For those of us who work in the NHS, it’s something that divides opinions as neatly and effortlessly as Bob Dylan or Marmite. It comes around at roughly this time every year and the chatter I hear around the wards and operating theatres suggest that this year is no different. You hear snatched snippets of conversation that go like…
“Are you going to do it? I’m not sure if I should I know Adrian’s doing it but he’s a bit older than me”
“There’s no way that I’m going to do it – I don’t see the point and I’ll just feel rough afterwards.”
“The way I see it is that it’s there to help us so we may as well take the opportunity while it’s there.”
“I can’t believe you’re going to do it, why on earth would anyone want to do that to themselves?”
I’m talking, of course, about the annual flu jab. This gets offered around this time of year to all health care workers as we are deemed “at high risk” because of our exposure to sick people. There is a problem though. The flu vaccine will inevitably make you feel really rough for a couple of days. You’ll get a runny nose, a cough, achy joints – in short, you’ll feel just like you’ve got the flu. It’s not as bad as the real thing though. I remember one Christmas when I was in my mid teens and I came down with the flu really badly. It was horrible. I literally couldn’t get out of bed for a couple of days and I felt hideous for about a week.
As a result, I see things like this: actually getting the flu is far worse than feeling rough for a couple of days. If the shot in the arm helps prevent me from the misery of the virus, then I’m all for it.
Needless to say, I was at the front of the queue when the Occupational Health Department opened their doors today.