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Vancouver Canucks

Uh Oh. Did the Canucks Jump the Flu Line?‏

Vancouver CanucksAccording to the Vancouver Sun (and quite a few other Canadian media outlets), it appears that some members of the Vancouver Canucks jumped the queue for the H1N1 flu vaccine, getting it last Sunday or Monday. After all of the controversy that the Calgary Flames went through last month regarding getting flu vaccines at a private clinic while ordinary Albertans were being turned away at clinic doors, you’d think the Canucks would know better. However, there’s one critically different circumstance between the two incidents.

As stated, the Flames got their shots during the worst of the vaccine shortage. Long lines were commonplace, people were turned away because clinics had run out. When the Canucks did it, however, the scarcity was not pronounced, there were no long lines, and the fact that there even is a queue would shortly come to be untrue (BC Provincial Health Minister Perry Kendall ended all restrictions on the flu shot on Friday). According to the Vancouver Sun article:

“But Gillis, who was among the Canuck staffers who received the H1N1 vaccine this week, insisted the team waited its turn.

He cited comments made Friday by Dr. David Butler-Jones, Canada’s chief public health officer, who told an Ottawa news conference “we are broadening our recommendations for the use of unadjuvanted vaccine.”"

Unfortunately for Gillis, the official lifting of restrictions is up to provincial officials and Kendall had not lifted those restrictions as of Monday. However, Gillis still feels the Canucks did nothing wrong. According to 24 Hours (a local Vancouver daily),

“The decision to make the vaccine available to the general public came sooner than expected.

Kendall said surprisingly low turnout at flu clinics this week made the call an easy one.”

This is why Kendall lifted the restriction today. The Vancouver Sun article says “Gillis said it was his understanding that the vaccine has a shelf life and some Lower Mainland doctors feared their supply was going to go to waste because “patients weren’t going to get the shot.”"

So, are the Canucks in the wrong here? Personally, I would say they are, but only slightly, demonstrating just a little impatience. They could have easily waited the five days until the restrictions were lifted. That being said, it’s very possible that Gillis and the Canucks simply didn’t know that that just because the federal Public Health Officer stated that they were broadening the recommendations for distributing the vaccine, it didn’t mean that all restrictions were lifted. Surely the doctor who administered the vaccine should have known that, though? Mistakes happen, though, so I’m not blaming the doctor either.

The Canucks are guilty of jumping the gun rather than muscling ahead of ordinary, desperate people who are getting turned away. It shouldn’t come close to reaching the level of hysteria that came out when the Flames did the same thing.

Given the way the media works, though, don’t count on it.

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