11.03.2009

Canada and Ontario took unacceptable risks

The current H1N1 vaccination effort is a mammoth job. It is made larger by the fact that every western country is trying to do the same thing at the same time. Alas we have shortages and the Ontario vaccination effort forcing people to line up for hour after hour until seven or eight hours go by is bizarre by Canadian standards of care.

These lineups were made inevitable due to the lack of foresight or outright risk taking by the Ontario Mike Harris government and in some cases by the current McGinty government. Harris slashed the heck out of public health in this province and McGinty has failed to fix it beyond a few band-aids and another round of reorganization.

We have learned little it seems from SARS or WALKERTON. The government has slashed or reorganized public health to a point that when they have to address a monumental task like the H1N1 vaccination of the entire population, they have few staff or resources available to get the job done.

It use to be that these vaccinations would occur in schools for our children. Seems to me that it would be much easier for the system to set up at each school and do this. Perhaps a team of nurses could do a few schools every day. They could even do this is daycare and kindergarten.

Large employers could deliver this to staff at work. Non-profit, Co-op's and community housing would be great places to do these shots as well. People could sign up online for a a window of time to get their shots. Many people living with compromised immune systems belong to or receive services from community organizations that could deliver the flu vaccine.

No the Ontario option has been to make people line-up for hours at a time or be one of the lucky to belong to a private clinic. All you need is $2300 a year for personalized care. Then there are all the staff in public health that are being run ragged. Working long hours and taking abuse from angry folks that have lined up for several hours.

Our health care system is being rationalized out of business. Our once vaunted status as a nation that looks after its citizens, where health care is a right, is showing severe signs of strain and lacking credibility. I live in St. Jamestown. The health care system could easily set up in the lobby of each building and vaccinate thousands of people in a few days and people would not have to stand in line for hours.

I believe those at the top have rolled the dice. They have measured the risks and gone ahead and accepted that lack of resources and staffing is acceptable for these "rare" occasions.

5 comments:

penlan said...

"We have learned little it seems from SARS or Waterton."

That's WALKERTON, not Waterton. :)

Ricky Barnes said...

Thank you, correction made.

Rick Barnes said...

Looks like Ontario is looking at setting up clinics in schools and workplaces,

today's toronto star

http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/swineflu/article/720187--flu-shot-overhaul-in-works-after-31-deaths-in-ontario

penlan said...

Good news on more clinics then! Troubling statistics in that article though on the no. of people hospitalized right now with H1N1 & the no. of deaths. In Perth County, where I live, there is an investigation into an H1N1 death also. Hasn't been confirmed yet.

Darwin O'Connor said...

The first people who need to be vaccinated are the elderly and those under 5 years old, the very people who don't usually go to school or work.

I expect what you describe will happen once the priority groups are vaccinated.