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Flu Shot: An Autumn's Tale

Last week the DP was all, "Yo, some kids got the swine flu." And we were all, "Ew. Even though the swine flu vaccine doesn't drop till mid-October, we should probably protect ourselves against the regular flu, since it's equally as gross." And our mom was like, "Duh. Sign up here ASAP."

So we logged on to Student Health's online appointment scheduler and selected the FluMist option, because we hate shots and heard the mist was more effective anyway. But when we tried to make an appointment, the scheduler told us none were available... not even in January.

We then picked the flu shot option because, hey, needles aren't that bad. But there wasn't an available shot appointment for an entire month! Not okay. At all. So we refreshed and refreshed and someone must have cancelled their appointment because we got one for the next afternoon.

Upon arriving at Student Health, we noticed that there was a big ol' bottle of Purell at every check-in station alongside signs that instruct coughing students to get masks from the front desk. There was no wait, which was awesome, but then our nurse goes, "Hmmmm. You want a flu shot? Are you aware of our 'situation'?" Well no, lady. Go on. "We don't really have any flu shots left, but we do have some of the mist. Would you want that?" Yes we would! After assuring the nurse that we did not have asthma, a compromised immune system or a child growing inside of us, we got our mist.

We then asked the nurse an embarrassingly long list of questions. Here's what we learned:

  • Penn is pretty much out of flu shots, and they have been reserving the remainder of their dwindling supply for high risk patients who can't receive the mist.
  • They're expecting a shipment of the shot this week, but will only be getting a couple hundred doses (instead of the few thousand they expected).
  • The online scheduler did not lie — there are no open appointments for a month. However, lots of people don't show up for their appointments, so your best bet is to drop by Student Health and ask if they can see you then and there.
Can't bear the thought of trekking to 36th and Market, or don't want to risk catching something from someone at Student Health? You could always get vaccinated at the Radian's CVS — that is, if you're willing to wait until November 11.