Thursday, October 29, 2009

Con-flusion, or how to put the panic into pandemic!

“We’re going to have less vaccine than we thought we were going to have,”-- Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall offering up some unexpected and rather disturbing news to The Vancouver Province

The Federal and provincial governments spent the better part of the summer reminding us about the H1N1 flu strain, the last month has seen the Canadian population overwhelmed by advisories and reports that it's vital that we should get both the H1N1 flu vaccine and the regular flu vaccine this flu season.

Now we get to the time of the year when we should all dutifully line up and get our shots, taking their advice to heart, refusing to give in to panic and offer some trust that the government knows what it's doing.

So, what do we hear today, that there is a major shortage of the flu vaccine and that the vaccine maker is falling far too short and far too behind schedule to meet the timetables that were set by the government not more than a week ago.

Vancouver Province-- Swine-flu vaccine shortage
Vancouver Province-- H1N1 vaccine supplies may run short, feds warn
Vancouver Sun-- B.C.'s H1N1 vaccine allotment reduced
Vancouver Sun-- Doctors' offices and walk-in clinics overwhelmed by H1N1 vaccine demands
National Post-- Clinics warned they will receive 'significantly less' H1N1 vaccine than expected
Globe and Mail-- Ottawa says provinces to get less flu vaccine than promised
CBC News-- Provinces get less H1N1 vaccine next week

To add some unintended levity for those of anxiously watching our neighbours as they sneeze and cough near us, Hedy Fry, the Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre offered up the suggestion that Parliament Hill should have its very own flu clinic.
We'll give her the benefit of the doubt that she spoke before this surprise shortage announcement was released, still it will no doubt be one of those great moments in Parliamentary speech making we are sure, ranking up there along the lines of Orwell's some animals are more equal than others.

Suddenly we get the feeling that perhaps our Government health officials aren 't as organized (or in Hedy's case as aware of the rest of us) as we were led to believe? The steady hand of organization that they were detailing a few weeks ago is rather quickly deteriorating into a fiasco of farcical nature.

Back here in the real world devoid of the politicians, one wonders where this leaves us all (the unwashed that we are), especially with the reported cases of the flu on the increase and the high season yet to come. This whole roll out seems to have been mis-handled from the get go, with confusing timetables and advisories as to who really should get the shot first, who is a priority and who isn't

Now it seems that the ongoing debate as to whether you should or should not get a flu shot may very well be moot in the short term, we wonder if the supplies will arrive in time to offer the protection we were told we needed, in time for us to need it?

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