Saturday, October 28, 2006

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.