Got my flu shot — both of them actually. Ouch.

October 28, 2009

I have asthma. It’s well controlled and not a huge problem for me, but all the same, it’s a chronic condition. So every year I (and all my family) qualify for a free seasonal flu shot. So every year I get one.

This year, I had to decide whether to add the H1N1 flu shot. There’s been so much press about H1N1, and everyone and their sports team has advice on how not to catch it. So I was planning to get the shot. And then I heard a tv interview that almost changed my mind.

You know how in BC we are so fond of hearing what the average man-on-the-street has to say about anything. Never mind the experts, we want public opinion. On everything! Anyhow, a tv news clip showed a mother saying she thought her kids would be better off getting H1N1, as it’s been mostly mild when it hits, and that way her kids would build natural resistance to it. Just like chicken pox.

I had chicken pox as a kid. Most of us did. But our kids now get a vaccine to prevent it instead. Remember chicken pox parties, where a group of kids would play together to catch chicken pox from the sick kid so everyone could get it over with? But now we don’t let kids get it anymore.

My kids had the chicken pox vaccine. And it always kind of bothered me that they didn’t develop a natural resistance to it. What if the vaccine isn’t effective for 50 years? We don’t know, since it hasn’t been around that long. Will my boys be susceptible to chicken box in half a decade?

So I thought again about whether the H1N1 vaccine was a good idea. And then I heard about the healthy 13-year-old boy in Ontario who died this week of H1N1. And I realized that every health official in the continent was telling me to get the vaccine.

So I got it. Because of my ashtma, I qualified in the first round, so I made an appointment at my doctor’s office and got both shots yesterday. Yes, I hate shots, and yes, I cried out (and nearly squeezed my son’s hand to pain!), but I got them both yesterday, one in each arm. And when my family qualifies in two weeks, they’ll get them too.

Will you get the shot?