I just got my pertussis vaccination!
Showing off my post-immunization band-aid!
In case you haven’t heard, there’s an outbreak of pertussis – a.k.a., whooping cough – going on the Lower Mainland of Vancouver. And, in case you didn’t know it, pertussis vaccination is one of the vaccinations you need to get a booster shot of if you haven’t had one since you were a kid. Which I hadn’t. But I rectified that today!
Also, might I add, I absolutely hate needles. They make me queasy. Even ones like this one, which is just a little poke in the arm that didn’t even hurt at all. But I felt it was really important, because pertussis can be quite a dangerous disease to little kids and how bad would I feel if I caught pertussis and passed it along to a baby?
In case you think that pertussis is not a big deal:
About 1 infant out of every 170 who gets pertussis (whooping cough) will die from it. Most deaths (4 out of 5) are babies under a year old.
-From the ImmunizeBC website
One out of every 170! That’s a lot of babies. And the thing is, pertussis is a vaccine-preventable disease. And the best way to prevent outbreaks is for everyone to get vaccinated! When enough people in the population are vaccinated, the disease can’t spread – we call that “herd immunity.” So today, I’m happily part of the herd!
Occupational health decided that today would be a good day to stab me repeatedly. Four times, to be precise
Now, I *know* that I had the MMR back in high school, because a girl in my class came down with measles and we all had to be vaccinated. But since I couldn’t provide proof (I don’t know the dates I was immunized or by whom – it might have been at my doctor’s office, but it might have been the public health nurse who came to the school). And the MMR vaccine hurts like a mofo and you have to do it in two doses, about a month apart!
I also know that I had the hepatitis B vaccine, because that was only a few years ago, but I had to do a blood test to prove it. I’ve never had a TB test before but, seriously, where am I going to get tuberculosis? The TB skin test involves injecting a bit of TB protein under your skin and then it requires that you “read” the results in 48 hours by measuring the size of the resulting lump. Fortunately, I know a nurse or 25 that can help me with this if I have any problems.
I don’t begrudge the tetanus shot so much – you are supposed to have that every 10 years and my last one was ~9 years ago (I know that because I had it done when I started my Ph.D. as I was working with lab rats and so was at risk of rat bites and thus, tetanus), so I decided just to get it done with the rest of them rather than have to go back next year. Plus, the tetanus shot doesn’t hurt as much as the MMR – with tetanus, you just feel the needle prick, but after that you don’t feel it. Unlike MMR, which feels like they are inserting 1000 lbs of solid lead into your arm.
And to top it all off, though I work in the health care industry, I don’t actually work with patients! My chances of catching anything at work, other than a computer virus, are, I think, pretty slim.