Wait­ing our turn to get vac­ci­nated

Rules must be es­tab­lished and fol­lowed or the process will be chaotic.

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Editorial -

T he long line­ups, lengthy waits and frayed nerves at H1N1 flu clin­ics across P.E.I. this week were not the fault of the health-care sys­tem. Most of the prob­lems dur­ing the open­ing week of vac­ci­na­tions arose with peo­ple ‘jump­ing the line’.

The Depart­ment of Health is try­ing to ex­er­cise due dili­gence to en­sure that those Is­lan­ders most at risk get vac­ci­nated right away. A po­lice pres­ence was nec­es­sary in Char­lot­te­town on Thurs­day when health of­fi­cials were forced to screen peo­ple in or­der to keep line­ups un­der con­trol.

The first clin­ics were for peo­ple deemed most at risk from the swine flu. There were very spe­cific cat­e­gories, such as chron­i­cally ill, young chil­dren, abo­rig­i­nals and health-care work­ers. The de­tails were well ad­ver­tised but when the clin­ics opened, the lines were jammed with peo­ple in­el­i­gi­ble for the vac­cine at this time. That caused huge de­lays. Moth­ers with small chil­dren had to wait for hours in a lineup be­side peo­ple who just wanted to get their shot early.

At the very least it was in­con­sid­er­ate, and there could be more se­ri­ous con­se­quences later. One can un­der­stand the anger from peo­ple who waited in line for sev­eral hours only to be told they could not get a shot be­cause they didn’t fit the high-risk cat­e­gory. Se­niors, nor­mally the group most at risk in any other health cri­sis sit­u­a­tion, are not con­sid­ered a pri­or­ity. It’s hard for some to ac­cept this.

Once the strict screen­ing process started at the Sher­wood clinic, for ex­am­ple, the lines and waits dis­ap­peared. Peo­ple ar­rived, got pro­cessed and re­ceived a vac­ci­na­tion.

One can also un­der­stand that many peo­ple are wor­ried about wait­ing an ex­tra week or two. But when they are putting the health of oth­ers at risk, and caus­ing a ma­jor in­con­ve­nience for health-care work­ers, there is re­ally no ex­cuse for such be­hav­iour.

Just a short time ago, many Cana­di­ans were not sure if they would get the swine flu shot. That all changed with the tragic deaths of sev­eral young peo­ple, in­clud­ing a 13-year-old healthy boy in On­tario. That caused par­ents to take no­tice. You can’t blame them for want­ing the H1N1 shots for their chil­dren right away. But there is only so much vac­cine avail­able each week, only so many health-care work­ers avail­able, and only so many clinic lo­ca­tions. Rules must be es­tab­lished and fol­lowed or the process will be chaotic.

Re­cently re­tired health-care work­ers de­serve our thanks for an­swer­ing the call to help with the clin­ics. As­sess­ment cen­tres have also eased the anx­i­ety some­what. If you are ill, go to a cen­tre and pro­fes­sion­als will de­cide on the best op­tions.

The con­sen­sus is that week one went as well as could be ex­pected. If we wait our turn, every­one should be looked af­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.