H1N1 Vaccination Clinics Overwhelmed by Crowds in Canada
H1N1 Clinics have been overwhelmed across the country this week. The vaccine was approved by Health Canada a week ago and clinics jumped into action.
In some cases, people waited up to eight hours just to be turned away as clinics closed for the day. It would appear that this is another example of incompetence in planning and executing a plan.
Priorities were set to vaccinate the most vulnerable,
- People under 65 with chronic health conditions
- Pregnant women
- Children 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- People living in remote and isolated settings or communities
- Health care workers involved in pandemic response or the delivery of essential health care services
- Household contacts and care providers of persons at high risk who cannot be immunized or may not respond to vaccines
- Populations otherwise identified as high risk
When it came to execution there was a lack of organization and control. Health Canada announced a delay in delivery for vaccinations next week, since the manufacturer had to retool to produce the vaccine for pregnant women. This caused a rush to clinics yesterday with many being turned away.
In one case a clinic was being conducted at an Olympic training venue in Calgary, increasing the risk to athletes preparing for the Vancouver Olympics.
Alberta Health and Wellness has canceled all its clinics for next week and is now planning to vaccinate high priority groups.
With the flu already spreading across the country and particularly across Alberta, will the flu be administered in time. It takes two weeks for this vaccine to become effective protection after it is administered.
Many flu clinics across the country had to close early Saturday as thousands of Canadians joined long lineups to get the H1N1 vaccine.
People lined up for hours as clinics were overwhelmed by the demand, forcing some to be turned away. Some people may have rushed to get their shot following the announcement earlier in the week that supplies would diminish next week.
Most clinics in Edmonton closed their lineups at about 12:30 p.m. local time, turning away new arrivals. All five clinics in Calgary stopped accepting patients by about 9 a.m. Some people had arrived as early as 4 a.m.
Alberta health officials later announced that the clinics have been suspended immediately because of a national reduction in the number of available vaccine doses. Officials said they will roll out a plan early next week for targeted H1N1 vaccinations, focusing only on those at the greatest risk.