Just walk into your pharmacy and walk out with a needle!


North Americans are very use to just going to their doctor and getting the flu vaccine. Some do it, some don’t, it’s all a preference. When moving to a foreign country, you pray to find a doctor that speaks English. This is very, very doable especially in Lyon.

Luckily, I have a great half french/american doctor. We usually speak English, because I do enjoy hearing his mixture of a fine New York accent mixed in with his french one and plus he has a very american mentality of just getting things done right off the bat without a million trips back to the doctors. He does not work on Wednesdays so I then have to see his replacement and with him, I speak nothing but French. He told me to go to the pharmacy and get something against the flu. Perhaps it was my miscomprehension, perhaps it was my stuffed up head, but I expected a zinc treatment, some strong vitamin C, who knows? I go to the pharmacy, and give the lady my paper (though you don’t even need one), she puts it in a bag and wishes me a good day. I leave the pharmacy and before descending into the subway, I thought I would take a pill or whatever he had prescribed to me and much to my surprise I take out a hyperdermic needle with the flu vaccine in it. I went home in shock and my friend says without as much of a blink of an eye, “Yeah, just put in the fridge and take it back to your doctor for injection.” So there sat my needle, next to the red peppers and rosé.

What is interesting is that anyone off the street can just walk into a pharmacy and get the needle with the vaccine. You don’t need a prescription, you just walk in and spend 5€ and take it back to a nurse or your doctor to be injected. I now walk around the city thinking to myself how many woman or men have a virus loaded needle in their purses or murses. I then go home and I open the fridge and just chuckle as I stare at my needle thinking, “Only in France.” Bonne santé!


2 responses »

  1. It’s so strange, right? The first time I saw a vaccine in someone’s fridge, I figured they were maybe diabetic and it was insulin at first glance. But nope! The pharmacist gives the patient the vaccine and they walk it into the doc to get injected. Know what else is nuts? The gyno gives women their pap smear to take to the post and mail to the lab. Only in France! Happy New Year!

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