Finally Finding Flublok

I often spend way too much time making decisions on matters that shouldn’t require nearly as much time.

I’ve spent weeks, months, and in this case, years doing research online, talking to people, and in general, postponing the decision for usually no valid reason.

The case in point here is whether or not I should get a flu shot. Until today, I’ve never gotten one. I’ve also been fortunate to have never gotten the flu for as long as I can remember. I’ve always felt that your own body is the best defense mechanism against such an illness, and if I did get it, it would just make me tougher for the next time the flu came around.

Fully immersing myself in the world of confirmation bias, I would just search for articles that supported my point of view. Another big part of the reason for never having gotten the flu shot was the fact that I am vegan, and there really is not a true vegan flu shot.

Combining all of the above, and the result is that I always made a conscious decision not to get the flu shot.

Despite my decision to not get a flu shot, I have always been a firm believer in the importance of vaccines for children. Some people might call this a case of cognitive dissonance, a state of mind where you hold two inconsistent thoughts, but I was OK with the apparent discrepancy.

But then I started reading about how people who do not get a flu shot are putting the community at risk because if you were to get the flu as a result of not having been vaccinated, then you could spread the flu to others. At that point, I realized I didn’t want to put the health of others at risk as a result of my own (admittedly less than scientific) beliefs.

So a couple of weeks ago I finally made a commitment to get the flu shot, but as usual, not before doing some research. I wanted to see if there were any vaccines that may have been more veganish than others, and that is how I came across Flublok.

According to the CDC, Flublok Quadrivalent is a quadrivalent recombinant influenza vaccine that has been licensed by the FDA for use in adults 18 years and older. A recombinant flu vaccine is produced using a method does not require an egg-grown vaccine virus and does not use chicken eggs in the production process. Currently, recombinant flu vaccine is the only egg-free vaccine on the U.S. market.

So it was decided, I would get the Flublok vaccine.

But then that’s where the difficulty began; trying to find a place that carried it.

I called multiple CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens pharmacies; none of them carried it. Same thing with a couple of hospitals and urgent care centers. I even called the company that made the vaccine, Sanofi Pasteur. When I asked if they could help locate a place near me that might carry the vaccine, it turned out the rep was using the same online locator tool (http://www.fluzone.com/locator-map.cfm) I had been using to try and find the vaccine, but with no luck.

So then I decided to call one of the doctor’s offices listed on the website, and it turned out that the office did have Flublok, but I had to be a patient of that office, which I was not. I was somewhat taken aback by their policy not to give the flu shot to someone who wanted to get one.

So I kept calling places that allegedly had the vaccine and finally found the Health Center at Haverford College. When I explained the reason for my call but that I was not a member of the Haverford College community, the woman on the phone put me on hold for a few seconds and then came back on said it would not be a problem.

I quickly got in my car and drove the 10 minutes to Haverford to make sure I got there before they ran out of the vaccine, and before I knew it my decade plus-long decision to never get a flu shot was over.

I’m sure most people have not put nearly as much thought into getting a flu shot as I have. Perhaps you knew up front that it was the right thing to do and just did it.

Well now I’m happy to be part of that community; I just hope I won’t have to test its effectiveness.

Thank you Sanofi Pasteur and thank you Haverford College for being part of my decision-making process.

Now that I’ve made that decision, I can spend more time deciding what my next pair of jeans should be.

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