A second person has been fired for allowing members of the Calgary Flames to receive the swine flu shot while Albertans had to line up for hours at vaccination clinics.
Alberta Health Services revealed Wednesday that the most senior staff member involved had been dismissed. On Friday, the provincial health board revealed that a second worker involved in the decision has also been let go.
"No further disciplinary action is being considered at this time," an AHS news release said.
The health board released the final findings of its investigation on Friday, outlining how some players, their relatives and other personnel from the NHL team were vaccinated through special arrangements.
On Oct. 27, a member of the Flames medical team asked a health board worker whether an H1N1 vaccine clinic could be set up for the team and their families.
That request was forwarded to a more senior AHS staff member, who in turn took it to a supervisor who approved it.
On Oct. 30, about 150 people associated with the Flames were immunized at a clinic set up at the Father David Bauer arena, next to the University of Calgary.
"There is no written record of approval to proceed and there is no process for authorization of the use of the H1N1 vaccine for this purpose, as it contradicts existing protocols and processes," the AHS said Friday in its release.
'They fire some bureaucrats who let 100 people jump the queue, and the people responsible for 100,000 people getting ahead of those who should have been a priority get off scot-free?'—Brian Mason, Alberta NDP leader
"Use of the vaccine was not discussed or authorized above the level of the individual who authorized its use."
Unlike other provinces, Alberta initially allowed anyone to line up for the shot, leading to overwhelming demand at public clinics across the province after mass vaccination began nearly two weeks ago.
The province had to suspend its immunization campaign because of a vaccine shortage and overwhelmed health-care workers. The program resumed this week with restrictions, vaccinating only children older than six months and younger than five years, and pregnant women.
Alberta NDP Leader Brian Mason agreed that officials involved in the Flames clinic needed to be disciplined, but considers the dismissals scape-goating.
"Certainly Mr. [Ron] Liepert [Alberta's health minister] is responsible and up to the premier as well. So they have some responsibility," said Mason.
"Why is it that they fire some bureaucrats who let 100 people jump the queue, and the people responsible for 100,000 people getting ahead of those who should have been a priority get off scot-free? It's just not right."
Reminder of no exceptions
Management of the Calgary Flames said they requested the clinic based on information provided by the health board. AHS agreed that the NHL organization was following a process they believed had been approved.
The health board said it has sent a bulletin to all staff involved in the H1N1 vaccination campaign, reminding them that "no exceptions will be made to existing protocols and processes."
Top provincial health officials have apologized for the special treatment of the Flames, calling it an isolated incident.
Twenty Albertans have died from H1N1 since the outbreak began in April. So far this year, 480 people have been hospitalized in the province due to the swine flu. The median age of those hospitalized is 31. Most of the people who are in hospital, or have died from H1N1, had underlying health conditions.