Monday, November 16, 2009

3 weeks after the H1N1 vaccine and all is well

As of tomorrow it will have been 3 weeks since I received the H1N1 shot, and I'm happy to report that all is well. I haven't blogged in a while, but that had nothing to do with getting the vaccine, the only side effect I experienced was a sore right arm.

In earlier entries I'd expressed doubts about the need for the vaccine, which may have regular readers of this space wondering...'Why the change'?

Allow me to explain.

My ex-wife and I had discussed whether or not to vaccinate our two children. Given their excellent health we didn't think it was necessary and were going to take a pass. That all changed with the news of Evan Frustaglio death from the virus, the 13 year old hockey player from Mississauga.

I can't even begin to imagine the pain and anguish associated with the passing of a son or daughter, but I know that this one child's passing had a tremendous impact on parents all over the country. Because the vaccine wasn't available when Evan fell ill, his parents never had the opportunity to have him immunized. For my ex and I, we had a decision to make.

Buddy and Raspberry's Mom called our family doctor and she was told there would be a clinic at the Pickering Town Centre that Tuesday evening, October 27th . Tuesdays are one of my days to pick up the kids and give them dinner, so she called me and said the clinic would be open from 4 PM to 8 PM that evening. Our discussion didn't last long, while we agreed it was unlikely that either would get seriously ill from swine-flu, it wasn't a chance either of us was willing to take.

As far as I'm aware that was the very first date public clinics were being opened, and there was no talk yet of shortages or priority lists. Given that we would be having the kids roll up their sleeves, it only seemed fair that Mom and Dad should do likewise. We couldn't very well tell the kids that they had to endure a needle, but that Mom and Dad wouldn't be doing likewise.

Given the amount of skepticism about the need for the shot I didn't anticipate a huge response, so I asked Mom to pick us up around 6 that evening, after dinner. Boy was I wrong! When we arrived the line snaked all the way around the large food court, and had been cut off at the two hour wait point. We were directed to an overflow line, and we were told that someone would let us know whether or not the clinic would be extended.

Ultimately the clinic stayed open until 10 PM and we were told that everyone currently in line would be seen, and that's how long it took. In point of fact it was probably about 10:15 before we'd all received our shot, short and almost totally painless...even according to a 5 and 10 year old.

Of course if we'd known there were going to be shortages of the vaccine my ex and I would have taken a pass, but I'm confident we still would have had the kids vaccinated. For those still wavering on a decision I can tell you that all of us are fine, nothing to report aside from the aforementioned sore arms.

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