Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Got the H1N1 Vaccine

"We do not currently have the H1N1 influenza vaccine. If you are calling about another matter please remain on the line for a scheduler."

"Has anyone found the H1N1 vaccine anywhere?"

That's the message on our pediatrician's phone line and the question that has been asked dozens of times already on our local parent listserv, respectively.

Everywhere I turn people are asking about and looking for the H1N1 vaccine. A few months ago, I was on the fence about getting the vaccine for myself and my 3 year old son. Because I'm pregnant and he's young, we're both in priority groups. I'm not sure exactly what changed between then and now but I recently decided that we both should definitely be vaccinated.

Maybe it's because between the CDC, the media and my doctors, it seemed like everyone was telling us to get the vaccine. The problem was that it was no where to be found!

I've been calling our pediatrician, my OB and my other specialist weekly. The answer is the same each place: we are hoping to get it in a few weeks. The word on the street listserv is that our county health system has it and you can call to make an appointment. Unfortunately that appointment line has been busy each of the at-least five times per day that I've called over the past week.

So how did we get vaccinated? Surprisingly, through the DC government.

I say surprisingly because, as a DC resident for almost a decade before moving to the inner Maryland 'burbs, I've endured my fair share of DC bureaucratic frustration. The DC DMV? Don't even get me started.

But in this case, they really pulled through. H1N1 vaccination clinics are taking place in each Ward of the city for priority groups. That includes those ages 6 months through 24 years old, pregnant women, health care providers, caretakers of infants younger than 6 months, and people with underlying medical conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

I decided to give it a shot (pun intended!) and prepared for the clinic like I was going to war. We had an iPod filled with kid-friendly music and shows. We had books, stickers, crayons and paper. We had rain gear and extra layers (in case the line was outside) and plenty of snacks.

We arrived at a clinic at a middle school in Ward 6 about 15 minutes before it opened and were numbers 36 and 37 in line. It was run in a professional and efficient manner and we were out within an hour. I truly was impressed. Kudos to Washington, DC and the Red Cross.

Now, maybe, just maybe, I'll let up on the hand sanitizer. (But probably not.)

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee Olivo isn't stalking health care professionals to track down the H1N1 vaccine, she's writing at Smiling Mama and Out by Ten.

Stimey said...
Good for you for getting the vaccine. I can't find it in Montgomery County anywhere. But it's really important. My 38-year-old healthy sister was just hospitalized for complications from H1N1 and it was really scary. It caused her blood pressure to drop so much she was unresponsive for a while. And she's not a high risk group.

Get the shots if you can find 'em, people!

Aimee Olivo said in reply to Stimey...
Stimey - if you can make it into DC sometime soon week, I highly recommend it. Their clinics are very well run and residency does not matter. The lines seem to be shortest in the NE and SE. Good luck and I hope your sister is doing a lot better!!

ShallowGal said...
I took my 4 year old on Friday to a Fairfax county clinic. We arrived 15 minutes before it started and got number 193. We waited outside for 4 hours.

I'm not sure I would have bothered but we're headed to Central America and I don't want to end up in a foreign ER.

annie said...
We didn't have the vaccine in the area until last Monday and I didn't even know about the first clinic until someone told me about it while my daughter was at dance class. I was on the fence. Didn't go to the Thursday clinic because the lines were hours long and if you didn't get there before 4PM, you wouldn't be seen anyway. As it turned out, she has been sick since mid week anyway and now I am pretty sure she, me and my husband have it.

The clinics in our province are not being run well and we are being told that they will be out before this week is too far gone anyway. The schools in our town have teetered on closing a couple of times in the last two weeks. By the time there is enough vaccine or access to it, the fat lady will have sung and left the building.
Reply November 01, 2009 at 09:17 AM Aimee Olivo said in reply to annie...
Annie -- hope you all feel better soon! News reports around here seem to indicate that the supply will increase in the next week or so. I hope that's the case for you as well.

BananaBlueberry said...
Good for you!!!!!
stay well :)

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

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