Dear Influenza Vaccine: I am sorry to be so formal, but using your pet name, "flu shot", doesn't seem appropriate in a letter like this.  I am also sorry to be writing this letter; I don't want you to be hurt and I don't want others to think bad of you.

I just don't love you any more and want out of our relationship.

Don't get me wrong; I still think you save lives.  You are strong, noble, and deserving of appreciation.  You give to my patients what I seek to give them: a longer life with less sickness, and you do so without much cost.  I will never think badly of you in that way.  I even want to continue meeting with you every year.  I don't want to lose touch.

But things have gotten hard for me.  You give so much to others, yet you make my life so very hard.  I never know how many people will want you, and yet I have to order you six months or more in advance.  I get you for a time, and then when I am getting comfortable with you here, you leave.  I get promises that you will come back, but those promises have left me waiting so many times that they run hollow.  My patients have grown to appreciate you, yet you tease them every year by running out, being delayed, or simply not being here for mysterious reasons nobody will explain.  They blame me for your behavior, and that is so unfair.  They think I am keeping them from you, but it just isn't so.

I am afraid to ask about this, but why is it that you spend so much more time at Wal-Mart and Walgreens?  It seems that you don't tease them like you do me.  It seems that you are there whenever they need you, but for me you play your game of hide-and-seek.  Do you love them more then you love me?  Or is it that they lure you with their riches and power?  I can't offer you that.

Then there is the way you steal from me.  Every year I pay so you can come back to be with me, and every year I end up on the short end of things.  I give of myself, yet you don't give back to me - the one who stood up for you when things were bad.

It's just not worth it.  I just cant take the games, your divided heart, and the cost I pay every year to have you with me.  I want you to be happy and for people to love you, but I just don't think this is not working out between us.

Where would you stay if not with me?  You will still have the retail stores, but I wonder if you should stay with my Uncle Sam.  He's the one who set us up in the first place, and he's the one who fixes you up every year.  He's the one with the responsibility for the people you serve and the public interest is his more than it is mine.

Whatever the case is, I need to find a way to get out of this relationship.  It hurts me every year, and I am tired of bearing the pain.

Please understand that I wish you only the best.

Yours,

Dr. Rob

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