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To the Pharmacist Who Judged Me for Getting the Flu Shot

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I get sick a lot. With an immune system that isn’t always the best, I always get a flu shot. If I don’t, it almost guarantees I will get a terrible flu. Because of this, I make it my point to get my flu shot every year, and early. The times I’ve gotten it late or not at all, I have always gotten really sick.

So when flu season rolled around last year, I made a mental note to go get a flu shot. After work one day, I went into my new pharmacy. I filled out the forms, waited and thought about how glad I was that I had finally remembered to get the shot.


When the pharmacist came up to me, she gave me a funny look. As I rolled up my sleeve, she said something that caught me off guard. “You look pretty young. Why are you getting a flu shot?” She then continued to say something along the lines that I shouldn’t even be getting one.

I explained I had an illness that lowers my immune system so I always get the flu shot. She just crinkled her nose, told me I should get a job where I don’t work with kids, stuck me and left.

I left upset and a little confused. Situations like this remind me what it can be like to have a chronic illness, especially one that is invisible. I know not everyone will understand my situation, but I did not expect to get this kind of reaction from a pharmacist during something as routine as a flu shot.

This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this, and I know it won’t be the last. Situations like this remind me how important it is to not be silent about invisible illnesses. People don’t understand what they don’t know about. Maybe, like with the pharmacist, it won’t really change the reaction.

But sometimes, it does.

This post originally appeared on Chronically Tate.

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Thinkstock photo via wissanu01.

Originally published: September 15, 2017
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