Thursday, 22 October 2009

Piggy shot

I've been undecided about the H1N1-vaccine all summer and autumn, but sometime last weekend I decided I want to take it.

The reasons are multiple and complicated, but I will try to sum them up here, in no particular order, since I have been asked about my decision and gotten very varied responses to the decision.

It surprises me that people are so ambivalent to a vaccine. It is based on the same vaccine used for the yearly flu, there is not much new about it in that sense. The differences from a regular flu has been blown up in media but most importantly it is likely to be an illness alot, ALOT, of people get if it does start to spread for real. It isn't necessarily bad compared to the regular flu (most people find it a milder variation), but you know that time of year when it seems everyone you know has the flu? This is going to hit more people than that. Means its a bigger chance you get it yourself.

So, my reasons.
- I just can't afford to be ill. With the current Swedish system I lose all pay for the first sickday and thereafter 20%. If I get away mildly that is a weeks absence and the equivalent of two full days salary. Alot of money to me. I already was ill one time this autumn (bit over a week), I haven't seen the paycheck yet but I can openly admit I feel some trepidation.
- I have asthma. A regular flu is likely to knock me out for not just for one, but two or three weeks with various breathing problems or lung-related side infections. This one has been harder on the respiratory systems of those with similar problems.
- I was kindly informed by the nurse that my arthritis goes into the same category as HIV and cancer in this case: An autoimmune disease that makes me more likely to get severe problems and side infections if I get ill. So in the risk category two times.
- The side effects are about the same as the regular flu shot every year. I've gotten that once with no ill effects, on the contrary, I am very glad I got it because it changed my life. One winter without flu gave my immune system time to recover so that by next winter it could fight the battle, and I have been much healthier overall since that, not getting knocked out completely by colds/flus 5-10 times a year. So I figure I am not likely to suffer anything much worse by this. And afterall, it is free (for the stockholm residents anyway) so I am not losing anything on it.

And then there are the oft-repeated argument: If as large a part as possible of the population gets the shot the virus wont be able to spread and it will protect alot of people. It will also mean fewer of your coworkers get ill and your workburden won't increase to cover their absence.

I was down at the HC anyway for a cancer screening monday, and it happened to coincide with the drop in hours for getting the vaccine (right now only health personell and the risk groups are getting the shot, VIP in the line so to say). But the waiting room was so overfilled with people wanting the shot that I couldn't stand it - and not waiting for what would probably be hours either - so I went home. Then I, typical of me, forgot all about it until wednesday night. So I checked the opening hours for the rest of the week - thursday morning, thursday afternoon and friday morning. I tried for this morning but failed miserably due to being frozen and tired from not getting enough sleep due to waking up from shivering under my duvet (need an extra heat source...). After lunch I was down there shortly after they opened again - and right about time too, I got the 6th to last dose they had! They won't get refills until end of next week, and apparently they are out all over stockholm. Talk about luck.

So dose 1 gotten, the second dose to be gotten end of november.

Side effects? Yes, but I am not sure what is arthritis acting up because of me being chilled and what is due to the shot. What I know is due to the shot is a muscle knot around where they stuck the needle in my arm which feels like a bad bruise if I accidentally bump it against something.

But yes, I really, really, really want to get warm and Linus just isn't big enough to do much for heating up my bed. He is freezing too.


  1. Smart move from you. Some doctors have been critizing the way the media handles just the side effects of the H1N1-shot, instead of really digging in that it will help a lot in many ways and is necessary for those in the risk group.

    I won't be able to get it, since I'm a drop out of all of the risk groups, and I should be just brave enough to stand the flu if hits me :)

  2. I had the same side effects from this as I had from the regular flu shot: Stiff biceps for a couple of days (like a bruise in the muscle). Nothing deadly and though it made me say "ow" a few times I've been worse off from like.. walking into doors or knocking into my table.

    Getting the second shot end of november, need to let appr 3 weeks pass inbetween.


Be nice!