Wow. I am almost disappointed that I'm perfectly fine. No skin reactions. No
soreness. No muscle aches. No drama.
And no flu, although a single dose of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine probably
offers no protection. NIH Director Tony Fauci says that my experience is
typical -- those of us who got the swine flu shot haven't had any unusual
Swine Flu Outbreak: Get the Facts
Get the latest swine flu facts and information from WebMD, the CDC and other
public health agencies.
Earlier this week, I went to a two-day swine-flu symposium for journalists
featuring all of CDC's top researchers (and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius,
too). They say they expect the first 45 million doses of the swine flu vaccine
to arrive in about six weeks, on or about Oct. 15.
I sure hope they're wrong about one thing. If it really is going to take two
doses of vaccine to ward off swine flu, it won't be until Thanksgiving -- or,
for many of us, until Christmas -- that protection kicks in.
My next set of shots comes next week. That means I'll have a 75% chance of
having had at least two swine flu shots by then. It's supposed to take two to
four weeks after the second shot to be protected -- so I'm still washing my
hands every chance I get and carrying a handkerchief in case I cough or
Why? Looking out my window from WebMD's Atlanta offices, I can see the
Georgia Tech campus. They've already got about 100 suspected flu cases
Day Two -- Saturday Aug. 15, 2009
I'm sitting on a hillside in Atlanta's Piedmont Park, surrounded by about
50,000 people. It's 6 p.m., and in just a couple of hours Paul McCartney will
be on the huge stage erected nearly overnight in the meadow below me. My cell
It's Becky Gerkin, one of the nurses at Emory's Hope Clinic. "Hi," she says.
"Just checking to make sure you're OK."
I tell her my left arm is a little sore, but no other symptoms. In fact, I
I tell Becky that I've been taking my temperature every day at 4 p.m., and
that it's been running about a half degree above what I think is normal for me,
but never higher than 99 degrees F. I tell her where I am, that I've had
a beer, and and that I hope it's OK to have a couple more.
Becky sighs. "Nothing in the protocol against that," she says.
Day Zero -- Thursday Aug. 13, 2009
It's really the first day, but they call it Day Zero. It sounds dramatic,
and it is.
I'm sitting on the examining table. A nurse approaches with two syringes.
Either one, or both, may hold the brand new swine flu vaccine. Brand new, as in
"not yet tested in humans."