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.

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