One of the nice things about this practicum is that when flu season comes around, all employees, volunteers, and interns receive free flu vaccines. Unfortunately, everytime I have tried to get vaccinated in the past three weeks the hospital has been completely out. This is despite the fact that social workers are on the priority list to receive them.
Today, my supervisor called the employee health office and was told that the vaccine was available. However, it was FluMist, the nasal spray. My supervisor was wary about getting this vaccine because unlike the normal flu shot, the nasal spray uses a weakened virus as opposed to a dead one. She decided to wait until the normal shot was available, and said that it was up to me if I wanted to get the FluMist vaccine.
After reading more information about FluMist on the CDC website and looking at numerous news articles, I was still undecided over whether to take the spray. There seemed to be a number of conflicting reports regarding its effectiveness compared to the regular shot. I then decided to call my mom, a nurse, who proceeded to talk to her co-workers and a nurse practitioner. They all agreed that I should be okay, but to be aware that I may have some side effects. Given my luck with getting the flu vaccine these past few weeks, I decided to just get it over with already. For me, a moderate amount of protection is certainly better than no protection at all.
During my lunch break, I drove over to the employee health clinic and the nurse sprayed both my nostrils with FluMist. Since I was between the ages of 2-49, not pregnant, and without chronic health conditions I qualified for the spray. It was an extremely painless process, and I recall no unpleasant taste of smell. It was also a quick process, as I was in and out of the office in less than five minutes. So far I have had so side-effects, but those might not show up for a few hours. If all goes well, I would recommend FluMist as a way to protect oneself against the seasonal flu without the pain of needles.