Living with Multiple Myeloma: Today I got my flu shot

Getting my flu shotGetting my flu shot

Anyone affiliated with UBC (staff, faculty, student) has the opportunity to get a free flu shot on campus during the month of November. The Influenza Immunization Program is organised by the Risk Management Program and all that is required is that you register ahead of time, although if space allowed, there can be dropins. This is especially important to me, as I have a reduced immune system due to my Multiple Myeloma. Each Fall (read my blogpost from last year) on the recommendation of my Cancer Specialist, I get a flu shot. What is really helpful is that in British Columbia, anyone in a high risk group (such as myself with cancer + anemia) can get a free flu shot, such as:

  • Seniors 65 years and older
  • Children and adults with certain medical conditions, including:
  • Heart or lung disorders that require regular medical care, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cystic fibrosis
  • Kidney disease, chronic liver disease such as hepatitis, diabetes, cancer, anemia, or weakened immune system

UBC - Civil & Mechanical Engineering
CEME Building

So, this morning I woke up early, ate breakfast, and headed off to get my flu shot at the Civil and Mechanical Engineering (CEME) Building. When I arrived at the proper room I was handed a form that asked medical questions such as:

  • In the past, have you had any problems in tolerating the influenza vaccine?
  • Do you have a weakened immune system due to illness?
  • Have you had a previous severe life threatening allergy to a previous dose of the influenza vaccine?

Flu shot time
Time for my flu shot

Then I walked over to the immunization provider, who asked some further questions (e.g. Are you Left or right handed?) before administering the flu shot in my left shoulder, as I’m right-handed. Afterwards I was handed a piece of paper with my name, date, and the particular type of vaccine I received with its expiry date. I then walked over to an adjoining room to wait 15 minutes, as recommended.

UBC Risk Management Services Flu Shot Clinic
Flu Shot Clinic

Risk Management Services has been coordinated the free influenza immunizations program on campus for a few years now and it has increased in success each year. Over the one month period, there were under 1000 immunizations two years ago, about 3000 last year, and this year it is estimated there will be about 4000 staff, faculty, and students immunized. The immunization providers are either medical, pharmacy, or nursing students and there is a Registered Nurse from UBC Student Health Services that oversees the operation to make sure everything runs smoothly.

I’m happy that this task is over for another year. I’m feeling great and focused on staying positive and happy.

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