Thursday November 5, 2009
Vaccinating NHL Hockey Teams – Let’s Find a Scapegoat
As the slow, cumbersome and often incompetent roll out of the hiney (H1N1) vaccine continues, Canadians are looking for someone to get mad at.
Right on cue, the Calgary Flames have stepped into the breach. Earlier this week, the public learned that the Calgary Flames and their families had a special vaccine clinic of their own – ahead of pregnant women, young kids and people with underlying medical problems. An Alberta health official identified as “the most senior staff member involved” in the decision to allow the vaccination of members of the Flames and their families was fired.
Turns out the Flames aren’t alone. Members of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors have also received the hiney vaccine.
Angry? I don’t blame you, especially if you’ve stood for hours in line for a shot, only to find they’d run out. Or, if you’re an Albertan waiting at home or at work for fresh supplies of vaccines to arrive.
But please don’t blame the Flames, the Leafs or the Raptors. They didn’t jump the queue. To conclude they did so is to assume there was an orderly queue to begin with. We now know that the roll out of the vaccine—contrary to assertions by David Butler Jones, head of the Public Health Agency of Canada – has been anything but praiseworthy. It has been marked by confusion and lack of co-ordination.
Just today, it was reported in the Globe and Mail that more than half of vaccine doses are sitting idle and unused in storage because Ottawa’s early approval meant the provinces weren’t ready to deliver them. Given that, Health Canada might as well have tested the vaccine more thoroughly.
And when these people tell you they couldn’t anticipate a situation that keeps changing, keep in mind that they’ve been planning for a pandemic for years. They’ve had months to prepare for this one in particular and have all kinds of data on the behavior of this virus from the first wave to outbreaks in the Southern Hemisphere.
What should we make of the Flames and other professional sports teams? They got their shots because they were better organized.
Remember: there’s supposed to be enough – arguably much more than enough – vaccine for each and
every Canadian who wants one.
Want someone to blame? Try your federal and provincial governments and public health officials.
Previous Comments (5)
If you make something free people will want it if they need it or not. When it comes to this vaccine many people said they did not want the vaccine but are now waiting in line. If a fee were charged for vaccine or better yet the manufacturer could sell vaccine to the consumer for a profit I suspect shortages would no longer be problem and people would get vaccinated based on need.Brett Knoss, November 5, 2009 1:14 PM
Despite having lots of time to prepare - it's looking like the response of the politicos and the health authorities will rival Bush's handling of New Orleans. That said - the media's "sky-is-falling" minute by minute updates on the death toll isn't helping. The flu kills lots of Canadians each year but I don't remember the media giving flu related death counts prior to this year. I could understand the media hype if we had already surpassed the "normal" number of deaths from flu - but I doubt we are anywhere near appraoching that number. Seems the media likes to keep everybody angry or frightened - or preferable both.brian francis, November 5, 2009 4:19 PM
So now the politocos are calling for the CPSO to discipline doctors who give shots to, by virtue of power and/or prestigous, jump the que. I'm guessing their tough talk is just talk and is about optics. The real question is who will discipline the politicians who I'm betting jumped to the front of the line. I bet they got their shots long ago on the pretext that things would fall apart without them (when in truth we'd be better off without most of them).
I can see how in Canada hockey players and Tim Horton staff ought not be forced into line. But how do the Boards of Directors of hospitals justify jumping the que. Surely the front line staff can run Toronto hospitals even if some Board members get the swine flu?brian francis, November 6, 2009 2:05 PM
Dr. Goldman's brief comments on swine flue at the beginning of today's program were interesting on two accounts. First, I believe we need more comments putting swine flu into its proper perspective. Thankyou. Second, Dr. Goldman continues to do a disservice to the medical profession in Canada, particularly it's hard working and poorly rewarded family physicians. What has being paid well and easy work at the emergency clinic got to do with keeping Canadians healthy. The inference is that physicians in general and family physicians in particular, the front line of medical care in Canada, have an easy job and are laughing all the way to the bank. He may be well remunerated as an emergency doctor, but you can be sure that one of the reasons we have a massive shortage of family doctors is because of their low level of pay relative to how he (and other specialists) are paid. He will be making two to three times the pay of a family doctor, and walks out the door at the end of his shift. His arrogance shields him from seeing how hard working and dedicated front line physicians in this country are. Even the title of the show is unsupportive and misleading. I am disappointed in Dr. Goldman, and in CBC for giving him such strong billing. I turned him off. And no, I'm not a physician.Matt Law, November 7, 2009 12:38 PM
I have to agree that the roll out of the vaccine has been nothing short of incompemtent. I am an ICU nurse and have been on the front lines in our intensive care since the first outbreak. In our province the vaccine was rolled out to the community first for a full four days ahead of health care.When it was finally open to people working in the health care and hospitals guess who got there first? Office workers and clerical staff who had hours to wait in line ups. I and other nurses and doctors did not have time for that. Later I took my son to the prority clinic with my full ID and my nursing license. One of the public health nurses knew I was an ICU nurse. Denied my shot. No nights and weekend clinics at work until the following week. Now our province says trust the public health authority to make good decisions about priority groups. These are the same people who did not even consider emergency ICU staff priority vaccine groups. Now we are dealing with acute staffing shortages due to family illness from the HINI. The majority of nurses are mothers and guess who is sick now with HINI their school age children. Maybe in this pandemic plan that is going to cost us billions some genius might have thought of including front line workers families if they wanted staff for this pandemic for foolsElinor Kelly, November 15, 2009 10:43 AM