“Keep your child safe, get all vaccines on time.”–The first line on the print-out the nurse handed me.
I got the Varicella vaccine yesterday afternoon. Yup, just yesterday.
My parents weren’t anti-vax: they were lax-vax.
For 39 years, I avoided getting Chickenpox. Years of dodging itchy children resulted in being confronted by adults reminding me of my overhanging mortality every time this fact came to light. As if I didn’t already know. As if I loved the idea of death by hundreds of open, weeping sores.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know nor care: the vaccine became widely available in Canada in 1998, when I was 14. At that point, most of my peers had lifelong immunity to the disease from having had it as a child. Therefore, the vaccine was making its rounds in babies, not teenagers. My parents likely didn’t even know a vaccine was finally available.
The first time I inquired about this vaccine, I was given a prescription to fill as the clinic didn’t have the vaccine on hand. When I went to the pharmacy, I was told they didn’t have it either. When a second pharmacy couldn’t supply me with this vaccine, I put my mission on hold, instead relying on herd immunity to keep myself Chickenpox-free.
I’ve also had doctors doubt my supposedly pox-free history, including the last one who ordered bloodwork to confirm that I didn’t already have the antibodies. This confirmation came on December 31st. Wild how healthcare professionals were more dubious about my status as a Chickenpox virgin than everybody else.
But you all can remain mildly concerned for the next six weeks because I still need to get that second jab. Then, Shingles can’t touch me either.