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Peace Corps flu shot, is it mandatory?

In 2008, when Karen and I lived in Ha’apai, we were notified that we were to receive a mandatory flu shot from Peace Corps. Personally I have a problem with being told that I have to have a shot and not to mention that it makes me sick every single time, so I fought the issue. I went back and forth on email and phone with Peace Corps here in Nuku’alofa that I did not want to take it because it makes me sick with the flu for at least several days. So they came back with their final response; “take the shot or be administratively separated”. So I took it. Guess what, it made me ill. Just about the time I was getting over my mandatory flu I received an email that the flu shot was no longer mandatory. I had to admit this was a bit laughable.

But for some reason I felt a bit relieved to know that I wouldn’t have to take one next year. So it was a bit surprising this week when I received an email that the new flu shot was mandatory due to the world wide H1N1 outbreak. Hmmm, is this the H1N1 flu shot? No. This is last fall’s flu shot. I have had the flu or flu like symptoms twice since January, I feel like I have developed an immunity to local strains and if/when H1N1 makes it here then we have Tamiflu. So why is it “mandatory”? We will find out if it actually is and I will let you know here. Stay posted.

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