A Flu Shot, a Letter and an Unexpected Response

 ========= Old Image Removed =========Array
(
    [_wp_attached_file] => Array
        (
            [0] => 2018/11/Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped.jpg
        )

    [_wp_attachment_metadata] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:5:{s:5:"width";i:1920;s:6:"height";i:1139;s:4:"file";s:37:"2018/11/Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped.jpg";s:5:"sizes";a:13:{s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-336x199.jpg";s:5:"width";i:336;s:6:"height";i:199;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:5:"large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-771x457.jpg";s:5:"width";i:771;s:6:"height";i:457;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-140x140.jpg";s:5:"width";i:140;s:6:"height";i:140;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:12:"medium_large";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-768x456.jpg";s:5:"width";i:768;s:6:"height";i:456;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"1536x1536";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:38:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-1536x911.jpg";s:5:"width";i:1536;s:6:"height";i:911;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:35:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-80x80.jpg";s:5:"width";i:80;s:6:"height";i:80;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-600x338.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:338;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-600x600.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-524x311.jpg";s:5:"width";i:524;s:6:"height";i:311;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-447x265.jpg";s:5:"width";i:447;s:6:"height";i:265;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:28:"ab-block-post-grid-landscape";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-600x400.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:400;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:25:"ab-block-post-grid-square";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-600x600.jpg";s:5:"width";i:600;s:6:"height";i:600;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:4:"file";s:37:"Murphy_and_Wilson_Cropped-125x125.jpg";s:5:"width";i:125;s:6:"height";i:125;s:9:"mime-type";s:10:"image/jpeg";}}s:10:"image_meta";a:12:{s:8:"aperture";s:1:"0";s:6:"credit";s:0:"";s:6:"camera";s:0:"";s:7:"caption";s:0:"";s:17:"created_timestamp";s:1:"0";s:9:"copyright";s:0:"";s:12:"focal_length";s:1:"0";s:3:"iso";s:1:"0";s:13:"shutter_speed";s:1:"0";s:5:"title";s:0:"";s:11:"orientation";s:1:"0";s:8:"keywords";a:0:{}}}
        )

    [_imagify_optimization_level] => Array
        (
            [0] => 0
        )

    [_imagify_data] => Array
        (
            [0] => a:2:{s:5:"sizes";a:10:{s:4:"full";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:1449104;s:14:"optimized_size";i:308744;s:7:"percent";d:78.689999999999998;}s:9:"thumbnail";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:6226;s:14:"optimized_size";i:5770;s:7:"percent";d:7.3200000000000003;}s:6:"medium";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:15689;s:14:"optimized_size";i:14809;s:7:"percent";d:5.6100000000000003;}s:5:"large";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:64799;s:14:"optimized_size";i:62063;s:7:"percent";d:4.2199999999999998;}s:9:"wbhm-icon";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:2766;s:14:"optimized_size";i:2546;s:7:"percent";d:7.9500000000000002;}s:13:"wbhm-featured";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:40199;s:14:"optimized_size";i:38416;s:7:"percent";d:4.4400000000000004;}s:20:"wbhm-featured-square";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:20392;s:14:"optimized_size";i:19334;s:7:"percent";d:5.1900000000000004;}s:18:"wbhm-featured-home";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:33110;s:14:"optimized_size";i:31518;s:7:"percent";d:4.8099999999999996;}s:22:"wbhm-featured-carousel";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:25564;s:14:"optimized_size";i:24225;s:7:"percent";d:5.2400000000000002;}s:14:"post-thumbnail";a:4:{s:7:"success";b:1;s:13:"original_size";i:5219;s:14:"optimized_size";i:4862;s:7:"percent";d:6.8399999999999999;}}s:5:"stats";a:3:{s:13:"original_size";i:1663068;s:14:"optimized_size";i:512287;s:7:"percent";d:69.200000000000003;}}
        )

    [_imagify_status] => Array
        (
            [0] => success
        )

    [_media_credit] => Array
        (
            [0] => Andrew Yeager
        )

    [_navis_media_credit_org] => Array
        (
            [0] => WBHM
        )

    [_navis_media_can_distribute] => Array
        (
            [0] => 
        )

)
1548233216 
1542196291

Every fall, doctors beg the public to get a flu shot. It might not be a big deal to an adult, but for a kid, that needle can be intimidating.

That was the case for Norah Murphy. Two years ago she was a third grader in Homewood and she did not want to get a flu shot.

“I had never had a flu shot before, so I was pretty nervous,” Norah says.

That’s because she had only had the flu mist, which can be taken through the nose. But that year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against the flu mist because it was not very effective. Norah would have to receive the dreaded flu shot.

So she wrote a letter.

norah-murphy-letter

Norah wasn’t sure about sending it. She was just eight years old. But after encouragement from her mom, they dropped it in the mail.

It landed on the desk of Dr. Mark Wilson. He’s the health officer for Jefferson County and the head of the county Department of Health.

Wilson says he’s never received a letter like this before. He was impressed, not only because of Norah’s age, but because she signed it “your friend, who cares a lot.”

“She wasn’t just thinking about herself,” Wilson says. “I think she was also thinking about other kids and whether she could make a difference.”

And Wilson concedes, she had a good argument.

“If you can give the same thing in a mist form, a little squirt up the nose, then why would you give a shot to children and inflict pain on them?”  Wilson says. “It’s a perfectly logical question.”

Wilson says he always tries to answer personal letters. He especially wanted to answer this one.

Mark Wilson Letter Edited

Norah says she was not sure what to think when Wilson’s letter arrived.

“I didn’t think I would ever get a response, but as soon as I read it, I was pretty excited, just that what I had written mattered in a way,” Norah says.

Wilson says so often health departments quote statistics or issue dire warnings. It’s important to remember people are affected on a personal level.

Norah says somehow the letter made vaccines seem less scary. When she did get the shot she was not as nervous.

Norah says she has not written any other public officials. Not yet, at least.

Extra note: The CDC changed its recommendation this year and says a new flu mist is an option. But the flu shot is still recommended as the first choice.

News from WBHM will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.

 

COVID relief funding package passes Alabama legislative committees

A plan to spend about $772 million is set for final passage as early as next week.

UAB surgeons transplant pig kidneys into a human body for the first time

Researchers hope genetically modified pig kidneys could potentially provide a life-saving solution for thousands of people who die every year waiting for a transplant.

Ivey calls special session on relief funds

Alabama lawmakers will put the 2022 regular legislative session on hold to start a special session beginning Jan. 19, according to an announcement by Gov. Kay Ivey.

As demand for travel nurses increases, hospitals in the South struggle to stay competitive

COVID-19 hospitalizations are now twice as high in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama as they were two weeks ago, contributing to now record hospitalization numbers nationwide.

Omicron is less severe, but it’s overwhelming Alabama’s hospitals

The omicron variant leads to fewer hospitalizations and deaths, but the variant is infecting more people than any previous surge.

Alabama lawmakers already planning a special session just days into the regular one

Legislators would use the special session to discuss appropriating COVID relief funds. We have more in our weekly legislative update.

More Front Page Coverage