I got my swine flu shot today. That's right. I got it. I GOT IT!!
Dr. Nina Shapiro: I felt like I was a crack addict waiting in line for crack, Charlie Bucket who found that last golden Wonka ticket, Slumdog Millionaire. Although I am a "high-risk" health care worker, I actually feel a little guilty. Getting the shot (for those who seek it) has become the holy grail of immunizations. It has raised vaccination controversy to a new level, and has put friends, families, doctors, and coworkers at odds.
The scarcity of availability and fear (well-founded fear) of developing life-threatening complications from swine flu has put us in panic mode. My kids' pediatrician gets no less than 50 calls per day from parents asking for the shot for their kids. People are actually angry with her if the answer is no. They feel betrayed, not "prioritized," neglected, hurt. She has so few available doses that she hasn't even given it to her own daughters, sticking to her ethics that the truly high-risk pediatric population should be first in line. SO PARENTS ARE ANGRY WITH HER?? Come on.
My kids haven't gotten it. Am I worried? Of course. Angry? I am angry that this virus exists, I am angry that people send their kids to school with a fever, but angry at her? No. But I do feel guilty. What if my kid gets swine flu, but I was immunized? What if I find one extra vaccine? Which of my two kids would I give it to? This is the "Sophie's Choice" of flu shots. My mother, who lives 3,000 miles away, actually felt guilty because she had gotten the swine flu shot when I hadn't. I couldn't understand the absurdity of her feeling guilty for getting the shot. Until I got mine.
|Dr. Nina Shapiro is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, and she completed her residency in ear, nose, and throat surgery at Harvard. She is an Associate Professor and Director of Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat at the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. She has treated tens of thousands of children with ear problems, sleep problems, and breathing problems. She lives with her husband and two young children in Los Angeles.|