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Swine Flu Shot Guilt

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I got my swine flu shot today. That's right. I got it. I GOT IT!!

woman getting swine flu vaccine class=

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.

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous November 13, 2009, 9:56 AM

I don’t feel guilty for NOT getting the vaccine. I have a newborn at home and I don’t even want to get the regular flu vaccine. I have an over active immune system and I know I’ll get sick like crazy and not from the virus but rather an immune response from the vaccine itself. It get the worst chills and fever and body pain. No thanks.

kdblya November 13, 2009, 12:48 PM

My daughter’s 1 and she got one of the few her pediatrician’s office had (after all the patients with chronic problems were treated). My son is nearly 5, and he did not. I feel guilty that I haven’t fought harder for him to get the vaccine. I did have to make a special call so my daughter could get it. But I also understand that other babies need to get it before my son does.

Kendra November 13, 2009, 9:13 PM

Myself and my 2 sons, ages 3 and 6 will both be getting the H1N1 vaccine tommorow morning. I do notin any way feel guilty about getting the vaccine! I have waited months for this vaccine and I’am not going to let guilt play a factor in the fact that I’m getting the vaccine. I do not feel that there is anything to be guilty about. I have diabetes and asthma therefore I feel that it is absolutely neccesary for me to get the vaccine. My sons both attend school and both have severe allergies and asthma, I feel it is also neccessary for them to both receive the vaccine.Contracting the flu for any of us would be a death sentence! Bottom line the vaccine is only avaliable to those persons who absolutely need it, so why the guilt? If you do not need the vaccine then there is no chance of you getting it anyway! I just don’t understand why someone who needs the vaccine would feel guilty about getting it? It is what it is! If you need the vaccine and it is avaliable to you get it and do not feel guilty about it!

Jillian November 14, 2009, 1:47 PM

My daughter could have gotten the vaccine but I didn’t want her to. Her doctor said she saw very few cases and non of those were bad. Mostly parents overreating to the media.

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