Have no fear; new flu shot is here

Last year over Thanksgiving break my dad kidnapped me and dragged me through the revolving doors of our local Walgreens. As he pulled me from aisle to aisle to the back corner of the store where the pharmacy was located, I wracked my brain for an escape route. Lunging forward, I sprang free and ducked behind a display of Dove products. But once I saw the look on my dad’s face reflected in the employee’s mirror behind the counter, I knew it was over. I was going to get the flu shot whether I liked it or not.

Whether I cried, screamed or kicked my way into the make-shift waiting room, my dad assured me that all the temper tantrums in the world weren’t going to change my parents’ minds about the annual shot. He also said something about me being twenty years old and growing up — stuff like that which I tend to tune out. Regardless, it’s safe to say he was embarrassed he had to take me hostage in order to get me vaccinated.

Yet now my fear of all things sharp and pointy may be finally cured. According to the Times, a new needle, which at .06 inches is “90% smaller” than the typical flu shot needle, was imported to the U.S. a few weeks ago. Specifically aimed for those who have a fear of needles concerning immunization (that’s me!), these needles are said to have 40 percent less antigens than the normal flu shot. Though their strength is lower, the extra antigens are said to be used to make more flu shots when a shortage of them arises — meaning more people will be protected in the long run.

But unfortunately there is a catch: The needle has only been approved for those between the ages of 18 and 64. So the majority of those terrified by a poised needle and not the least bit comforted by a Hello Kitty band-aid are out of luck. Children are going to have to tough it out and be brave while the rest of us offer up our arms with a sense of ease we have never known before. This is the kind of relief I wished for on birthdays and prayed for at Sunday school.

In high school I was once so terrified of getting a shot that while watching my twin sister go first, I backed up into a soap dispenser on the wall and subsequently soaked my back in foam. The nurse looked at me with confused eyes. You poor, crazy not-so-little girl, she must have thought. Now, I am slightly more confident in the fact that I can go to the doctor without being abducted by my dad or inadvertently washing my t-shirt.

If you too are an adult suffering from a case of Trypanophobia, take heart: There is a cure.

_Emily is a junior in LAS._