Tuesday, November 24, 2009

HINI Pandemic of poor planning

Children suddenly dying, sick for one day, dead the next, no warning....no help. Is it an invasion of aliens...no it is the HINI virus and the media's sensationalistic coverage of it.

Ontario was ready! Armed with policy analysts and strategists, they decided to set up numerous clinics in out of the way places, open only for a few hours at a time. When the clinics opened, they were flooded with individuals desperate for the vaccine. The lineups rivalled that of Rock concerts. At least in at a Rock concert you are entertained! Here you are in a lineup for the priviledge of receiving health care, something we already pay dearly for in Ontario. The clinics were overwhelmed, the vaccine insufficient. When questioned as to why they were not prepared, one policy analyst, who was responsible for strategic planning, said they did not expect the turnout would be so great.

I can only assume that this analyst has no access to the internet, news or the radio to make such a foolish remark.

After weeks of long line ups, it was decided to hand out bracelets. Here those seeking the vaccine, drive to a remote spot, wait for about an hour, get a bracelet, drive back, wait again and drive home. Not a very green solution and a very poor patch up job for a poorly planned program. The government should be ashamed of itself.

Today I attended one of those lineups. I saw elderly people, the fear visible in their eyes, washing their hands with sanitizer, mothers who wanted to protect their children, working people all waiting in line to get a vaccine that they should receive from the family doctors...but wait...

Family doctors themselves had to apply for the honour of receiving the vaccine. My own doctor applied one month ago, still no sign of the elixir.

The program seeks to inform people by means of the internet. Which is fine, IF you have access to a computer. Many of the elderly people I spoke with today do not. The program also has a long and convoluted message on the city of Ottawa's phone line. No where does it mention you need a bracelet to attend a clinic. Some of the people I spoke with today were misinformed of that.

Most disturbing of all was what I heard from my family doctor. If you receive the HINI vaccine and the regular flu shot in close proximity, your risk for contracting HINI increases. I have seen this information NO where.

Therefore in addition to enduring long line ups in cold arenas, you can actually INCREASE your risk of contracting HINI.

While I have no experience of how this program is being implemented in other provinces, I can say that it is a disgrace in Ontario.

Children suddenly dying, sick for one day, dead the next, no warning....no help. Is it an invasion of aliens...no it is the HINI virus and the Ontario government's shameful mishandling of the situation.

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