Tuesday, November 3, 2009

To KFL&A Public Health

To whom it may concern:

I arrived at the flu clinic at 8am for the 10am opening. I was 12th in line. Ahead of me were four people over 65 (they told me they were over 65), knowing full well that the clinic was for those under 65 with chronic conditions only. We waited until 10am, when pregnant women, children under 2 years old, then children under 5 years old skipped the line. I agreed with the first two categories skipping the line, and further agreed when those in wheel chairs and on oxygen were individually pulled out of line. But that only added about 15 minutes to my wait.

When those under 5 years of age were added, a long line formed. In fact, the line was so long that I did not get my flu shot under 11am. In spite of being 12th in line, I waited for over an hour to get my shut! The clinic opened around 9:45 am, opening early, but all the children under 5 years old getting priority meant that the 12th person in line did not get seen until 11am!

You need to reconsider your organizational system. By having the "special" high risk include children under 5 years of age, it delayed opening of the line to "general" high risk by over an hour. That is unacceptable.

Also special exemptions for those OVER 65 is not right. Rules are there for a reason, based on risk. Those over 65, you tell us, have a partial immunity to this strain because a similar flu circulated many years ago. I will, however, consider advising my older relatives (over 65) with cancer that if they make a case with the doctor on-site, they will get an exemption.

Thank you for reading my concerns.



  1. Sigh. I find this whole vacine situation such a mess. It's very frustating and I'm not even in the line ups! I hate to 'blame' but our government was definitely not prepared for this one.

  2. I agree... Four hour line up this week at our vaccination center, and that's just for LP (who's on the priority list), we would have to come back later and wait in line again (not to mention kiddo's second dose). It makes me think what if this pandemic was so terrible, what if nearly everyone who caught the flu died, what if it was an absolute emergency to vaccinate the entire population within a week? We would be in deep, deep trouble right now. Not sure what to do in our case, my instinct says wait a couple of weeks, but then everyone tells me it might be too late...

    Sad to see that the Ontario gov. is not handling this better than the Quebec one... I don't like to overtly blame either but there's a clear lack of direction and organization here.

  3. Marie-Eve: if the pandemic was that bad, I'd just lock up my family in the house for a couple weeks. If you don't see anyone, you can't get sick.

    In parts of Ontario, parents of high risk individuals (such as young children) get vaccinated. In parts of Ontario, they don't. So it's hit-and-miss.

    I heard that in Manitoba, there are FOUR vaccination clinics for the ENTIRE PROVINCE. Now that is mismanagement.

  4. I just wanted to give you an update... LP got vaccinated yesterday and things went much, much better than expected. After chaos and hours-long lines on Monday the authorities decided to come up with a better system: we went on Wednesday after work, waited five minutes, and they gave us a coupon that entitled us to come back the next day at a specific hour. When we got there, we waited 20 minutes, tops, and everything was really efficient and quick (and the people were nice and hard-working).

    They did not vaccinate us though, which is a little less convenient, but hey, at least if my son is, I feel a little better already. This depends on the region where you live, since my sister and brother-and-law did get their shot when they went with their baby. Yesterday at our vaccination center, there were a lot workers that weren't very busy, they COULD have handled many more people, but I think the problem is that the number of doses available is still limited.

    Anyway since I don't like blaming and criticizing, especially for nothing, I wanted to stand corrected from my previous comment...

    This morning a journalist from La Presse made an analogy I really liked: people often whine and compare our health system to the one from a Third World country (I disagree, you know my take on that), but in the last few days it complied to standards much more like the one from a Scandinavian country. Even with a few hurdles and delays, they managed to get 700 000 people in Quebec vaccinated in about 10 days. Very well done!

  5. Haha - nice analogy. Thanks for the update!