Dear Families and Friends,
In what is becoming a yearly occurrence, I have to inform you that getting the flu vaccine sent to our office is, once again, insanely difficult. While we have ordered a fairly large amount of vaccine, the company that makes it is limiting our allotments to less than ¼ of what we have requested.
To explain why, I had some really nice multi-colored graphs an charts and 8X10 glossy photos (I even have short Powerpoint presentation). But it all has to do with the nasal flu vaccine, FluMist. When the vaccine first came out, the data showed that it was at least as effective as the flu vaccine injection. However, researchers have reviewed the data over that last 3 years. It has been determined that since 2012, the nasal flu vaccine has been 3%, effective.
That’s right, folks…3%. Not 30%, not 10%…but flipping 3% effective. I lost my freakin’ mind (which is not really saying much). So our team talked about it…and talked about…in detail. We decided that we could not, in good faith, even offer a vaccine that had the same chances of working as a politician telling the truth (it happens occasionally, but I am certain, it is strictly by accident). Most other pediatricians came to the same conclusion that we did. So we cancelled any nasal flu vaccine orders and asked to get a lot more injectable flu vaccine to make up for the loss. The company that sells it to us said “Sure, tell us how much you want”. Which we did.
So, I assume that someone in the accounting department at the flu vaccine making companies realized that production was not up to the demand. They may even have said something along the lines of “Holy ___ (use the term most acceptable to you here)!!! We don’t have enough of this stuff made”. So, now my team gets told that “Yes, we are sending the vaccine….but not nearly as much as you asked us to send you.” This is done knowing that my office is stuck explaining it to everyone.
So as it stands, we do have the injectable flu vaccine coming in. However, at the moment, there is not enough to set and run any flu clinics. As we get it in, we will happily give it during your visit or with a nurse visit. But when we run out, we will have to wait until the next batch is sent out. Needless to say, I would have turned on my “ticked off” meter to 11…had I not had to deal with this for the last 3 years in a row. Really, folks, there is only so much that blood pressure medication can do. And the thought of a stoke is just not that appealing to me.
So, when we get enough of the vaccine in, my team will post it on the social media sites and send out emails. If you can get the vaccine, ANYWHERE, then please do, since getting the flu is a bummer of the highest order. If you got the flu in the last few years and you DID NOT feel like hammered dog poo for several days, please note, YOU DID NOT GET THE FLU. If you were tested, the test was positive, and you didn’t feel too badly, then go out and buy that lottery ticket. Luck is on your side.
In the mean time, if you can get the vaccine, please send us a note through the portal. If it is in the chart, then I won’t have to nag you to get it done(I still will just as a matter of habit).
I am sorry…again. It’s not my fault…again. Please save a copy of this letter so that next year I can refer back to it when this happens again. And I’m not bitter…really…no not me…really.
Your fearless yet mildly jaded pediatrician and company,
Bruce D. Martin, MD