H1 anyone?

Cati and Nina attempted to get H1N1 vaccinations on Tuesday, October 27, 2009 and had no success.  Cati waited in line, outside, in the Michigan cold, for three hours and it became increasingly clear that it wasn’t going to happen for her or about 700 others.  Cati was among 1700 people who showed up (even more tried to get in line, but they were turned away unless they were pregnant or had children) for 1000 available shots.  It was a poorly planned and managed event.  LONG story short, Cati and Nina left hungry, cranky, cold, and dejected– without either having received the vaccination. 

We think that getting the vaccination is important, not to avoid imminent doom or anything; rather to protect Nina, Cati, and Fetus (Yep, Cati is pregnant.  Nope, that’s not what we plan to name him/her).  Sure, we’re concerned about how women and children seem to be at greater risk of severe illness from H1N1.  Plus, to a lesser extent, there is an element of community stewardship involved– y’know, kinda like giving blood.  We’d like to do our part to limit the proliferation of the H1N1 virus by eliminating ourselves as vectors.  I don’t qualify to receive the vaccination as a healthy adult male, but if more were available, I’d get it (I usually get the regular flu vaccination as well).  Everyone who has not been vaccinated benefits from the fact that the spread of the virus is curtailed by those who have.  

As parents of a toddler, we’ve thought (and read) a lot about vaccination in general.  I disagree with parents who are opposed to vaccinating their children.  The risks associated with vaccinations are minuscule compared to the benefits.  Heck, we put our children in far greater danger everytime we strap them into their car seats for a drive.  Most anti-vaccination folks are operating on fear and anecdotal tales of how vaccinations cause autism, for example.  There is no data to support their claims (and researchers have looked).  Now, some people are of the opinion that it’s their child, and therefore their choice to vaccinate or not, but it’s not that simple.  If their children live in a bubble, great; if not, they are putting many others at risk and helping viruses flourish.  How’s that saying go?  “In God we trust– everyone else, bring data.” 

Anyway, preparing for the worst, Cati tried again.  This time she went 2.5 hours prior to the clinic opening.  She brought food, a lawn chair, a book, and a thick winter coat.  Nina waited at home with me.  This time the vaccines were administered at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center in Ypsilanti on November 5, 2009.  And you know what?  It went really well.  Organizers gave color-coded wristbands to those who showed up.  These served as a guarantee for a vaccination, as they only issued as many wristbands as they had shots.  The color indicated at what time people should return so they didn’t have to wait in line all day.  This eliminated the chance that someone might wait for hours and still be turned away.  For those whose time was within a few hours of arriving and chose to wait in line, the facility was big enough to accomodate them indoors, rather than out in the cold.  Between October 27 and November 5, someone got their shi- stuff together.  When Cati arrived near the front of the line, she secured wristbands for herself and Nina.  Later she called me; I brought Nina (and 20 cups of coffee from Biggby for our fellow Michiganders).  Hey, if you are going to jump in front of throngs of screaming babies and exhausted parents, the least you can do is bring coffee, right? 

It went really well.  Cati and Nina received their vaccinations in a timely and efficient manner.  As a critic of, well, pretty-much everyting, I was delighted and proud of how well it was handled.  It’s a rare day when one can say his taxes are being put to good use. 

Here are a few pics of the ordeal.

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3 (2)

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Interestingly, Nina made the local news too.  She makes her grand dramatic debut at 0:25 in the video below– and what a debut IT IS!   Turn your speakers’ volume WAY UP for the full effect– I dare you.  

5 Responses to “H1 anyone?”

  1. amymengel says:

    Congrats, guys! (On the new baby. Not the flu shot. Although from this post it seems as though congrats are in order for making it through that process, too.)

  2. Gina says:

    Awww poor Nina! I know how it feels. I hate needles too (though I don’t cry quite that hard anymore). Glad they got the shot.

  3. Lydia says:

    Why is it that a grandmother absolutely hates to see her grandbabies cry? It always breaks my heart no matter which one of my babies hurts. Love that little face examining something so intently. What a little angel!!!!!! Even when she screams.

  4. John & Rebecca says:

    Congratulations on #2!!! That’s what we called James until we knew he was James. John said in a Dr. Evil voice, “we shall call him number two”. Not sure if that’s better than fetus.

    Anyway, glad the shot thing finally worked out. What an ordeal. Poor Nina. I hate when they have to get shots.

  5. denise says:

    congrats on the new fetus!