Los Angeles Times

She has vac­ci­na­tion envy

- Send ques­tions to Amy Dick­in­son by email to ask amy@amy­dick­in­son.com. Health · Vaccines · Medical Treatments

Dear Amy: I have been close friends with “Brenda” since we were kids. We touch base a few times a week (elec­tron­i­cally). We are now both 65 and live in the same com­mu­nity.

Like ev­ery­one, we’ve been strug­gling to get COVID vac­ci­na­tions.

Brenda mes­saged me, say­ing, “Our friend called us last-minute to come get vac­ci­nated, since the phar­macy had left­over vaccine and they wanted to use it up be­fore it went bad. We had to get there quickly, and we did, and got vac­ci­nated.”

I am glad to know that my dear friend and her hus­band were vac­ci­nated. But I am re­ally stung that she did not phone me and tell me about this op­por­tu­nity.

If she had said, “My friend said there were only two vac­cines left, so I didn’t call you,” I would have been OK with that.

If the sit­u­a­tion had been re­versed, I would have called her right away.

I was flum­moxed and sim­ply told her I was glad to hear the good news.

But I am feel­ing hurt and feel like our friend­ship has been bruised.

I guess I’m hop­ing that by shar­ing this it might make peo­ple think a bit, or maybe I just need to vent.

Your thoughts? Dis­ap­pointed in the North­east

Dear Dis­ap­pointed: I’ve read of long lines form­ing at some vaccine-dis­pens­ing phar­ma­cies, some­times well be­fore the phar­macy opens in the morn­ing — all for the chance at snag­ging a dose of left­over vaccine Some phar­ma­cies are of­fer­ing left­over doses rather than de­stroy the vaccine at the end of the day (after all ap­pointed doses have been given).

Most of­ten, few doses are avail­able, so you should as­sume that in your friend’s case, you would not have been able to snag one.

I re­al­ize that a sort of “ev­ery man for him­self” ethic seems to have taken hold re­gard­ing the vaccine, but one way to see this is: Now that your friend and her hus­band are vac­ci­nated, this frees up two more doses for oth­ers.

All the same, you should tell your friend how you feel.

Dear Amy: I’m a physi­cian.

Over the years, it’s in­creas­ingly com­mon for not only fam­ily and friends but co-work­ers, neigh­bors and ac­quain­tances I haven’t seen for 30 years to ask me for med­i­cal ad­vice.

For­tu­nately, my health sys­tem frowns on me writ­ing pre­scrip­tions or per­form­ing mi­nor pro­ce­dures un­less they are a reg­is­tered pa­tient.

It’s not that I don’t care, but after work­ing long hours treat­ing ex­tremely sick pa­tients dur­ing this pandemic, the last thing I want to do when I’m off and at a so­cial gath­er­ing or do­ing yard work is to dis­cuss med­i­cal con­cerns or look at rashes.

I got off so­cial me­dia partly be­cause I was in­un­dated with med­i­cal ques­tions and con­cerns. If it’s a med­i­cal emer­gency, it’s one thing, but please ask your read­ers to call their own doc­tor for med­i­cal con­cerns.

I’m not sure you have an an­swer as to how I de­cline from giv­ing ad­vice or ex­am­in­ing some­one with­out ap­pear­ing un­car­ing.

I’m Not on Call Now

Dear Not on Call: The pandemic has un­leashed a lot of anx­i­ety about health. Peo­ple also are for­go­ing rou­tine doc­tor vis­its and test­ing be­cause of a lack of ac­cess.

A per­sonal triage sys­tem might work. Yes, you will al­ways re­spond to emer­gen­cies; for non-emer­gen­cies you could say, “It’s al­ways best to see your own doc­tor.”

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