Did Vaccinations Trigger My Fibromyalgia?

I recently found a list of triggers for fibromyalgia. Vaccinations was on the list and the only one that fit my timeline.

Because I was preparing for a trip to Bosnia, with a family who’d come to Iowa as refugees of their war, I began vaccinations early in order to have all three Hepatitis B vaccinations spaced as suggested. Because we would be in rural areas, with homes destroyed in the war, a typhoid shot was recommended.

So between June of 2000 and January of 2021, I had nine vaccinations. (I didn’t get the pneumonia shot until November of 2021.)

Joy, Samir, Adis (not quite 2), Zlatka (with another baby due in October), and Dzenaela (age 5). Near Skokovi, Bosnia, June 2001


I may have begun to have symptoms while in Bosnia, in June of 2001, sometimes going to bed early from exhaustion. But we were in a mountainous area so I figured that was why.

When we returned home, I went downhill quickly, having a puzzling and difficult summer. That August I also endured a bout of shingles. I was 56 years old.

It’s amazing that people I’ve met since that time have never known me as a well person. In spite of working with various medical people over the years, nothing has helped. I’ve lived with unwellness a quarter of my life! I’m so thankful for my husband (Guy) who has graciously seen me through all these years, giving up traveling and things he’d enjoy because I can no longer take part.

Symptoms: All-over pain (bones, muscles, joints), exhaustion (during the worst days, taking a shower was a huge undertaking), and brain fog. I’m so thankful the brain fog lifted enough a few years ago so I could write again! This last year has been challenging, but I’m not giving up.

I wanted to link the site where vaccinations was listed as a trigger, but so far I haven’t located it again.



  1. This is a very scary thought…you did have a lot of vaccinations in a short period of time, and shortly thereafter, your trouble began. I am so sorry for the suffering that you have endured. My prayers are with you. I am so glad that you returned to writing, despite your health difficulties. The world needs your stories! 🙂 You are a blessing to all of us who read your blog…thank you for persevering and not giving up.

  2. As someone who is not a medical professional, I believe that that vaccines can be a trigger for autoimmune diseases. They mess with your immune system, so why not? I’m sorry you have to deal with Fibromyalgia. You’ve certainly taken the bull by the horns and wrestled it down so you can work! Thank you for sharing how you deal with your challenges. Your courage is heartening. God bless you, Joy. 🙂

    • Bless you, Nancy. I guess I do take advantage of the minutes I feel sorta “normal,” working on book four today! Thankful and humbled even in misery.

  3. I had no idea you suffered from this disorder, Joy. I am so sorry. You are an inspiration, fighting against the symptoms and not giving up, disciplining yourself to write when it would undoubtedly be easier not to. I agree with Linda above: the world needs your stories!

    • Thank you, Nancy! Your comment came at just the right time, as brain fog is making the next manuscript more difficult. I did make headway yesterday, though, and I’m not giving up!

  4. I’m sorry to hear of your suffering, Joy, and I don’t know about the vaccinations. But I have 2 friends who have fibromyalgia and they’ve said that sugar is a trigger for the pain, so their diets include very little sugar. That’s all I know, but maybe this will help. It’s wonderful that your husband supports you too, and I’m glad you’re able to write.
    Take good care, and I hope your health improves soon. ❤️

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