My hunt for the elusive flu shot


The media, doctors, health care officials, friends and neighbors have made it clear-people need to get flu shots this year.

I’ll admit it-I have never received a flu shot, counting on the fact that I’m fairly healthy and would most likely avoid the flu; and if I did get sick, well, I’d just deal with it.

Hindsight is the official blog of Minnesota 2020. Hindsight gives the run down on the news that jumps out at us on the issues that matter.

But this year is different. My husband and I are the proud first-time parents of an adorable three-month-old baby boy, and our pediatrician told us in no uncertain terms that we absolutely must get the seasonal flu shot, as well as the H1N1 flu shot, to protect our baby from serious illness.

Being conscientious parents who follow the advice of the doctor, we decided to get the shots. However, it hasn’t been that simple. After stopping a couple different places earlier this month only to be told they were out of flu shots or had no one who could administer the shot at the time, I decided to get more proactive. (After all, I’m hearing daily stories about why swine flu is risky for kids and feeling like I’ve got to make this happen immediately!)

I started calling pharmacies and located one that would take an appointment. We showed up Friday evening for our flu shots and found approximately 10 other folks waiting in line to get flu shots as well. The pharmacist told me that it was a good thing I had made an appointment since he was nearly out of vaccines (again) and wasn’t going to be able to vaccinate all of the people who had just showed up (even though that’s what news stories and commercials have told us to do!).

Geez, what an ordeal. Should it be this hard for people to get flu shots? If health care officials make a big push for flu vaccination, shouldn’t they be sure there are plenty of vaccines to go around? It just makes me wonder what state and local officials can do better to ensure vaccinations for everyone who wants and needs one. Can’t the U.S. and Minnesota learn from places like  Norway that there’s a better way to get organized around the threat of widespread illness?

And remember, we’re just talking about my personal hunt for the seasonal flu shot. I haven’t even begun to search for the swine flu shot. Recent stories lead me to believe that finding the swine flu vaccine could be akin to spotting a unicorn in the forest.

But, we’ll start searching because that’s what we’ve been told to do, and this new parent now understands that you’ll go to great lengths to keep your child safe.

Let’s just hope I can find that swine flu shot soon. The snow is here. We’ve skipped fall. And that means the flu season is officially upon us.