B.C. team jumps swine flu queue
Calgary Flames' farm club got vaccinations
Health officials in B.C. are investigating how members of a minor league professional hockey team managed to jump the queue and get swine flu shots ahead of people listed as a priority for the vaccine.
The controversy emerged as an Alberta health official was fired Wednesday for arranging for members of the NHL's Calgary Flames to get shots.
B.C.'s medical health officer, Dr. Perry Kendall, said he'll be speaking to a doctor who flouted guidelines by giving the vaccine to players for the Abbotsford Heat, an American Hockey League farm club of the Calgary Flames.
"There has been no authorization given by me or any of B.C.'s medical officers or health authorities for any professional sports team to receive early access to H1N1 vaccine. And we don't plan to be giving priority access to professional sports teams or to amateur sports teams either," said Kendall.
The H1N1 vaccine is currently being offered in B.C. only to people under 65 with a chronic condition, children between six months and five years, pregnant women and some health-care workers, he said.
A senior Alberta Health Services employee has been fired over the Calgary Flames players being given swine flu shots last week while thousands of people waited in line for the vaccine or were turned away.
The Heat's media spokesperson defended the team doctor's action.
"It's up to the club physician to make that determination," said David Sheldon. "As far as high-risk assessment is concerned, he felt it was in his best interest to tell us it was in our best interest [to get the shots]."
Team doctor Adriaan Windt declined to comment to CBC News on Wednesday.
With files from The Canadian Press