer uses RNA vaccines. This works by introducing into the body a messenger RNA (mRNA) sequence containing the genetic instructions for the vaccinated person’s own cells to produce the vaccine antigens. This generates an immune response.

I did not feel a sensation or change anywhere, not in the place of the pinprick or anywhere else. I had assumed I would sense changes in the body due to the jab. The nurse gave every person a sheet of paper of a possible list of side effects, mild or strong, such as warmth/heat around the pinprick, headache, tiredness, unusual sensations in the body etc. I experienced nothing. The scan meditation could not pick up anything indicating a pharmaceutical substance had entered the body.

I made the 25 minute walk back into Totnes, staying as mindful as possible of the physical life in movement. I bought some food and went home. No changes in the body. I went to bed at 11 pm. Just before sleep, I felt a tiny sensation at the point of the pinprick. A second later, I fell asleep for the night.

I woke up on Sunday. Nothing. Monday. Nothing. Tuesday. Nothing. I joked with Nshorna the nurse might have forgotten to inject the mRNA so I only had a pinprick. Millions probably had the same experience.

Last year, I posted several blogs of concern about the global pandemic, Covid-19, the pharmaceutical industry, the medical and political response. A variety of heavy duty criticisms and support landed in my social media platforms and emails. Anecdotal evidence gave me the impression that some of those supporting the jab were as judgmental in their views as those who were against the jab. Accusations of delusions went back and forth between opposing sets of views.

If you take a stance on such a major matter, whether for or against, you have to expect a backlash. I did not take a stance but encouraged raising questions on such a simplistic solution as vaccination of every single person on the planet, probably on a regular basis, to the global pandemic but the flack still came.

Twelve Responses to UK Government Policy on Covid-19

Nobody in their right mind should claim diet is the answer to the global pandemic.

Nobody in their right mind should claim a jab is the answer to the global pandemic. Both have a contribution to make as well as proposals listed below.

  1. I regard health, via diet, exercise and peace of mind as a significant support to strengthen the immune system to resist a life-threatening infection from Covid-19.
  2. I accept social distancing as a contribution to minimise transmission. Yet. there is an emotional cost to the lack of hugs, touch, playfulness and kisses, affectionate and romantic. Detachment from social contact weakens the whole being of a person. Our togetherness give us all inner strength.
  3. I do not accept the lockdown policy. A sort of ‘lockout’ might offer more support. Fresh air, outdoors and walking contribute to well-being. Millions faced lockdown in restricted spaces. People go out and return home – possibly infected. A family or those in shared occupation become vulnerable to Covid-19. The smaller the living space the more the vulnerability to infection – in the toilet, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, living room, dining room and hallways. Scientific study state the Covid-19 droplets can last in the air for up to three hours.
  4. I have a doubt about the efficacy of a facemask. How can a porous piece of cloth save us from Covid-19? A non-porous cloth would suffocate us in minutes.
  5. The government should have provided everyone with the same surgical facemasks as used in hospitals to every citizen. Cloth masks may reduce outer transmission to others but surgical masks give more protection to the wearer from airborne particles of the virus as well as help protect others.
  6. People at home and worldwide living in crowded living situations need first priority of support for a healthy diet and health care system, as well as receiving the jab, if necessary Many such families and individuals work in the public sector. They are more vulnerable to infection. Scientists and governments claimed the race issue a major reason for high numbers of infected people in the lower income group rather than poor living conditions and poor diet due to poverty.
  7. Scientists and governments preferred lockdown to radical change for people in their diet – to shift away from factory food to healthy food for children, adults and the elderly. (see US report on plant-based diet and Covid-19 in next blog)
  8. Instead of sending all children/pupils/students home for lockdown, the government needed to open classes in empty office spaces/empty department stores, churches, halls, libraries, council offices and on the estates of the wealthy elite. The closing of schools, colleges and universities and sending everybody home for lockdown increased the risk of infection when householders went out for work or necessities. Different classes could be held in different localities to reduce risk of transmission.
  9. Schoolchildren and college/university students could spend time outdoors with teachers – sports, games, walks, parks, woods, allotments, farms, the streets to learn about life in the real world.
  10. Public health includes happiness, peace of mind, sharing, contact with nature and much more – not just frequent washing hands, facemasks and social distancing.
  11. Instead of banning freedom of movement, the government ought to have banned factory food,  ordered massive cut down of sugar, salt, fat, chemicals, processed food and food infected with preservatives. The government should have created thousands of allotments for the population, encouraged food bought in local markets and rationed alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, luxury goods etc. Supermarkets would face shutdown if they did not sell healthy food and drink
  12. The government needed to develop an army of volunteers to check every person in the country and find out their needs. People would meet in safe spaces to develop the local community to address all issues for mutual support. Meetings would also take place to support homes for the aged, hospitals, prisons, offices and factories. Instead, we have an epidemic of unhappiness, loneliness, social isolation, increase in domestic violence and more addiction to painkillers.

Finally, the British government has ordered more than 500 million doses of vaccines, especially from Astra Zeneca based in Oxford and Pfizer. Governments of poor nations around the world go down on hands and knees to the UK and other rich countries for vaccines to support their suffering and vulnerable citizens.

Our government has offered these countries a pittance in terms of vaccines, cut overseas aid to poor nations while clinging onto stored vaccines – just in case we might need the vaccines at some indeterminate date. Such a selfish policy ranks as arguably a crime against humanity. Death toll worldwide continues to increase with 3.9 million deaths. The death toll in the UK is in the 10 top countries with number of deaths at 128,000 deaths in the first 18 months, plus our global export of the British and Delta variant. The government’s policy shows catastrophic mismanagement.

Together, we could have saved the lives of countless numbers of people in the UK and overseas and reduced the suffering of millions from long Covid while keeping hospitals open for all health issues.

Despite all the self-congratulation of the government for claiming they follow medical science, they let us down. They want us to pin all our hopes on the jab while the number of infected people grows with every new variant with growing doubts whether the current vaccination can protect us against these new highly transmissible variants.

The increasing power of a new Covid-19 variant infects the population at an alarming speed. Governments do not want citizens landing in their country from infected countries even if the citizens have had both jabs.

That seems to show the low degree of confidence of medical scientists and governments in both vaccinations when it comes to the variants.

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152 words

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