At my checkup appointment last fall the doctor recommended I get the Shingrix vaccine for shingles. The drug website says that one out of three people in the United States will get shingles, and I've known enough people that have gone through the disease to want to protect myself. However, at that time the vaccine was relatively new (approved in October 2017 and officially recommended by the CDC for adults 50 and older in January 2018) and hard to find. I used that as an excuse to put off the task, transferring the doctor's note from month to month in my tickler file.
This month I decided to get serious about the task. Starting on March 1st I carried the reminder note around with me before the task rose to the top of my list, and for the last week I've been on a mission to complete it. That's been easier said than done.
My insurance will cover the cost of immunizations at any Walgreens pharmacy, and there are a lot of them around me. However, even though the drug website had it listed as available all over the area, none of the stores I checked with actually had the vaccine in stock. Finding it turned into a game. See a Walgreens, pop in, and ask at the pharmacy window.
Most locations told me they had a first come, first served policy and I was just out of luck. After three days the best I could do was put my name on a list, which had about 200 people ahead of me. I tried calling, but the automated menu to talk to a live person is arduous to navigate, and the hold times were so long I'd give up before I got through.
Yesterday I hit the immunization jackpot! At the pharmacy window the technician told me they had one dose in stock. It took twenty minutes from the time I walked in until the time I left, but it was time well spent.
After she administered the shot, the pharmacist told me most people had a sore arm that lasted for a couple of days, and a few reported they got a headache or felt tired and achy all over. I'm left-handed, so got the injection in my right arm. Good thing. Over the course of the day my arm got very sore. Before I went to bed I took some acetaminophen, but found I couldn't sleep on my right side. Overnight I had a headache and chills. (It also didn't help that I had done some gardening and, despite wearing gloves, got a sticker in my two different fingers, and I had sore muscles from a class at the the gym.) When I woke up I felt like I'd been run over by a Mack truck.
After a hot shower things slowly got better. I moved very slowly and was able to complete all of my errands for the day. Without too many issues.
The good news is that I got my Shingrix shot. The bummer is that I need another some some time between two and six months from now. I understand that the second time will be easier. I'm now on a priority list and will just get a call from the pharmacy telling me to come in.
Five years ago today: PLEASE?!?