flu shotIt’s official: the CDC has declared an epidemic in the 2013 flu season. 7.3% of all deaths last week were attributed to pneumonia as a result of flu. And as alinsertways, Americans are advised that the best defense against the virus is to get a flu shot. ¬†Flu vaccines no longer require a special trip to the doctor: here in Southern California, they’ve been advertised widely at all the major drug store chains; even the pharmacy inside our local Ralph’s, so getting one is super-convenient.

And Obamacare gives you one less excuse: If you have insurance, you may be able to obtain your vaccine for free, as they are now covered by most plans with NO co-pay.

The one excuse I don’t use any more is that I’m afraid it will hurt. This one was debunked for me a few years ago, as you can see from this video:

I knew all of this. So why did I wait until this week to get mine? The usual reasons: I’m too busy. I’m too lazy. It will still be there next week…

… which were all valid excuses until the news media finally started reporting how bad this flu season was starting to look. I’m not sure why it took until THIS WEEK to hear those stories, but soon after that, the reports also mentioned that the vaccine supplies were starting to run low.

And THAT’s what got me off my butt and into the nearest Rite-Aid during a lunch break on Thursday — and not a moment too soon.

“Joe – do we have any FluZone back there?” the pharmacy clerk shouted at her co-workers.

They had three doses left.

“We’ve had them for five months, but all of a sudden, everyone wants one. We ran out a couple of days ago and had to get more from another store,” she said.

This did not bode well for my plan to get my daughter vaccinated after school.

“Call us ahead of time,” I was advised.

I was too lazy to do that. I had my kid captive in the car and whisked her off to the shopping center at Porter Ranch before she could complain that she had too much homework. She’s good at making the “I’m too busy” excuse, too.

Our first stop was the aforementioned pharmacy at Ralph’s. They were all out.

So we hit the CVS store next door, and they had plenty of vaccines. The only problem was, they were not one of the providers that are contracted with our insurance plan. I did not want to spend the afternoon hunting for a covered vaccine and did not want to risk going another day without getting some protection for my daughter, who told me some of the kids in her class had already contracted flu. The cost of the shot was $36. That is money well spent to avoid the misery and expense of getting sick. I paid for the shot.

Then I called my husband and advised him to get one too, before it was too late. He got his on his lunch hour yesterday.

I realize that our vaccinations are no guarantee that we will avoid coming down with the flu. It takes two weeks for your body to develop enough antibodies to effectively fight an infection. Plus, this year’s vaccine is only 62% effective. But if we do come down with influenza, the vaccination may result in symptoms that aren’t as bad. And a 62% chance of immunity is better than none.

On top of that, by getting the vaccine and NOT getting sick, you can help keep the epidemic from getting worse.

Do it. Now.

DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation for this post, nor do I have any business relationship with the companies or brands listed in this post. The embedded video was shot four years ago. At that time, I received a free flu shot from CVS. No other compensation was given me.


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