But you're a pharmacist...

The letter had been hanging round for a few weeks and I thought I had really better get it done. I do like to wait a little while. I have this theory that the vaccines get better as the weeks go on, but the last week of November is leaving it late. So off I went to ask about getting my flu jab.

In Pessac one year the nurse came to do it. Another year I got the vaccine just before a visit to the doctor. I have the impression that the procedure changes every year.

"Hallo. I have this form for a flu jab. How do you do that now? I feel like it changes a lot."

"Oh yes, we can do that."

"What? Here? At the pharmacy?"

"Yes, that's right." The guy went off to get the vaccine. I took off my jacket.

"But we'll go in a side room."

"Oh, OK, though it doesn't bother me. It's only my arm.

So the pharmacist?"

"Yes, well you used to have to get the letter approved by your doctor, then get the vaccine from the pharmacy, then go back to the doctor to have the injection, but the take-up rate was fewer than 50%.

So they changed it to allow nurses to do it, but most nurses just have an office and then visit people at home, so sometimes it would take half a day to do one vaccination.

So last year they chose three regions in France and tried allowing pharmacists to do the vaccination."

"And French people are very attached to their pharmacies"

"And French people are very attached to their pharmacies. So now it's been rolled out nation-wide."

"But a pharmacist's training..."

"We all got trained to do it."

"To be honest with you, it's not hard. I'm pretty sure I could do it myself. After all diabetics inject themselves. And I'm not your first one?"

"There's this year's file." It was stuffed full of papers.

I felt nothing. He checked I was having a reaction to the injection. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries about the all-conquering Welsh rugby team and the glories of the 1970s and I went on my merry way.


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