The (Second) Easiest Flu Shot Ever

Since I was diagnosed with asthma in 2008, I’ve gotten a flu shot every year as recommended. My first flu shot season was, ridiculously, 2009, the year that H1N1 had the world freaking out. As someone who was high risk—and new to the high risk category—I was encouraged regularly to get a flu shot by my medical team, and I wanted to. However, because the world was freaking out about H1N1, non-high risk people flocked to the high risk clinics. Doctors offices weren’t even given flu shots to provide patients for some ridiculous reason, and being in my first year of university, I didn’t have time to wait two hours at the nearest clinic to campus.

Fortunately, flu shots have been much less chaotic since 2009. As a benefit of Manitoba Health, I, and other Manitobans, can receive a flu shot for free every year. I have gone to clinics on campus (which had Girl Guide cookies, the Canadian equivalent to Girl Scout cookies—score!), in the casino near my house (seriously), at my doctor’s office, and, more recently, my flu shot came to me via my Sport Medicine doctor, AKA, the father of one of my Special Olympics athletes.
Alas, that athlete has aged out of my program, meaning I was on my own to find a flu shot again this year—I mean, I could’ve gone to see said doctor in clinic, but hey, he said he can’t fix my wonky knee anyway ;).

To find a flu shot...

For most of us, there’s a flu shot around every corner. I’ve never been given one at the pharmacy, although that’s been an option. I don’t want to make an appointment with my doctor because, my goodness, every three months to primary care is enough anyways and those always fall at the wrong time. And public clinics are a great option, but the masses of potentially germy people—like at a doctors office (or on public transit!)—make me a tad uneasy. Why expose my slightly immunocompromised self to illness if I don’t have to? So, flu shots become a bit more contemplation for those of us with asthma and other chronic illnesses!

This year, before flu shots were even publicly announced as being available in the province, I got an e-mail from my supervisor. My work situation as a respite care provider/disability support worker means I have met my supervisor only three times, and mostly check in with her by e-mail (and when I got injured at work, oops, by phone and in person). On occasion, she sends me e-mails with very useful information—this is why you should read ALL work e-mails, even if they are usually irrelevant to your job with a six-year-old in his house, because no, you do not need free baseball tickets.
This time, though, on October 2nd, I got an e-mail called “Flu Shots Available”.

The most secret flu-shot clinic ever

The PDF attached to the e-mail said there would be a clinic a mere ten minute walk from my house two days later. What sort of magic is this? I thought, as I realized that I could go for a flu shot at 10:30 AM, and surely be out in enough time to get poutine next door, and possibly a Slurpee practically next door in the opposite direction.

I walked to the clinic, leaving around 10:45, ensuring my work ID card was tucked into my wallet alongside my Manitoba Health card—I didn’t wind up needing either, really, as I ended up filling out my own form and could’ve used the copy of my health card that is stored in my iPhone, but sometimes they want to see it. I entered the clinic at 10:55, checked in at the main desk, saying I was there for the flu shot clinic. They asked if I was staff, and what department I was from (I am sort of “staff”, in a very casual sort of way!). I got lead into an Authorized Personnel Only area, where a nurse was with one other woman getting her flu shot.
I was out of there in 5 minutes give-or-take. It took longer to get the forms done than it did to have the shot given, and I legitimately didn’t feel the shot this time. And, they didn’t even make me wait around to ensure I didn’t die or whatever.
I weaved my way out of Authorized Personnel Land, and had a Slurpee in my hand at 11:09 AM. It felt a bit early for poutine however—probably a healthier choice to just overload on sugar, rather than sugar and fat. 😉

We don’t have those drive-thru flu shot clinics I’ve heard about elsewhere around here (service as part of a business model is not a huge factor in healthcare in a not-for-profit type system). But I’ve gotten pretty darn lucky in their absence. 😉  Well, and I don’t drive, which complicates a drive-thru method anyways. Two days later, they started publicly promoting the flu shot’s availability.

I guess sometimes it’s who you work for—or who you know ;).

Do you get a flu shot every year? How do you make it most convenient where you live?

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