Winners of the Flu Shot Poetry Contest!

The judges have voted, and the votes are counted! Yes, the first-ever Flu Shot

No, it didn’t hurt – I’m just acting, hoping to try out for “Shakespeare in the Clinic” next season.

Poetry Contest winners are about to be announced, and we here at the VMC Foundation can hardly contain ourselves; we are just giddy with excitement.

We know you are too, so let’s get right to it:

We had tons of submissions from the original announcement of the contest…some on the website, some sent by email, some slipped under our door in the night. All were excellent, but three stood out.

Our first winner is Sunshine Weiss, M.D., who submitted the ONLY haiku other than the sample I provided on September 7.  She calls it a “hai-flu”. Breathe deeply and take it in:

Will you roll the dice
on your risk of spreading flu ?
Are clean hands enough ?

Powerful. Concise. A true reflection of an ancient art form. Thank you, Dr. Weiss!

Our next winner is also “internal” to our Health & Hospital System, and goes right to the issue of staff needing to vaccinate to protect patients, especially those who are immunocompromised. Fortunately, Cheryl Blankenship Kupras, Psychiatric Social Worker, didn’t use that word as it doesn’t rhyme with anything.

What she did do, that our judges loved, is use data, cite the law, and give a well-deserved shout-out to Parvin Rahnema. Parvin delivers more flu shots to more county staff than most anyone (including me, here). Congratulations Cheryl, and now…your poem:

The flu kills between 3000-49,000 Americans each year,
If you get the shot you’ll have nothing to fear!

The law requires that you get the shot or wear a mask;
Protecting your coworkers and our patients that is your task.

Even healthy people can get the flu,
Get the shot so it won’t happen to you!

It is a quick little shot in the arm,
Parvin is gentle, she won’t do much harm.

The shot is safe and won’t give you the flu;
Protecting your coworkers and patients, it’s up to you!

Washing your hands can help a lot:
For better protection, GET THE SHOT!

Finally, for her top-notch use of the classic limerick, we honor the amazing poetry of Ms. Valerie Hopkins. Valerie’s meter is perhaps bested only by Carl Kasell of NPR’s “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me”:

To avoid feeling ill, turning green
Get your shot of the new flu vaccine
You might feel icky, but you won’t get sicky
And could possibly Begin the Beguine

We hope you won’t catch the flu
The vaccine is a good thing to do.
One poke in the arm will do you no harm
And you can tell that old flu, adieu!

Remember what the flu feels like?
Well now you can say “take a hike”,
If you had your shot, the flu you won’t got
I guess you could say you’re on strike!

Every smart guy and his date
Gets a shot- and while it’s not great
A pop in the arm will do you no harm
And now you’re flu-free, celebrate!

If you’re wondering what “Begin the Beguine” is, so did I…even though I’m supposed to know jazz, this had to be explained to your humbled author by one of our judges. Good going, Valerie, to insert a little old-school show tune – but we have the last laugh, since Michael Buble did the song recently as well.

If you’re wondering what our winners actually won, well! They got a VMC Foundation tote/computer bag, and my voice on their home answering machine. Okay, just the first thing. But they also got the honor of winning the first ever Flu Shot Poetry Contest!

…and we all hope this all was enough to convince you – go get vaccinated. Today. Thanks, and thanks to all who submitted their excellent work.