Last year, we had a horrible experience getting flu shots. Our pediatrician ran out, so she referred us to a local pharmacy. I made appointments for us all, and off we went. We got to the pharmacy before our scheduled time, filled out the paperwork, and sat. And sat. And then it was 45 minutes, there were no other people getting flu shots, and something was wrong with this picture.
“Will we be seen soon? It’s moving into lunch time and I’m afraid my son won’t be agreeable much longer.”
“Oh, the pharmacist is just a bit nervous. She’ll be out soon.”
“Wait. Nervous why?”
“It’s her first vaccination.”
While that in itself wasn’t a dealbreaker, because I’m assuming this woman has been properly trained to administer a damn flu shot, I asked for a refund because the cashier couldn’t tell me when the lady would emerge from her self inflicted hiding. This fool said she didn’t know how to issue one. An hour and 10 minutes we waited. It didn’t end well. I wonder how long her eye was black.
This year, the pediatrician wasn’t offering the flu shot at all, but referring patients again to that pharmacy. There was no way in hell we were going back. Z would probably look at that place, have a flashback, and run into traffic trying to get away.
I called the insurance company to see where we could go. Target. CVS. Walgreens. KMart. Safeway. Rite-Aid.
We chose Target. We loaded everyone up, made promises of smoothies, and hit the road. Filled out forms for everyone, and sat to wait to be called. The pharmacist assistant called me over to explain that my insurance required medical billing rather than pharmacy billing, so we needed to go to a Target with a clinic. I stared at her because listen, y’all, I’ve never needed to use a Target clinic, so my assumption was the area off to the side where the pharmacist speaks to people was the clinic area. No. There’s an actual clinic space, separate.
I paused, though, because the insurance company didn’t say anything about a clinic. The woman said Target. That meant any Target. Right? So I asked her to call the 800 number and find out. Closed on weekends, the recording said, and this was Sunday.
I didn’t even know where a Target with a clinic was. She suggested one not far from there, but when I looked online, that Target didn’t have a clinic, was I being punk’d? I turned over the Kind bars display, stole a blueberry vanilla one, shouted THIS IS THAT BULLSHIT, and we left.
On Monday, I called the insurance company back and was told I’d been misinformed. A Target pharmacy or Target clinic is equally able to administer flu shots based on my insurance coverage. The issue, she said, is that Target staff sometimes don’t know how to bill it when it’s done in the pharmacy versus the clinic.
WHOSE FAULT IS THAT?
Later that afternoon I went to the CVS in my building at work. I had a flu shot in under 10 minutes. The next day the kids had a half day at school, so I had my husband bring them down there.
“We don’t vaccinate under 18.”
WHAT IN THE ABSOLUTE HELL IS GOING ON?
Where does it say that? Where is that written? WHY AREN’T YOU TELLING PEOPLE THIS? That sign says get your flu shots here. Do y’all know what asterisks are? You can use one to denote a caveat or note, you know, something easily understandable like ADULTS 18 AND UP. VISIT A CVS MINUTE CLINIC FOR CHILDREN UNDER 18.
Again, I never knew the clinic was an actual area outside of the pharmacy. I had no idea where one was located; I’d never seen one. And sure, I didn’t ask if they vaccinated children, but it’s also not posted anywhere that they don’t. How else would I know? HOW, I ASK YOU?
The children are now suggesting they don’t need flu shots. I flipped over a chips display, stepped on all the bags, yelled YOU BUNCH OF WHORES, and we left.
I called Safeway. Minimum age 12. I called Rite-Aid. Minimum age 9. I called Walgreens. Minimum age 13. I called A DIFFERENT Walgreens because someone said that was wrong. Minimum age 7. Oh, so now we’re in new territory: different ages for the same establishments.
I found a CVS Minute Clinic downtown and we went last weekend (I took a roll of toilet paper in case I needed to leave the mark of the unvaccinated. And in case they had no carefully set up displays nearby). I literally walked in, signed them in on a computer, and all three had a shot within minutes. She was so fast, so warm. I was most appreciative with how she handled Z. I had daddy there for the daddy effect, which worked like a charm, but as the one administering his shot, her manner was what needs to be in instructional guides for others. Had I been alone, there would have been this, absolutely:
So, we have flu shots. Best of all, all of the displays in that CVS remained intact.