Vaccination Number One
The first vaccine had what I would call a zero reaction. I began to wonder if my immune system was on watch or alert to foreign substances injected into my arm muscle. Even the injection site had little pain and no redness. My response seemed so benign that I was then amazed by a dream I had that had my arm swollen and red at the injection site. However, most of the time when I get a flu vaccine or other vaccine’s my body seems to have a ho-hum attitude. I like this, but it always causes me to wonder if the little armies of defenders are sleeping while on duty.
Vaccination Number Two
On Thursday, March 18, I had the second of the two Moderna Covid-19 vaccines. My arm still aches. In addition, I slept most of Friday. I felt like I had a bad cold, was chilled, and had little appetite until about 8 p.m. Apparently the army of defenders did not like the second Covid invasion, and they responded with a noticeable war. I have not taken any cold medicine all winter, but I did during these two days. Yesterday I couldn’t stop coughing. Today my coughing is back to my normal allergy-related issues. This all makes me appreciate the way my body is designed even more. It also gave me a better sense that my immune system wasn’t ignoring the invasions.
What Makes the Immune System Work?
When your built-in immune system recognizes an invader, it goes into action. The cells of your immune system surround and engulf the invader. The outsider is killed inside the immune system cells. There are multiple organs or vessels that provide the defenses and it is like there are multiple forts for the troops that are called into action. These include the adenoids, bone marrow, lymph nodes, lymphatic vessels, Peyer’s patches in the small intestine, spleen, thymus, and tonsils.
I remember when I had tonsillitis as a boy. My tonsils were overwhelmed, for a time, by the invaders. Thankfully, I did not have to have mine removed. (Your tonsils are like your body’s furnace air filters. They trap germs that could otherwise enter your airways and cause infection. The tonsils also make antibodies to fight infection. When they get overwhelmed by bacteria or viruses, they can become swollen and inflamed.)
Vaccines are Immunogenic and Loving
I am encouraged that my body’s response was visible and noticeable. Sometimes you have to wonder if all systems are working, because they do their jobs without any evidence. I have evidence that my heart is working, my lungs are working and that my kidneys are doing their job. But my immune system is the silent army. Dr. Grace Lee said, “These vaccines are very immunogenic, meaning they stimulate a strong immune response, and so the likelihood is that if you’re having symptoms after a vaccine, that your body’s responding incredibly well to the vaccine.” Dr. Grace Lee is a pediatric infectious disease physician at Stanford.
My primary purpose for getting the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t to alleviate any fears I have. It certainly wasn’t because I thought God is unable to protect me from what I can see or what I cannot see. My decision was not driven by absolute confidence in modern medicine or any kind of FDA approvals. Rather, I strive to be driven by love. Love is action for the benefit of others. I want to be able to spend time with others who need my help, whether here in Wisconsin, on our planned trip to Louisiana in a couple of weeks, or any travels to India that might be scheduled later this year. If the vaccine gives me opportunities because I have the “protection” of the vaccine, then that helps me care for others in the weeks and months ahead.
If You Don’t Get the Vaccine Are You Unloving?
I don’t think so. I don’t want to imply that your choice is or must be the same as mine. But I do think we should be thoughtful about the reasons we do or don’t do things. If our decisions are driven by fear more than love, than we are probably making poor decisions.