The other day I was at my doctor's office getting my prescriptions updated for the pharmacy.
Yes, they make you do that in this country - visit your doctor every six months (in person!) to make sure that you actually need the medication you take and everything is going fine. Goddamnit just continue giving me the meds I've been on for a decade! I don't want to talk to you about it!
Anyway, I was annoyed simply because I didn't want to take time out of my semi-busy schedule to do this business.
As I was sitting in the waiting room for my appointment (this is the second time around, I'd forgotten the first time that you need to speak to an actual doctor, not just a nurse, so had to make yet another appointment to speak to a real professional and not just someone who knows how to do everything but has no power...like to give you renewals on your super old prescriptions), I saw a whiteboard advertising flu shots. Or as they call them here, flu jabs.
What an awful thing to call them. As if they aren't unpleasant enough as it is.
For the record I'd like to state that in general, I actually don't mind shots that much. Though I've noticed that as I've gotten older my tolerance for looking as the needle goes into my body has definitely shrunken. Massively. I now look away and breathe in for as long as I can so as not to feel anything. It only sort of works. But I do get everything shot-related done. Every year.
And this includes flu shots. Haven't had the flu in almost 10 years I think.
So when I was called in 15 minutes later to talk about my prescriptions, I also asked her if I could get the flu jab, as advertised on the whiteboard.
She asked if I had asthma or diabetes.
Then unfortunately no, I could not indeed get the flu jab at the office. I would need to go to a pharmacy (like Boots) and pay along with the commoners.
I'm sorry, what? I thought this was national healthcare working at its finest!
Apparently not. Things like preventative flu vaccines are not considered part of that national healthcare plan.
And the more I looked into it, the more I saw how much the British were uninterested. Apparently my work used to do flu shots at work (as all the sites I've ever worked at have always done - in America and in Finland), but there were so few people that participated that they decided it wasn't worth setting the thing up. Even when I tried to initiate one this time I was flat out told that no, they would not be doing it, it wasn't worth it.
Blast it all to hell. Here I was, trying to beg people to give me a shot, and no one would oblige!
So I went to the Boots where I fill my meds and asked them for the flu jab when I was there bringing them my shiny new prescriptions sheet with my new order of medications.
We don't have them here, you'll have to go to another Boots that is several blocks away.
What?!! You don't even have the flu shot at all your locations!?
Clearly the British hate vaccines so much. I should have known. The disinterest in showing skin...the constant sickness that is apparent everywhere on public transportation...it all adds up.
I asked how much the vaccine was, should I be interested in tracking down this remote Boots location for future flu jabbing.
What?! It's not even cheap! I'd at least have expected something slightly subsidized to take care of my health worries from things that used to kill people on epidemic scales.
Again the answer is no. I understand this is not so expensive that it's prohibitive for people, but still. It's not like it's £5. Yeesh.
So the great debate begins - do I wait to go to the States, the land of the free and the fully vaccinated (minus those silly parents who are now insisting that they will keep their kids away from vaccines because of all the "dangers"), or do I just bite the bullet and pay the £13?
...to be continued...