I finally got my H1N1 flu shot today. My allergist called me this morning to say that they’d gotten five — yes, just 5 — doses of the vaccine, and wanted to know if I wanted one.
The CDC has been recommending for months that anyone with chronic respiratory conditions (*cough* asthma *cough*) get both the swine flu and seasonal flu vaccines, so I asked about it the last time I was in for a check-up. The office was expecting it sometime in October. That stretched out to late October, then November, then they began to wonder if they were going to get it at all.
Distribution on this thing has been just abysmal. I mean, I got the seasonal flu shot in September. And there have been other areas of the country that got so many doses they started offering them to the general public more than a month ago, because they didn’t have enough people in high-risk groups who wanted it.
Meanwhile, H1N1 proceeded to establish itself as the main flu of the season. I wasn’t terribly enthused about the possibility of being completely wiped out for several days and quarantining myself for another week afterward…
I did research other sources, though perhaps not as thoroughly as I could have. I checked in a couple of times at my regular doctor’s office, but they were in the same boat. I checked Google Flu Shot [Edit: This was a service that let you search Google Maps for flu shot providers that had the vaccine in stock, and is no longer available.] at least once a week after it launched, though it was always either empty or full of locations marked “Temporarily out of stock.”
Actually, I’d pretty much written it off at this point, figuring the vaccine would be available sometime in, I don’t know, February or March, by which time I’d either have gotten the flu or wouldn’t be getting it this year anyway. When my phone rang I figured it had something to do with an appointment I’d rescheduled.
For the record: no noticeable side effects (so far), and hardly any pain. My shoulder hurts less than it did after the seasonal flu shot I got a few months ago, and even that didn’t hurt much (and only after a few hours). Also, there was a patient survey and information sheet that went along with it instead of the standard “I solemnly swear that I am not allergic to eggs” (they grow the vaccine in eggs) waiver.
I know most people have had a heck of a time getting access to the H1N1 shot even when they’re in the recommended group — a friend has Pulmonary Hypertension and she and some of her PH friends have had a terrible time even though they’re in a mega high risk group (she finally did get the nasal version as that’s all her doc got) — but I’m still trying to get the seasonal flu shot. My work was supposed to have it available (for free) in early November, but cancelled because whoever they were getting the shots through got stiffed. They have finally rescheduled for next week…. Distribution of both shots has left a lot to be desired this year! (Glad you’ve had no real side effects so far!)
Weird. Since I got the seasonal flu shot so early, I just figured it was covered and stopped really paying attention to it.
If they end up pushing it back again, check the Google flu shot link. It lists seasonal flu shots too, and right now it looks like there are a couple of Vons/Pavilions stores in the area (though they’re charging $30, which is a far cry from free).
I’m trying to remember whether I’ve ever had major side effects from a flu vaccine. I mean, I’ve got my suspicions about the tetanus shot (or maybe pneumovax, or maybe the other one I got at the same time), but I’ve been getting flu shots every year since i went back to Dr. Myers, and I can’t recall ever getting the “I feel like I have the flu!” reaction that some people get. Lucky, I guess. Even so, I’d rather risk one day of feeling like crap than be completely wiped out for a week, risk complications, and be contagious!