Our hospital, along with probably every other UK NHS hospital, is offering free influenza vaccines to all the staff. An email came round on the system instructing everyone who wanted to get a jab to attend at the main canteen every day at 12.45 until the end of October.
I have a sluggish immune system because of all the radiotherapy I’ve had, and I suffer more than most if I catch a cold or ‘flu. However, the thought of voluntarily introducing germs into my body fills me with horror. Last year’s vaccine didn’t match the strain of ‘flu at the time anyway, and so I have decided to give any ‘flu vaccination a wide berth and take my chances with oranges and Echinacea.
My friend Anne decided to go over to the canteen at lunchtime and get her jab. She, like me, is not on the permanent staff because back in 2014 we had both taken early retirement, thinking at the time that because of health issues we would not be returning to work. But hey, we made a miraculous recovery and now work when we want to, which suits us both fine. Anne is 67 and wanted to be vaccinated because her husband also has a sluggish immune system due to cancer treatment.
Anne was soon back in the office looking slightly disgruntled, and told me that when she got to the front of the queue she was sent away because she was too old! Granted there are not that many over 65s still working in the NHS, but I feel that as Anne is still technically working there she should have been given the vaccination. She was told to see her GP instead, and I know that GPs give out free vaccinations to pensioners, but Anne was still humiliated in front of her colleagues.
Why is the NHS so ageist about vaccinations? Anne is made of strong stuff and I know she wouldn’t have conked out after having a jab. One work colleague who is much younger vomits and faints at the sight of a needle, but Anne I know would grit her teeth and endure the few seconds of pain without turning a hair.
Now I know I only have 4 more years in which to have the ‘flu jab at work, if I want it. Hmm… I don’t think I do. What about you? Would you have a ‘flu jab this autumn?