silver bullet vaccine

1 deceptively shiny silver bullet

Silver bullet: something that provides an immediate and extremely effective solution to a given problem or difficulty, especially one that is normally very complex or hard to resolve.


There’s a taste of freedom coming your way, which is probably going to be very welcome after the rather cooped-up life you’ve been living for some time. Things won’t change overnight, but you’re going to notice more and more people calling your name to come play, and with those voices, you’ll notice life is starting to pick up. It’s a good time to get some sort of calendar going, because things are happening, even if they’re still in the planning phases.

Yes, I get my horoscope delivered to my inbox daily. Along with a thought for the day from Like I’ve said, I’m a syncretist with a Christian past.

I’m often pleasantly surprised when what lands in my inbox connects to what’s really happening in my life—although I recognize that once we realize that a miracle is just a shift in perception: in the past, I might have called it a coincidence; now, I call it a miracle.

This horoscope showed up two days after I received my second Covid-19 vaccination. Coincidence? Miracle?

Either way, I’m not likely to open up my calendar to go play just yet.

___ to the rescue!

Have you ever considered how often we 1) put the blame on some “other” and 2) wait for some “other” to rescue us from our predicament?

The Covid-19 pandemic may have started in Wuhan (although it seems that may also be in question), so many of us were happy to blame the Chinese. Those ridiculous people who wore face masks as if that would help prevent the spread of the virus.

Oh. Wait. They might? In a few short weeks, most thinking Americans became face mask wearers. Face masks to the rescue!

Some people turned to scientists at the CDC for information: Dr. Fauci to the rescue!

Others turned to political leaders: the President to the rescue! (Yes, I’m talking about the previous one AND the current one.)

One of the most amusing memes I saw last year ran along these lines: 2020 be like putting on a sports bra when not completely dried off after my shower, and now I’m just waiting for Jesus to come get me out of this mess. Jesus to the rescue!

And the predominant theme of most of the pandemic has been: vaccines to the rescue!

snap judgment

A few weeks ago, I made an egregious error while doing a presentation at our local community college on reducing stress in our lives.

We were talking about what has been stressful for us recently, and I made the mistake of mentioning the V word: “I’ve been very ambivalent about getting vaccinated, and I know that in order to visit my parents this summer, it will make things much simpler.”

One of the participants was so upset by this statement that she reported me to the organizers of the program and said that she hoped I was not representing the views of the college on the question of vaccination (I wasn’t; in fact, the college has hosted several vaccination clinics in recent weeks). Furthermore, she wanted to know, how would we ever reach herd immunity when someone who calls themselves a health coach espouses dangerous views like this?!?

To be clear, I never said that nobody should be vaccinated (or, for that matter, that everyone should)—I was speaking about what had been causing me stress recently. I might have said my teenager’s senioritis was stressing me out or that I had an article due the next day or that I’ve been having back pain.

More importantly (and perhaps more distressingly), this woman’s reaction is typical of our inclination to make snap judgments. Vaccination and herd immunity are only one piece of the puzzle: she jumped to conclusions without investigating the rest of the picture—something that has become another epidemic in our culture.

I definitely feel badly that I had caused her stress in a workshop meant to reduce her stress levels. I wonder whether she often not only snap judges others but has a deep inner critic, one who drives her stress levels to unprecedented (there’s a 2020 word for you) heights. Given that she reached out to the school first, she may not reach out to me directly—although I’d surely welcome a deeper conversation with her!

the rest of the picture

As a health coach, I eat clean, move my body regularly, mitigate stress, work virtually from home, rarely interact with anyone indoors in person, limit my trips to the grocery store and a few other necessary errands, and always follow other guidelines, such as masking, handwashing, and social distancing. Because I choose to do all this.

Under normal circumstances (meaning if I weren’t going to travel out of state), I would choose not to be vaccinated until the vaccine had been around for awhile and was approved for regular use, not just emergency use. I have a deep faith in my immune system, and there are plenty of people on the front lines and people with underlying conditions who need the vaccine much more than I do: I was happy to wait.

Am I an anti-vaxxer? Nope. Both of my children and I are fully vaccinated with the basics—those that are required by law. As of next month, neither of them will be minors, and they are welcome to make their own decisions about future vaccinations.

Do I get the annual flu shot? Nope. Like I said, due to my food and lifestyle choices, the likelihood of me catching the flu is very low, and since I usually have a reaction to the shot beyond a sore arm and a low fever, I’d rather take my chances.

And this may change over time: when I’m older, if I’m regularly in touch with others—especially populations in danger of infection—and/or if I have other underlying concerns, I may well decide to get the flu shot. Because I try to balance my responsibilities to myself with those I have to others.

My point is that we have agency over our choices—including our healthcare decisions. Dr. Fauci, the President, and even Jesus might inform our decisions, but ultimately, the decision is ours, something we seem to have forgotten because we are in the habit of looking outside ourselves for advice rather than checking in with our inner wisdom.

remedy up

Had the workshop participant asked, I would have told her I was getting vaccinated that week (in fact, the very next day), and as of this writing, I’ve just had my second shot.

And you can bet that I “remedied up” before and after both rounds!

It’s not within the scope of my practice to prescribe medications or supplements, and I certainly won’t do it. Suffice it to say that the pharmacy on my kitchen counter included conventional OTC medications—and that they were vastly outnumbered by supplements, herbs, and homeopathic remedies.

I’ve also spent some time talking to my body’s inner wisdom and asking it to release anything it doesn’t need and use what it does need.

It all seems to have worked, and beyond a sore arm and fatigue after the first shot and a few minimal aches after the second, I seem to have come through just fine. Or perhaps my immune system isn’t as great as I thought, based on reports that those with more immunity have stronger reactions? In any case, I have a strong belief in the mind-body connection, so I’m going with the first version—that all my interventions were effective!

back to normal? a new normal?

I’ve personally not been thrilled by the attitude that once we have a vaccine, we can “go back to normal.” A lot of the “normal” many of us pine for feels unimportant to me personally—you’re free to have your own opinion, of course. I personally don’t plan to hang out in large (unmasked, undistanced) groups, socialize beyond the few trusted individuals in my “pod,” dine in restaurants, return to the cinema, travel extensively yet—and I’m not saying you can’t do it.

So many of our society’s problems have been brought into sharp relief by the pandemic that I sincerely hope we don’t go backwards. In my opinion, going “back to normal” will allow us to forget about the inequities in healthcare, food systems, labor, education, and justice.

Tying together a few threads in this blog post, I want to share the rest of the definition for silver bullet with which I started.

Is the vaccine important? Certainly. And if you read the second part of the definition, “The phrase is almost always used in a statement that such a solution does not exist,” you’ll not only be getting the other side of the story—you’ll perhaps recognize that the vaccine is not a silver bullet.

make the connection

Given that we may well not reach herd immunity, it’s vital that we don’t wait for the government, big pharma, Jesus, or even Dr. Fauci to save us: we are each responsible for our own health.

Whether you’re vaccinated or not, there are many food and lifestyle choices that can help you (re)claim your optimal holistic health and well-being—and you are the only person who can decide which choices are right for you right now. And helping you discover those choices, test them out, and discover the right food and lifestyle choices for you right now/for now is my job as a health coach.

My scope of practice as a health coach does not allow me to give medical advice: I cannot diagnose, treat, or prescribe. Don’t come to me if you want answers; instead, come to me if you want to be asked the questions that will empower you to make the decisions for your health that are right for you right now.

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[Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels]