23 August 2021

How to have a COVID vaccination that is side-effect free and effective

Don’t you just love a good coincidence. Recently had my first COVID vaccine - Pfizer variety – and no side effects. This “coincided” with doing a series of simple mind exercises that all you meditators would relate to easily – and may find helpful.

So having resisted writing about vaccines to date, this week, what are the side-effects, how often do they occur and how might you minimise them; and a special point - are symptoms necessary to achieve good levels of immunity? 

Maybe if you or someone you care for is still to be vaccinated you can experience it symptom free and effective, but first 

     Thought for the day

Our problems, both personal and global, seem so complicated, 

And at an intellectual level, they are. 

But the real root of our problems lies at a different level, 

Simpler but more intractable 

– in our anger, self-interest, fear, greed 

– and only at that deeper level can real transformation occur. 

We can think up clever policies and make grand pronouncements, 

But if in our hearts we are really not moved by the suffering of others, 

Then nothing will really change.

Simply put, real change happens in the heart, 

And there the future of our world will be decided. 

                   HH The Dalai Lama

Please be clear, what follows is not a PhD, rather my own summarised investigations. Reference articles have direct links to the original papers.

Everyone is encouraged to make further investigations themselves and consult your doctors when making medical decisions.


1. Pfizer has less side-effects than AstraZeneca according to The Lancet.

Vaccine side-effects and SARS-CoV-2 infection after vaccination in users of the COVID Symptom Study app in the UK: a prospective observational study. 

Menni C et al. The Lancet, 2021: Vol 21, issue 7, P939-949.

2. What are Pfizer’s side effects?

In this study of Healthcare Workers - who were regarded as highly likely to provide accurate feedback - injection site pain was recorded by 89.8%, fatigue 62.2%, headache 45.6%, muscle pain 37.1%, and chills 33.9%. 

Thirteen percent reported at least one oral side effect; the most common of which was blisters (36%), followed by halitosis (25.4%), ulcers (14%), bleeding gingiva (11.4%), and white/red plaque (10.5%).

All the general side effects were more prevalent among those under 43 years old.

3. How long do Pfizer side-effects last?

The study found 45.1% of the above symptoms lasted for 1 day, while 35.8% lasted for 3 days, 9.4% lasted for 5 days, 5.3% lasted for one week, 3% lasted for over a week, and 1.4% for over a month. 

Riad A et al. Prevalence of COVID-19 Vaccine Side Effects among Healthcare Workers in the Czech Republic. J Clin Med. 2021;10(7):1428. Published 2021 Apr 1. doi:10.3390/jcm10071428

4.What about severe side effects?

Side effects that required medical intervention were reported by only 1.3% of this study group (not sure if this number may have been somewhat reduced as this was a group of health workers and they may have self-treated; but anyway, severe side-effects can be taken to be small). 

Elsewhere, The European Medicines Agency has estimated that the risk of cerebral venous thrombosis after the AstraZeneca vaccine is 5.0 (4.3 to 5.8) per million people. Evaluating the risk of thrombosis in Pfizer is not easy, but seems less than AstraZeneca, while the risk of myocarditis or other major heart issues is real but rare and still being clarified.


There seems to be a popular myth that greater side-effects indicate a greater immune response from your body and hence, point to better protection.

Happily, the evidence does not support this. In fact, the evidence indicates the level of immunity is relatively independent of the level of side-effects according to research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. “Overall, the findings suggest that regardless of vaccine reactions or prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, either spike mRNA vaccine will provide a robust spike antibody response.”

Debes AK, Xiao S, Colantuoni E, et al. Association of Vaccine Type and Prior SARS-CoV-2 Infection With Symptoms and Antibody Measurements Following Vaccination Among Health Care Workers. JAMA Intern Med. Published online August 16, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.4580

So it seems OK to do what you can to minimise or avoid side-effects altogether.


Put simply, the vaccines work, the side-effects are now shown to be minimal and my guess is it will not be long before the unvaccinated will be restricted in what they can access.

While thorough research is yet to be published, a Public Health England analysis (in a preprint that has not yet been peer-reviewed) showed at least two vaccines to be effective against Delta. 

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease and 96% effective against Delta, while Oxford-AstraZeneca was 60% effective against symptomatic disease and 93% effective against hospitalization. 

The studies tracked participants who were fully vaccinated with both recommended doses.

It seems for the maximum protection from a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer, you must get both shots and then wait the recommended two-week period for those shots to take full effect.


When the COVID vaccines first appeared, they did come as a triumph of modern medicine and science. However, they did come with new technology; they inject mRNA and DNA that tricks our immune system into thinking it is being invaded by the actual virus; and causes it to mount an immunological reaction to it.

Given Australia had low rates of infection when the vaccines first appeared, I felt happy to wait and see if this new vaccination method had any unforeseen side-effects. 

Normally, most vaccine side-effects surface within a few months of introduction – to date there has not been an exception to this that I know of; particularly when millions are receiving the vaccines. 

So the risk of significant side-effects years down the track feels pretty remote to me. The evidence for this is pretty solid.

But then came the Delta variant, infections broke out again and it is becoming clear the chance of returning to zero cases is slim; not impossible, but slim. 

Also, even with 80% vaccination rates there will still be significant Delta outbreaks, and the likelihood of needing vaccination to travel and go to major events is highly probable. 

Not to mention the civic duty of contributing to increased herd immunity.

So, putting that all together, next thing was to research the vaccines available – Pfizer and Astra-Zeneca and decide which is preferable. This is a personal preference, however, I did troll through published research in journals like the Lancet and JAMA rather than the internet. In short, and based upon some of what is summarised above, I opted for Pfizer. 

Then, being over 60, I needed to find someone willing to give it to me. This was helped by having a dodgy medical history, and a local GP clinic obliged.


In essence, it was all about using the 3 Principles of Positive Thinking and the art and science of Mind-Body Medicine

1. First Principle – Have a clear goal

Having done the research and contemplated the facts, I became clear… now was the time to be vaccinated and Pfizer was my vaccine of choice. 

But more than this, my strong intention was to gain excellent immunity – have the vaccine do its job well – and avoid side effects (I had researched and found good immunity is possible without side-effects).

2. Second principle – Do whatever it takes

i) Get organised – I found a local clinic that could administer Pfizer (well actually Ruth did that for me!)

ii) I made sure the day of the vaccination and the day after could be light on for activity.

iii) In preparation, during meditation and in my mind, I welcomed the vaccine as something that would do me good, strengthen my immune system and protect me from COVID. This was like talking to my body, explaining what was about to happen and reinforcing the benefit. I told the body emphatically there was no need for side-effects; what it was about to receive was all for our good. I had a very strong intention…

3. Third Principle – enjoy doing it

i) While sitting in the waiting room – for 1.25 hours!! – I had plenty of time to reinforce the welcome, relax and be primed for the injection.

ii) The injection was painless, I smiled, thanked the nurse and went home to lie down, relax and meditate. This involved a combination of deep relaxation, the letting go of meditation, and the active process of affirming the benefits and lack of side-effects with some imagery to that effect. 

iii) The last step was repeated over several days.


To be complete, on first returning home, I did have a strong sensation around my kidneys. I told myself this was just a sensation probably not related to the vaccination, and it passed within a couple of minutes. Apart from that I had no side-effects whatsoever. No injection site pain, no headache, no fatigue, no muscle pain, no sweats, nausea or mouth issues. Nothing.


Could be, but then it is nice to attempt something and have it work. Every time something like this happens it builds confidence in the Mind-Body connection, and who knows when we might really need that? 

Anyway, if there is something here you find helpful, good luck. 

May you and all you care for stay healthy and well.


1. To read more about Mind-Body Medicine and how to apply it, You Can Conquer Cancer

2. For more on healing, try the downloads from our webstore

3. If you are not already connected, check out the meditation app I have helped develop : Allevi8

4. Finally, there are these 2 blogs that elaborate 5 principles you can learn and apply to accelerate the healing of any condition.

Accelerated healing – Part 1

Accelerated healing - Part 2


  1. I find the published stats very hard to believe when we have had 3 previously healthy people who were all vaccinated with astra zenica who suffered life threatening outcomes. Two within 48 hours and one within two weeks. One has completely recovered after being rushed to Emergency with a suspected stroke, the second spent four days in Geelong in an induced coma and the third suffered an extremely serious stroke and has lost the use of his left side. He has been informed that after two months of intense physio that he is unlikely to fully recover or may not improve further. I doubt very much that any of these peoples reactions have been recorded.

    1. I feel deeply for people who do suffer genuine and strong side-effects. However, most things we do have side-effects. Driving a car is way more dangerous than many things yet as a community we accept the risk and do what we can to minimise it. On balance the vaccines seem worth the risk to me at present.

  2. Hi Ian,,, unbelievable,, this comes as a shock to me that one of my heroes has vaccinated himself even after doing his research. Obviously Dr.Russel Blaylock didn't convince you that vaccines have long-term neurological consequences. You either support this vaccine mandate or appose it, there is no middle ground here..This is a war against a gigantic evil force and the virus is the trojan house.. I'm simply gob smacked Ian that you would influence your followers down this track. We, here in NZ, are a group of doctors, virologists, biochemists and natural health practitioners who would never poison ourselves or our children with any GM vaccines let alone promote it.. very disappointed )-:

    1. Appreciate your concerns , however, it might help to remember I am a veterinarian by my initial training. Whether it is parvo, distemper, hepatitis etc, vaccinated dogs do not get them; unvaccinated get them in droves. Most die without treatment and many die even with great treatment. Vaccinations work on scale and yes, some may well have side-effects and some may be more effective and relevant than others, but to me, COVID vaccination makes sense at this point in time. We shall see... :)

  3. I appreciate your courage in presenting your thoughts and particularly appreciate hearing from a healing professional I trust who is referencing medical journals. I have a wholistic approach to my health, and on reflection made the decision to trust the prevailing medical advice and have had my first Phizer with no noticable side effects.

    1. Seems like a good choice to me, but everyone needs to make up their own mind... :)

  4. Really appreciate your time and thoughts on this issue. I have spoken to you personally around this issue many years ago, and appreciated your candour and wise words than, just as I do now. I have vaccine hesitancy around giving multiple doses of vaccines (at one time and over and over) to very young children, without sufficient caution when side effects occur (following personal experience with my son and other children). However, I have managed to avoid falling into the 'rabbit holes' that other people suffer terribly from (really, the internet is worse medicine for some than any vaccine!), and I try to keep an objective and open mind about this issue.

    I had been secretly hoping that the covid vaccines would prove either catastrophically worse than covid, or useless against it, before it arrived in great quantities 'down under'. However, as a former health professional, with former colleagues in the UK and NZ, I have seen both publicly and privately the terrible effects this pandemic has had on the 'shop floor' of hospitals, and I really don't see how I can refuse to do my part in trying at least one dose and hopefully tolerating it enough to have a second. Your information and helpful tips are fantastically reassuring, and I really want to thank you for publishing this - I will be using it for myself and sharing it with other interested friends. Kind regards/nga mihi, Steph Pearce, Christchurch, NZ.

    1. Thanks for your own insightful comments on this complex issue Steph :)

  5. I wanted Pfizer but was unable to have Pfizer because I was 'categorized' as a person of a certain age who could only have Astra Zeneca. It is that which I object to more than having the vaccine because I strongly believe vaccines offer a level of protection.


  6. In New Zealand 100 people have died from the direct effects of the pfz . My brother in law almost did. And freidnds in Aust have.
    The main symptom is inflammation in the heart for the elderly but for some younger people also. Others range to short or long term sympthoms as if an immune system is healthy then it gets confused so in the future this will mean a range of different autoimmune illnesses for many.

    25 people in NZ died from side effects of the covid such as blood clots due to lack of knowledge of the appropriate treatments and lack of Vit D as old people lack being in homes or not being mobile, or having other serious illnesses. They were marked down aws covid deathas as you may know as hospitals were paid more for covid deaths. The coroners offices here are overrun with enquiries about the deaths of loved ones. But clear answers are not always available.
    ASPRIN is a good treatment for blood clots or lung issues being derived from willow bark as has been found by many doctors.
    Other main natural treatments or preventatives are D and C , Zinc and other simple treatments - some presecibed.

    Only 1 -10% of effects of pfz are reported . You will know about the sustainable living agenda that our govs signed up for to eradicate communicable disseases recently I am sure which is the pandemic protocol, but viruses can never be eradicated as they are part of our natural system in nature and have their part to play . Our Immune systems , if you believe in the God creator enegy as I know you do are perfectly caapble of dealing with viruses as they go through our systems all the time.
    This vaccine is not fully tested until 2023 and yet is now approved and in our country 12 year olds can now say yes to it without parents consent.
    Freedom of choice is important in this matter .

    I am surprised at your recommendation of the vaccine . You were my idol from a young age(75 now) and led me to Sai baba and my studies in natural healing. I used to recommend you to clients with cancer often when living in Aust.
    I am so surprised to see what you have written . Janne Kelly-Smith

    1. I am genuinely interested in how you know 100 people have died in NZ from Pfizer vaccinations??? Also, how do you know on 1-10% of side-effects are reported. One of the research articles i chose to quote investigated health professionals specifically as it was thought they would provide accurate feedback.

  7. Thank you for your advice and personal experience. I have been hesitating in the hope that a better option would come about before the powers that be make it impossible for us to refuse to be vaccinated with what we already have. I fully agree with you about the power of the mind and had not thought of using it in this way. You have just given me the information I needed to make an informed decision and I will be putting my name down now for my vaccination. I am fortunately in a wonderful area of Queensland that has so far been spared too much inconvenience from COVID so haven't felt it was a priority but as the southern states continue to battle the ravages of this pandemic, I feel it will be our turn before much longer. Thank you once again.

  8. Thank you so much Ian. Reading your words delighted and reassured me as I had done exactly the same as you recently before during and after my first vaccine.
    Well meaning friends continued to give dire warnings as I walked into the pharmacy but after great deliberation I felt that my compromised immune system needed some protection. I told my friends, I would be absolutely fine without side effects, which has been the case.

    Thank you once again for stating your case so honestly and providing guidelines and information.

  9. Thanks Ian for sharing your insights, research and journey with the vaccine. There is certainly some misinformation in some of the comments from other people about NZ deaths from the vaccine and that hospitals get paid more for reporting them as covid deaths. Misinformation makes it so hard for people to make an informed decision so this is a great forum to share your insights.

    1. Misinformation is a big deal these days; my sense is while we know medical fraud has occurred, in this instance, there is so much scrutiny that the reputable journals can be trusted for the main...

  10. Thank you for sharing your findings Ian. I find I have COVID-19 fatigue despite not having contracted the virus (to my knowledge), so much to-ing and fro-ing - being told what to do, what not to do. As a health professional I feel I will be obliged to be vaccinated anyway and have given myself space to do some research myself as well. I feel quite secure in my ability to protect myself as you have suggested in this article as well as supporting my immune system with redox and nutritional supplements. I feel our fortune in being only slightly affected by the pandemic in SA in particular, is probably fueling the doubt in people's minds that a pandemic exists! What an opportunity to embrace equanimity, acceptance, gratitude and trust through getting our heads out of the "stories" and into the reality of what we know at this point in time. I too, feel terribly for those who have suffered side-effects but in my experience, no-one I know of has had any of those. I also feel terribly for those who have suffered with COVID-19. Who'd have guessed we would be facing this, all that is certain is right now! Thank you for sharing your research, I appreciate the courage in doing this.

    1. Thanks marion - felt it important to share my own research and experience on this topic that has created controversy and doubt for many; not to mention the hardship it has brought us all... :)

  11. Thank you for sharing your experience and research Ian. I have attended numerous workshops with you and value your contribution and perspective.
    I have read the article below and would very much appreciate your view on what is said therein. It is from a peer reviewed journal:- The International Journal of Vaccine Theory, Practice and Research.
    Sending lots of heartfelt loving kindness to all- May we fear less and love more- staying connected to Source

  12. This is an interesting article. It speculates and theorises around the natural concerns - that the COVID vaccines are new technology and their mechanism could lead to serious longer term consequences. There is no doubt this part of the equation is yet to play out. Lets hope there are no unforeseen problems... My own sense is that if these were coming, we would have some indication of them already, but we shall see... :)

  13. I approached my vaccination with the same mindset, and kept thinking that it will do me good, and I trust my body to do exactly what it's meant to do. I heard a woman who had cancer recount how she did this with chemo therapy and every day she practiced gratitude for the medication and used self-talk around it doing her good and helping her heal. She recovered, and her hair didn't even fall out! Possibly co-incidence, possibly naïve of me, but I believe there's no harm in trying this attitude, at least it feels better than fear and anxiety even if the outcome is the same either way.

    1. What I did with the vaccine is also based upon what helped me with recovering from cancer. After a long time attempting to beat cancer fully naturally, I opted for experimental chemo, welcomed it, did heaps of imagery and affirmations about it doing me good and so on - as In You Can Conquer cancer - and here i still am. Sure, I may just have been lucky ... but what do you think??? :)

  14. Thank you Ian for your divine insight into the power of mind. I'm an Ayurvedic health practitioner and for the past few months I have been 'on the fence' about getting the jab. I suffered chronic fatigue for many years and Ayurveda, yoga and meditation has healed me. The question I've asked myself is, "if I get Covid, is my immune system strong enough?" Recently, after being so stressed about it all, doing research, worrying about conspiracies, buying into fear driven stories and getting no closer to a decision, I realised (yet again) how powerful my mind is at either making me well, or sick. I was debilitated by stress. Then one morning I woke up after praying to my guru to receive an answer. To vax or not. Is Ayurveda enough? The answer was to do both!!! Since I was 'on the fence' it was clear I needed to bring both western and Indian medicine together in a complimentary approach. The angst I was in receded and I booked my Pfizer and ordered some Ayurvedic medicines from India to support my immune system and clear viruses. Your blog has helped me prepare my mind for the jab which is something I didn't think about. Preparing mentally and spiritually to welcome the vax as something helpful is profound wisdom. We can turn "mud to gold" with our mind. I'm now asking for the vax to help me. I'm now asking to not be at peace when I get it and to have no side effects. I'm asking to be free from worry about the future, to stay healthy and happy. Thank you again for your divine insight. Blessings to you and your family.

  15. Hi Ian,

    I will be interested to so how you feel after your second Pfiser as that seem to be the one where most people experience the most side effects.

    Kind Regards

  16. Dear Ian, I feel so grateful to you and to a friend of mine who sent me this post. It certainly feels like Divine Intervention for me.
    I have been grappling with this issue for months now and as one of your commenters suggested I have been suffering from Covid 19 fatigue.
    I have mostly been on the side of the fence to not vaccinate but given the latest turn in events and the fact that I will probably need a vaccine tick to run my Chair Yoga classes for Seniors I have been moving close to the vaccination argument. However it has not felt totally ok to me and I knew it was not a good idea to receive the vaccine with this mindset.
    Reading your experience and hearing your wisdom has just filtered into my being in a way that has affected my body by allowing it to let go and feel the innate wisdom within myself.
    I thank you sincerely for sharing this information. I know it was just what I needed to hear and of course so timely.
    I will sit with this new, open and allowing energy and when I decide to receive the vaccine I will be be able to do it in a positive and self nurturing manner.
    Irene Sheard Northern Rivers NSW

  17. Dear Dr Gawler, I am surprised by your post, having seen you speak many times at AIMA conferences and workshops in New Zealand and following your work for 16 years.
    Your story about overcoming cancer resonated strongly with me, having beaten 40 years of asthma. In my case it was relearning how to breathe. At 64 years old I am in good health, take no medications and am confident that my immune system, with a little help from some good immune boosting supplements are my best protection from COVID.
    I have been concerned about the speed of the vaccine roll out, the numerous reports of adverse reactions, including deaths and the lack of safety monitoring or informed consent. I believe this is all confirmed in many of the submissions to this FDA vaccines advisory committee hearing September 17, 2021. I have highlighted a few of the submissions that should raise red flags about the Pfizer vaccine.
    4 hrs 9 minutes in minutes - Dr Jessica Rose, VAERS analysis
    4 hrs 13 minutes in - Retsef Levi, Israel data
    4 hours 20 minutes in - Steve Kirsch Executive director of the COVID early treatment fund
    4 hours 24 minutes in David Wiseman
    Following the submissions, the committee voted against Pfizer booster shots at 6 months for over 16 but yes for over 65 and those at risk. Based on the evidence presented it seems the more ethical thing would have been to put a temporary halt on the vaccine roll out.

    1. This is tricky. I debated about publishing your comment. You write anonymously and expect to be taken seriously and you put one side of an argument that most would strongly disagree with - based upon the bulk of the evidence. Open discussion is valuable; learning how to read research is an imperative .

    2. Dear Dr. Gawler, My apologies, I didn't realise I was posting anonymously as my email address came up on your Blog. Thank you for posting my comment despite this. I agree that open discussion is imperative and hope that these FDA vaccines advisory committee submissions get a wider audience. You may not remember but I helped promote your NZ tour in 2013. Glenn White, Freemans Bay, Auckland, New Zealand

  18. What helped me to decide is the importance of community and doing things for each other and future generations. Nobody is better than anyone else and sometimes we have to make sacrifices to make the world hopefully a better place. A population at one point in time had to trial the other amazing vaccinations we have to protect our kids from severe illnesses.
    I'm so grateful we have access to lifesaving vaccines which some, are not so lucky to get. Many people in other countries would give anything to receive a COVID-19 vaccine but are not as fortunate to have that choice. With choices come consequences always..

  19. Hi Ian,

    Just wondering if a year down the track if you feel differntly about the vaccines. There is more evidence of harm emerging and it would appear that the vaccines neither prevent you from getting Covid nor prevent transmisstion of the disease.