Getting Your Flu Vaccine in a Developing Nation

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For one medical reason or another I landed in two hospitals in one day. Something about transferring my files from one family doctor to another.

In the first health institution I hardly had time to sit down before a nurse with a trolley full of vaccines rolled up beside me like she was selling popcorn at the stadium.

“Do you want your flu shot?” she asked with a smile.

I hadn’t really thought about getting a flu shot this year or any other year, but it’s a funny thing when something is offered to you on a platter. I pondered the option for a moment.

“No thanks, I’m fine.”

Shortly thereafter I was back on the streets with a doctor’s file in hand.  Onwards I traveled to the next family health clinic situated in the fine establishment of Mount Sinai Hospital.

After checking in, I waited patiently for the doctor to call my name.  It was only a short ten minutes before I walked down the florescent hallway towards a clinical office.

The young doctor didn’t even close the door before offering up my second vaccine of the day. “Have you had your flu shot yet?” she asked with a friendly smile.

Funny you should ask…

After a few moments of deliberation, I took the kind doctor up on her offer. If you keep asking me the same damn question, I’m going to say yes.  The shot was administered and I left with nothing but a sore arm as a reminder to be grateful for Canada’s health care system.

In developing nations, vaccines are too expensive for the majority of people and not readily available.  The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has focused on inoculations as a means of saving children from a death that is otherwise preventable.  The foundation is working primarily to eradicate polio and malaria in areas where the latter still infects 250 million people.  In these countries, people have to beg for their life.

Whereas for me, today, I had to bat the vaccine away.  A healthy reminder about life and luck.  I was born in Canada, the land where they beg you to get vaccinated.

Karen Shaw
Karen Shaw is known to be a hyper-active, hyper-critical creative wanderer. Working as a writer, director and producer, she dropped it all for a year of volunteer work and documentary filmmaking in Nigeria. Her blog captures her tales from around the globe and back again and focuses on that curious, interesting, unexplainable, questionable, magical, remarkable, fantastical, disturbing, enticing, or dubious thing that happens when you travel and you ask yourself... WHY MONKEY?
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