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Notes on a non-crisis

A child died, and everyone flipped—couple that with large numbers of queue-jumpers and you have a recipe for chaos


 

091104_N1H1_2A summary of what we know now:

– The federal government put in an order for 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine — enough to vaccinate everyone in the country 1.5 times — with GlaxoSmithKline in early August. As of this week, GSK has delivered to the feds, and the feds have shipped to the provinces, 6.7 million doses. But at last count only 2 million had been administered. The feds have delivered nearly twice as many doses, per capita, as the Obama administration (deliveries in the US have lately crested 30 million), and claim to have the highest per capita delivery rate in the world, but even if they had delivered twice as many again, they’d only ensure that 10 million doses were backed up waiting to be administered.

– Perhaps the vaccinations should have been ready sooner. But two decisions, both medically defensible, contributed to this. One, they held off producing the H1N1 vaccine, on the advice of the public health officer, to produce the seasonal flu variant — understandably, since it’s far more deadly, at least in the short run. And two, they slowed production of the adjuvanted (more potent) vaccine this week, in favour of the unadjuvanted variety, which the World Health Organization had recommended as safer for pregnant women. The WHO has since changed its mind.

– Even at that, we might have got by without the lineups of the past week. Not two weeks ago, the public gave every indication of giving the whole thing a pass. Polls showed only a small minority intended to get vaccinated. So the authorities were likely planning on the basis of a leisurely take-up rate. Then 13-year-old hockey player died suddenly of the disease, and everyone flipped — from apathy to mass panic, in the space of a couple of days. Couple that with large numbers of queue-jumpers, healthy adults who are not among the high-priority, and you have a recipe for incipient chaos.

– There is no emergency. The current flu outbreak kills at a fraction of the rate of regular, seasonal flu, which hardly anyone worries about. The child who died of the disease was freakishly unlucky. Obviously the sooner the better, but it’s debatable whether anyone will die because the vaccinations are administered in November rather than October, since you have to take the already tiny proportion of people who would have been susceptible to dying from it, divide that by the proportion of those who would have caught it in the absence of a vaccine, and divide that by the proportion of those who would have had the foresight to get themselves vaccinated.

– Should the government have relied on a single supplier? Maybe, maybe not. But the Liberals are ill placed to make this point, since the contract to supply the flu vaccine was signed with Ste. Foy, Quebec-based Shire BioChem (later bought by GSK) in 2001, by the Chretien government: a 10-year contract worth $323.5-million. CTV reports the Liberals received a $56,000-plus donation from Shire BioChem that same year.

– The Auditor General makes some good points about emergency planning — in general. But she was auditing the Public Safety department, not Public Health, and she did not look specifically at the H1N1 issue. Doubtless there has been some bungling, but this was a) mostly by the provinces, who are responsible for administering the vaccine, b) no worse than garden variety government bungling, c) probably made worse by the confusion of overlapping roles between three levels of government. Some provinces have done a better job than others, and within each province some regions have done better than others.

– Bottom line: This was an inherently difficult undertaking: the largest vaccination program in the country’s history. The task now should not be to point fingers, but to learn so we can all do a better job the next time, when the stakes may be very much higher.


 

Notes on a non-crisis

  1. Better. Saying "The Americans did it too!" isn't any sort of justification, this one is reasonable.

  2. You're going to upset a lot of left wing crazies with this kind of factual argument Andrew. They have spent an entire week trying to blame this on Harper and to have to face the facts now will cause them to go into hysterics.

    Maybe Ignatieff and the rest of the clowns in the Liberal party can request another emergency sitting of the house to further discuss how well the Conservatives have managed this crisis in comparison to our peer nations.

    What imaginary scandal will the Liberals concoct next?

    • I want to see you repeat these comments when kids who haven't been vaccinated because of the total incompetence of the Harper government start dying from H1N1, Dakota. Your buddy Stevie is going to wear this and you know it.

      • Hypeventiallation at its worst….kids will die…..

        If your child under 5 needs the vaccination they can get it…..full stop. Just saw on cp24 the lines at metro hall in toronto, panic ground zero, a small line with lots of chairs, likely under an hour. It is supply of convenient access at this stage not supply of vaccine.

        • Kids have died. 87% of those who died in Mexico during the first wave were between 5 and 59 years old, and 71% of the same age group were severe cases. This is a total inversion of how influenza normally affects a population by age. It's not 'hyperventilation', it's what is actually happening. I guess, like the Harper Conservatives, you don't take H1N1 seriously either.

          • Facts are good things. And you are correct it affects children with underlying conditions. But to jump from that fact to the the alarmist argument that the government is responsible for dying children is ridiculous and cheap. Your argument begins and ends with emotionalism.

            As I said, if you have a child under 5 or one with an underying condition you can get the vaccine in the next 24 hours, maybe the next couple of hours if you live near a clinic thats open. Tell me how that is an uncaring government at the provincial or federal level?

          • Fact : children have died from H1N1, both here and in Mexico last April-May.

            Fact : the federal government did not plan its roll out of vaccine until after the flu season started in October.

            Fact : the federal government gave priority to seasonal flu when H1N1 represents a much greater threat, both in terms of mortality and in terms of allocation of health resources, resulting in a delay in vaccine production.

            Fact : the government stuck with a sole source supplier when it clearly needed other types of vaccine produced, the purchase of unadjuvanted vaccine from Australia being the proof.

            Fact : the World Health Organization declared H1N1 a global pandemic on 11 June 2009.

            Fact : medical studies of Mexicans who either died or were seriously ill as a result of H1N1 show that 71 percent of severe cases were among people 5 to 59, compared to a usual average of 32 percent for seasonal flu.

            Argument : the Conservative government of Stephen Harper did not do everything possible to protect Canadians from H1N1 in view of the obvious threat it posed, particularly to children.

            Argument : the failure of the Harper Conservative government to take timely action to ensure vaccination of children and others who are particularly vulnerable to H1N1 in a timely manner has resulted in deaths which could have been prevented.

            Conclusion : we need a new government.

          • FACT: Bob Rae cut funding to schools for doctors he is "responsible" for lack of family doctors too!

            FACT: You are fearmongering and ignoring rational debate because of your anti CPC position.

          • Bob Rae did not prepare for this pandemic when he was the premier 14 years ago!

            What a stupid argument you are making.

          • You entered silly points and I followed up on your faulty logic. Your entire basis to find a scapegoat is based on your political idealogy.

            Fact: Babies are born everyday.
            Fact: People die everyday.
            Fact: Seatbelts saves lives.

          • Bob Rae chose to make cuts and a lack of medical doctors is reducing the amount of trained professionals available to provide injections.

            Your twisted logic is played out for you.

          • Of course. Everything that has happened or not happened in the last 6 months on the federal level is the fault of somebody who was the Premier of a single province 19 years ago. If that's all you Conservative trolls have to add to the debate, you're better to shut up. You're only doing your own side a great deal of discredit.

          • Fact: Keeping your mullet haircut proves nothing.

            No one is stating perfection or errors have not been made.

            Fact: No shortage.

            Fact: Your idealogy, using death as props again, your leader is not liked by 85%.

            Fact: Only 55% of Liberals think MI should stay as leader.

          • I agree with your first factoid, the rest is the usual rubbish, same old, same old.

          • Your last point drives your whole discussion. It is called Spin, which is the marshalling of facts to support an opinion. Rather than letting the facts drive you to a conclusion.

            Additionally your second argument is an unproveable, prvenetable deaths, if they had the vaccine and if they had taken it befor ethey were infected. The US startegy to get earlier vaccination going was a live vaccine, which cant be used with the groups your crocodile tears fall for. Their vaccine for vulnerable groups arrived at a similar time. The vaccine being used in Canada is the same as one in Europe, Health Canada had to do its due diligence, or would you rather they have shortened the steps further?

            Nobody who needs a vacine right now, the defined groups, is refused, Fact, in your parlance. The issue was supply of access, that is now expanding, I just saw a new clinic open in my neighborhood today, if that had only happened earlier. As I have said, we will have no supply issues by US thanksgiving, the whole program will be up to speed, and the pipeline will be full of vaccine and the inventory of unused vaccine will be growing.

          • Agreed the Liberals are desperate with 85% negative Job Approval rating.

            The Media have done a horrible job on managing the news and creating hysteria.

            The poor partisans "bedwetters" can't accept a reality that keeps them out of power. This is a time when all levels and parties should be working together instead of trying to score cheap shots.

          • Sorry you don't like it when the Liberals start acting like an Opposition. You'll get used to it soon enough, don't worry.

          • The problem with most of the points that you are making is that all of these decisions would have been made on the recommendation of public health officials and bureaucrats. If a decision has been wrong, it is foolish to blame the CPC. Politicians do not have expertise in pandemics and must rely on the best judgment of professionals. If you can come up with an example of CPC ignoring good professional advice, then you might have something to gripe about.

          • Wrong. It is up to politicians to provide leadership and tell their bureaucrats what they want accomplished and when.

          • Wrong. Morons like you are all about anti-CPC tirade. .

          • Conservatives like you calling people who disagree with you 'morons' is why your boy Stevie will never get a majority. Nobody trusts your party.

      • A kid has a much, much higher chance of being killed in a car accident when you are driving them to the clinic for vaccination, than he or she does from dying of H1N1.

        If you walk him or her to the clinic…their chances of being hit and killed as a pedestrian are still higher than their chance of dying from H1N1.

        Let's keep some perspective here before running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

        • Actually, if I am not mistaken, according to actuarial tables the chances of someone dying as a pedestrian walking on the sidewalk is higher than the chances of dying as a passenger in a vehicle. So you are more likely to die walking your kids to the clinic, than from getting H1N1.

      • All else aside you're a fear mongering idiot! If IM had any defense of his party's reprehensible behaviour on this file it is now gone. The media sees an opening for ratings, the Liberals see an opening for political advantage. The only people who will wear this are you and your ilk.

        • Insults aren't arguments. If you have nothing to add than insults, shut up.

        • Agreed the Liberals did not learn the lesson the NDP took when they attacked Paul Martin for the homeless freezing that one winter.

          Liberals are acting like a desperate party jumping on every item. Logos, torches, wafers, bodybags, doorknobs. They have become the party of props and no substance.

          • Wow, more insults and no points to make. You lost the argument. Crawl back under your rock, nematode.

          • Mullethead poster with Zero creditibily. Schooled by at least 5 posters. Cheers

          • At least I can spell.

    • Please, no more meeting.No more Carolyn Bennett.She comes across as such a shrew. Licking her lizard like lips.

      • Excellent ,I watched her on
        cpac last night great describtion.

        • the b is nowhere near the p on the keyboard, i'm genuinely curious at how you came up with the spelling.

    • well said Dakota : quite frankly I find a lot of what is coming out of the mouths of lieberl;as of late to be morally reprehensible!

    • Hum – how about anything that will direct attention away from "Count" Ignatieff and his plodding year as leader of the opposition? He makes Dion look photogenic and competent.

  3. My only comment is that the same deployment may be due to limited quantities. I’ve been told at my workplace that they would like to run a clinic in-house, but are unable to obtain any vaccine. Either the province or the feds are preventing those millions of doses in the pipeline from being distributed.

    • That's the scandal of the hour, I think. If the Feds have shipped out all this vaccine, where did they ship it? Why can't the places that are equipped to give it out obtain it? Who is hoarding it all?

      • The logistical complexity of multiple site vaccinations (workplaces, schools, etc… ) is extreme. There would be great potential for waste, abuse of the system, staffing problems, etc. Even using family doctors would have limits: not everyone has one, and their offices could well be flooded for this purpose, to the detriment of people with other illnesses that need attention.

        But that said, I'm not feeling overwhelmed with information from the provincial and regional levels about the status of shipments and distribution.

        • Family doctors would have been DISASTROUS. Refrigeration rules fall apart as soon as the chain-of-custody gets there, and can you imagine our insanely stressed doctor network, dealing with all it has to now (hands up — who DOESN'T have a family doctor right now even though you're looking for one?), suddenly having a line-up of between eighty and eight hundred vaccine-seekers? Every morning?

      • My bet is George Smitherman, who plans on innoculating all as he campaigns for mayor…..

    • the health units are hoarding…why?
      Does this have anything to do with union contracts?????

      • Now you are really making $h1t up. They are not hoarding, they are simply unable to get the vaccines into arms at in one sole instant. Silly Wilson.

        • Make up your mind, shortage of vaccine or logistics problem with local officials doing their best. Don't wait for facts keep looking for a scapegoat.

          • Yes, you Conservatives should make up your minds which lame excuse you want to give parents who have lost children to H1N1 because of your complete and total incompetence, and stick to that one story. At least if you stick to the same lie and keep repeating it enough, somebody is bound to believe you, eventually.

    • In house vaccinations are a typical annual event UNLESS you haven't available health care professionals.
      Just ask the Calgary Flames what que jumping looks like these days and the decision by the senior health care worker that arranged it, has him/her working on a resume, as we speak.

      • He could always join the Liberal MD Panel. I heard Hedy Fry wants her own special queue as well.

  4. Finally, some sanity.

    • What part of no shortage confuses you? How did 6.7 million doses get used up in 8 days? Ignoring some mistakes were made at the provincial and local level in regards to location, staffing, hours (logistics)

      This is not the time to use deaths or victims as props for your party. Sars was overblown with 44 deaths. Stop throwing gas on the fire with useless points.

      • Especially when the max capacity of those wonderful clinics in Ontario was about 1500 arms a day? Thats 1666.666 clinic days of supply. So lets divide that by 7 and see how many clinic would have needed to have been operatin in Ontario to use up their hoard.

        238 clinics…..they arent there yet, including Dr's offices…..but they will get there. Ontario is worried about stocking inventory right now. The next couple million doses stocks the clinics and outs enough in the pipeline.

        Its about logistics and access.

  5. Sorry, that should be "How come officials decided not to get more bottled elsewhere in June…'

  6. I warned you Andrew…the crazies are already out!

    • So you have no reasonable response to these facts.

      • Your "facts" are not quite right. It was the vaccine ingredient (the antigen) that was exported, no the vaccine itself. There's a surplus of antigen at GSK's plant, not of the vaccine.

        It's like saying I have 1000 eggs to prepare 10 cakes, but I only need 100 eggs, so I'll sell the other 900. What you're saying is that I shouldn't sell the excess eggs, because I haven't baked the cakes yet. But it makes no difference, because I wouldn't have used the excess eggs anyway. They're just sitting in the fridge, and will never be used.

        • You are going to make the crazies even crazier if you keep poking them with facts!

      • GSK also manufactured the vaccine for the seasonal flu,
        which the Cdn Lung Assoc says causes 4000+ deaths per year,.
        The mfg of H1N1 was delayed by only one week.

        GSK already has an exclusive 10 yr contract with the feds,
        why would GSK be lobbying the govt, excpt for an extention after 2011?
        David Akin has Paul Lucas, GlaxoSmithKline as meeting with ministers in 2008,
        not sure if the 2009 list is up?

      • Andrew answered your second question

        Your first question is they exported the component of the vaccine that they have in abundance.

        As for lobbyist, once again you have a 10 year contract signed by JC's governemnt. So how does the lobbying matter.

        Do you have any reasonable questions?

        • Why didn't they start ordering it in May instead of waiting until August.? Whgy didn't they order it is July?

          • I think the first window to order was July and you get the insertion of the seasonal flu order in there. Its the wrong tree to bark up, we are talking literlaly a matter of days, 10 or so in which they could have accelerated their order.

            It is a legitimate debate, one that can be reviewed later from medical point of view. But if you were the Health Minister and the recommendation from the bureacracy after much discussion and analysis is this then what you would you do…..what information in July was available to the Minister to make her doubt that the plan recommended was the wrong one? And why did none of the provincial health authorities object to this plan of action?

            Tell me why she should have overriden the recommendation and what infomation that was available to her that would drive her to substitute her judgement for that of the this widely consulted group?

          • Could they not have had two different companies producing the different vaccines? And for this latest pause to produce non-adjuvant for pregnant women; was this a political decision? Since the WHO announced that the vaccine with adjuvant was OK for pregnant women and probably provided more protection from H1N1, the pause was not necessary.

          • Decision making is so easy after that fact, isn't it?

          • Once again, the issue is two fold, how fast supply of vaccine arrives and what is the supply of access. The lines were caused by insufficeint access being available due initially to start up issues and demand. The one week hiccup in H1N1 production has caused some delays in the increase of access. Ontario has no excuse for that though, they represent the biggest laggards in using their vaccine. Deliveries are in the millions of doses a weel agian so unfortuantley for the opposition the issue is likely to be gone soon.

          • Did you even read Andrew's article?????

            He also addressed the adjuvant pause. The WHO reveresed/ammended/updated its recommendation after they placed the order for the non adjuvanted vaccine. A political decision??? Honestly, the answer prior to them placing the order was that there was no evidence that adjuvant wasnt safe but all the trial werent in so they couldnt certify it. This wasn't a good enough answer for some, it is unsatisfying, so the government placed an order to ensure there was coverage. Not sure how that was purely poltiical.

            As for the two companies, well yes, but they already had one locked up at a good price. I suspect there is facility certification that happens not just product certification (this is an educated specualtion on my part) so getting a second line going would have meant certifying a new factory, at additional cost to having another order, when one believes they have already purchased enough supply.

          • GSK has a sole source contract, signed in 2001, and good for a decade. There was no sign during the summer that GSK would have any trouble, and therefore no reason at that time for the feds to start looking elsewhere. Had they done so, it would have been a breach of contract.

            As for the CBC report, they got it wrong. Whole vaccines are NOT being exported. A single ingredient of the vaccine – which happens to be in OVER-supply, is. Either CBC glossed over that fact or they didn't know. It happens. Reporters aren't perfect.

            The pause in manufacturing occurred BEFORE the WHO announced the adjuvanted vaccine was safe for pregnant women. Andrew makes this crystal clear above when he says: "The WHO has since changed its mind." 'Since' means 'after'.

            I apologize if I sound like I'm talking down to you. I 'm afraid I'm just not very good with kids.

          • The antigen being exported is the main ingredient. They are exporting it because they do not have the capacity to bottle all of it. Which suggests that GSK should not have been the only source for Canada's vaccines. Especially since they have only one production line which is why it was a very bad political decision to stop producing the regular vaccine to produce one that pregnant women do not really need; and why could they not havechenged their mind given the WHO report of Oct 30?. As for your supposed contract, ask any lawyer; contracts can be broken.

          • Yup.

          • Why was it a political decision? do you have proof it was a political decision, wasnt the unadjuvanted vaccine required, prior to friday? Actually it wasnt, but it became pretty clear that the customers, preganant women, wanted a certified product rather than simply one that was not shown to have side effects.

            What I like about Holly's position is she/he gets to argue both sides of the trail no matter what. Sign of a pro.

          • Contracts can not always be broken. Unless there is an exit clause, you're looking at some pretty severe liabilities if you try.

            That being said, as a professional buyer, I would love to see the terms of that 10 year contract (and why it was 10 years) before I start blaming anyone, conservative or liberal (although it is the liberals who signed it in the first place).

          • The amount of companies is a NON issue. There is NO shortage. The provinces can't keep up.

        • I would find it hard to believe that the contract was _exclusive_.

          Anyone have details?

          • It's been reliably reported elsewhere that the contract did not preclude shoppping elsewhere.

          • google Glaxcosmithkline and you will find out everything you want to know, or need to know, plus a lot of other stuff. Like 20% of all production must go to WHO,. You know that org of the UN who banned DDT and caused millions of deaths from Malaria. They changed their mind re what vaccine was good and what wasn't. You will also find they have contracts with 9 other countries to produce said vaccine, exclusively.
            You will not find another lab could have produced this vaccine. The contract is there till 2011, and of course they would lobby to have it extended. Bet it isn't.

          • Nobody banned DDT, and certainly the WHO could not have done so. Do you have any credible evidence for that 20% claim?

          • All the info is at the GSK site, google it and read.
            Yes, the WHO did ban DDT several years ago, and just recently said it is ok to use it.
            The ban was the result of NGOs and other left wing nutgroups. If you don't know these facts it is obvious you are making decisions on emotions not facts.

          • That is false. The WHO did not ban it. You are repeating lies.

          • It appears the truth lies in the middle…(at least according to wikipedia), it is approved, but they hope to get rid of it soon…

            Today, DDT remains on the WHO's list of insecticides recommended for IRS. Since the appointment of Arata Kochi as head of its anti-malaria division, WHO's policy has shifted from recommending IRS only in areas of seasonal or episodic transmission of malaria, to also advocating it in areas of continuous, intense transmission.[82] The WHO has none-the-less affirmed its commitment to eventually phasing DDT out, aiming "to achieve a 30% cut in the application of DDT world-wide by 2014 and its total phase-out by the early 2020s if not sooner" while simultaneously combating malaria. The WHO plans to implement alternatives to DDT to achieve this goal.[83]

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT

          • WHO actively promoted indoor residual spraying for malaria control until the early 1980s when increased health and environmental concerns surrounding DDT caused the organization to stop promoting its use and to focus instead on other means of prevention. Extensive research and testing has since demonstrated that well-managed indoor residual spraying programmes using DDT pose no harm to wildlife or to humans.

          • Possibly the $56,000.00 donated to the liberal party would answer your question, and makes you wonder if it came attached to a brown envelope, something the Libs under Cruton were famous for.

          • What of Brian Mulroney & KHS?

            The point is that crappy behaviour fueled by greed is common to all humankind, not the sole proprietorship of any one political party.

          • Great point. We need a public inquiry on the real reason Shire BioChem gave $56,000 to the Liberal Party of Canada in 2001.

          • I'm sure the reason is the same one that used to fill party coffers before the limits were put in place: to curry favour. That was the point of limiting donations and opening the public funding on a per vote basis. Remember that? Trying to eliminate It resulted ina coalition/ prorogation.

            You can investigate it if you wish, but my hunch is that it would cost a lot of money and would spur investigations into contributions to all the parties.
            As my post indicated, this kind of behaviour is endemic to <i<all parties</i>

          • You call it currying favour and I'll call it something else. It's not like there weren't all sorts of other shady dealings going on with the Liberal Party at the time. And we don't have to investigate all parties. We just set the terms to investigate this one donation and may some questionable other ones. That's how you get a good show trial (I was being facetious in calling for the inquiry).

    • You've backed up your argument by linking to an anti-Tory blog?

  7. For me, the issue isn't one of manufacturing or delivering the vaccine.

    The issue is one of public education. If the Conservatives had invested even 10% of the time and money it spent on partisan advertising instead on educating the public about H1N1, its symptoms, what to do if one contracts it, and what the government vaccination plan is (which no one seems to know for certain), then perhaps there wouldn't be needless panic in the first place.

    • Those who didn't know about H1N1 weren't interested.
      There was daily education ads here in Alberta, trying to encourage residents to get the shot,
      the symptoms, hand washing and the availability of Tamiflu for every person who did get sick.

    • The panic was caused, as Andrew said, by a healthy thirteen year old dying within 48 hours on the eve of the clinics starting. I was in those lines the first day, my daughter has athsma, and I can tell that is exactly what I heard from all the people I spoke with and the feedback from the people running the clinic. The silence from Toronto Public Health offering any explaination for the death means the message was, this is random and can strike anyone anywhere…..so you tell me how you fight that, especially when you have children?

      An education campaign would not have helped, they were running one anyway. The lineups were the increase in demand from the understandably worried parents, the inefficient operation of the mass clinics and slowness of the provinces getting vaccine into the hands of local doctors, a logisticis exercise to some degree(there was a breakdown of bulk packing required to repack to smaller shipment sizes)

      • That same boy was turned away from a walk in clinic.

        • Not true. He was examined by the walk in clinic. the listened to his chest and said his breathing was fine and sent him home.

          Should they have given him Tamiflu, in hindsight yes. It isnt clear if he died of respiratory failure or heart failure, this flu, as all flus can, infect the heart and the bodies defence damages it.

          Anyway, I wish the Toronto Health Authority would have provided more detail, because the non explaination is what causes the panic, making it seem random (which it may have been)

      • I agree. Nothing brings on the fear like something that threatens the welfare of your children. Stuff like that just snowballs

    • There was no need for more public education there was enough , I got three pamphlets in the mail, telling me the shots would start in November, in fact they started earlier.!, unless you lived in a cave over the summer, you would not have missed all the media coverage on the symptoms , and who gets it. Yest still 50% said they would not take the shots.

    • I got this information in a brochure from the Ontario government. Are you suggesting Feds should have duplicated their work?

  8. The task now should not be to point fingers," Andrew said as he pointed his fingers at the Liberals for signing a 10 year contract.

    • Not at all. It's not clear to me that there's anything wrong with using a single supplier: certainly there's no evidence of it having contributed to the alleged "shortage" of vaccines. But if the Liberals are going to make out that it's an error on the government's part to have maintained that arrangement, they surely have to answer why they entered into it in the first place.

      • There would have been industrial policy goals being met, along with the public health goal of securing supply from a domestic manufacturer. One only has to look at the reaction to the news that some part of the vaccine is being shipped out of the country and then imagine what would happen if we had to garner supply from somewhere else.

        At the end of the day, companies will ask for premiums if they arent allowed to rationalize operations. I still say we will be exporting some of our vaccine in December when we have more than we know what to do with and other countries don't.

      • In fact, that's correct, if there are two suppliers, one of them that turns out the be reliable (A) and one not (B), the the three possibilities are:
        -all vaccines ordered from A and arrive on time
        -half vaccines ordered from A and half from B, some don't arrive on time
        -all vaccines ordered from B, more don't arrive on time

        The best (and also the worst) scenario involves choosing a single supplier.

        • Let me start by saying I agree almost entirely with Andrew's post.

          However you missed a scenario in your mini-analysis; the scenario where half are ordered from A and half from B and they all arrive on time. Thus, having two suppliers is the best scenario if you cannot predict with certainty that A or B will deliver on time – it's called diversifying your risk.

          • DIversifying the risk is what you do to shield yourself from the worst case scenario. It also shields you from the best case scenario, because it is more likely that a single company will deliver on time, than it is likely that two companies will both deliver on time.

          • With your premise, true, you did not miss anything.

            "It also shields you from the best case scenario, because it is more likely that a single company will deliver on time, than it is likely that two companies will both deliver on time."

            This may be true…but in this case probably isn't. Because we are talking about massive quantities, capacity constraints are a real issue. If this were bread – we'd be likely to get more bread delivered sooner if both Canada Bread and George Weston were producing at full capacity than just one of them.

            Lowering the production requirements from anyone supplier likely increases their odds of on-time delivery.

      • The error wasn't the sole supplier necessarily, although I have to say, I am a bit surprised that you, who believes in the benefits of competition, defend it. The errors were giving priority to the seasonal flu vaccine and not moving up the timing of the delivery to coincide with the beginning of the flu season in October, so that people would feel that the government did everything it possibly could to protect them against this deadly disease in a timely manner.

        • Mulletaur, the concepts of competition are clearly foreign to you. It would NOT be competitive if the contract was not tendered for multiple bids. The fact that one company one the tender is NOT an example of a non-competitive process.

          • No, it's not foreign to me at all. Just because a tender is organized and awarded to a single company, doesn't mean this is the best form of supply. Actually, a government body actually recommended that the government find more than one supplier, but the government ignored it. It is quite normal for supplies of medicines to have more than one company win the tender and have shares of the supply. So you should really try to learn something about it before you try to correct me on something you yourself clearly know absolutely nothing about.

      • It wasn't an exclusive contract. Butler-Jones has said it wasn't, and the Australian order is proof of that.
        As well, the timing of the government orders to Glaxi need to be looked at. There's a chart floating around (I can't find it right now) which shows serious foot dragging on the part of the government. You really should have put a little more effort on researching this. It leaves you looking lke a shill for the Conservatives, which is out of character for you.

    • And naturally he had to identify the phrama firm as being from –*ominous music*–St-Foy, QUEBEC! And suggests offhandedly they gave a kickback to the Liberals. Ah Quebec, that den of inquity and vice which is always destroying the virtue of anglo-Canada. If only we could get rid of it!

      Any fact checking to see if Shire/GSK also contributed money to the Cons? No?

      Ah but why wreck the narrative.

      • The pharma industry is largely settled in Quebec….this was a legacy of Mulroney. It was the patent protection legislaion that helped spark that.

        The ontario arm of the pharma industry has its roots in the generic business and they have begun to move upstream slowly.

        As for your question, hey in 2001 who else would they give decent money to?

      • Harper's good buddy Ken Boessenkool is a lobbyist for GSK. Why don't you comment on this connection, Andrew?

        • what has that to do with the contract signed by Liberals before the tories took power?

          • The contract wasn't exclusive. They chose Glaxi exclusively. And you'll notice they have defended the choice.
            Somebody should check the lobbyist logs to see when Mr. B. visited the government.

    • The mythical shortage do you evidence of its existence? Are the provinces and local health officials working on behalf of the CPC? Simple math, no shortage, poor logistics by some provinces and local health officials on the mass clinics. With staffing and following the "sequence" priority list we are leading the world.

      Your political bias is preventing your ability to do simple math. Please explain how 6.7 million doses were used up. Ask Al Gore to borrow his 360 Xbox AGW computer models to make your point.

  9. "The task now should not be to point fingers, but to learn so we can all do a better job the next time, when the stakes may be very much higher."

    I wish someone would look at the system where we have three layers of government responsible for vaccination programs while the Feds have to buy products and Provs have to distribute it. If someone was drawing up an emergency plan from scratch, I don't believe this is how it would be designed.

    "CTV reports the Liberals received a $56,000-plus donation from Shire BioChem that same year."

    Of course the did. Do I laugh or cry at this revelation?

    • Obviously the Health Units thought they could handle it,
      and they could,
      until the news of 2 teens dieing caused panic in people who earlier were not interested in the vaccination.

      Why did the health units sit on vaccine rather than send a portion to pharmacists?
      Pharmacists here in Alberta have been giving the seasonal flu shot for years.

      • That's a good point. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is a closed shop, an old fashioned trade union. That's why.

    • Yet another reason to eliminate provincial governments.

      • Or we can let provs buy their own medicines since they are in charge of health care.

    • The Corporate donation is just another side issue. Do we have a "real" shortage or did the media and some local mistakes inflate this non crisis?

      Ontario is still sitting on 2 million doses? The media can't help to add to the hysteria for the sake of ratings.

  10. And further to that is this

    Butler-Jones said the terms of the contract with GlaxoSmithKline, which Public Works said could only be obtained through a request under the Access to Information and Privacy Act, does not prohibit Canada from purchasing vaccine from another supplier – as it did when it bought 200,000 doses of adjuvant-free vaccine from Australia for pregnant women last week – but he said there are no plans to do that for the regular version because there is no global excess of vaccine and he expects shipments to ramp up next week.

    So there you go. Facts tend to destroy Conservative talking points. Yet notably, in spite of that information, undoubtedly known within the government, they tried to get out from under responsibility here by unjustifiably blaming a former Liberal government. Tell us again who's playing politics with the H1N1 crisis?

    • Did you even read Andrew's article?

      • You literally have nothing to say. Congratulations!

    • Scott,
      the provinces are sitting on millions of doses of vaccine,
      there are line ups, not a vaccine shortage.

      the World Health Organization recommended pregnant women get special vaccine, Canada complied,
      then WHO changed it's mind when GSK was midstream in mfg of the special vaccine.

      There is no vaccine shortage.
      The provinces can not administer it as fast as GSK can make it.

      • You are making way too much sense, I hope you know that.

  11. Andrew wrote: "The current flu outbreak kills at a fraction of the rate of regular, seasonal flu, which hardly anyone worries about."

    Far as I know, that isn't actually true. The death rate for H1N1 is comparable to seasonal flu. What's different is that instead of 5-10 per cent of the population getting the flu, as with seasonal flu, somewhere between 20 and 30 percent of the population will be infected by h1n1. This means we can expect maybe 3 to 5 times more severe and fatal cases compared to seasonal flu.

    Also, instead of elderly people being most likely to get severe illness and die, it is young people who suffer and die most with h1n1.

    I agree with the rest of the article.

    • Uh, no, this isn't correct at all. H1N1 deaths to date are hovering at around 6000 at the moment. Seasonal flu had killed more people than H1N1 by mid-April.

      H1N1 Deaths: around 6000 to date
      http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_10_23/en/index.ht

      Seasonal flu Deaths as of April 28: 13000
      http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/28/regular.flu/

      Seasonal flu kills between 500,000-1,000,000 people per year, and infects 3-5 million. To date, H1N1 has killed around than 6000 of 500,000 infected.

      • This won't be a sexy story if we apply logic, truth to this story. TV ratings, opposition parties need a scapegoat.

        • People are dying due to the incompetence of the Harper Conservatives, and all you are talking about is whether the story is 'sexy' or not. Didn't Lisa Raitt already go over this ground ? You Conservatives never learn.

          • Fact: MI is polling worse than Dion.

            Fact: Nik Nanos shows the Liberals behind every single issue the CPC

            Fact: Canadians don't trust the Federal Liberals.

            Fact: Liberals apologized for using 10% using aboriginals as props.

          • Fact : The Little Shop of Tories has totally run out of ammunition on this one, and is sending their ConBots out to try and change the channel. You've clearly lost the argument.

    • Do some basic research. Check mortality rates the information is public. Coyne is not as lazy as you apparently and did use Google.

      What is your excuse for not checking on the internet takes less than a minute to do searches.

    • Check the stats from Australia/New Zealand. This "choose any 2 items" dish of fact and logic you serve up just isn't the case. More people were admitted into ICU with seasonal flu than H1N1, and more people died of seasonal flu. And in case you're tempted to go for the "mutation" side-dish, that ain't available: the strain that we have is unchanged from its appearance in Mexico this March.

      • seasonal flu is WAY deadlier – in the 2009 flu season, australia had 36,991 *confirmed* cases of H1N1 – over here, they don't differentiate any more, it's all automatically H1 now so numbers are skewed. of that near-37,000, 186 ppl died. in a typical flu season, they get 2500 – 3500 deaths from regular seasonal flu. add that the CDC expects rougly 30,000 severe to lethal adverse reactions to the shot and tha the FDA only requires it be effective 3 out of 10 times, and H1 is starting to look to me about as deadly as a north american mosquito bite with about the same rate of complication (iow, billions of mosquito bites per year and a handful of ppl come down with west nile). and *then* we find out that the medical industry has known since the 40s that mercury *is* a factor in many cases of autism (and the H1 shot has a full blast of the crud in it) and quite frankly, it'll be nordic skiing in hades before i let anyone near me or my daughter with that junk!

        the way ppl are ranting and panting, you'd think it was the Black Plague or Ebola all over again – utterly ridiculous.

        • Two questions :

          1. What was the age distribution of those who died from seasonal flu for the figures you are quoting ?
          2. What are the sources of the figures you are quoting ? (If possible, please provide links).

  12. More on the wrongness of the Conservatives attempt to blame the Liberals (and Andrew parroting it):

    Butler-Jones said the terms of the contract with GlaxoSmithKline, which Public Works said could only be obtained through a request under the Access to Information and Privacy Act, does not prohibit Canada from purchasing vaccine from another supplier – as it did when it bought 200,000 doses of adjuvant-free vaccine from Australia for pregnant women last week – but he said there are no plans to do that for the regular version because there is no global excess of vaccine and he expects shipments to ramp up next week.

    So there you go. Facts tend to destroy Conservative talking points. Yet notably, in spite of that information, undoubtedly known within the government, they tried to get out from under responsibility here by unjustifiably blaming a former Liberal government. Tell us again who's playing politics with the H1N1 crisis?

  13. More on the wrongness of the Conservatives attempt to blame the Liberals (and Andrew parroting it):

    Butler-Jones said the terms of the contract with GlaxoSmithKline, which Public Works said could only be obtained through a request under the Access to Information and Privacy Act, does not prohibit Canada from purchasing vaccine from another supplier – as it did when it bought 200,000 doses of adjuvant-free vaccine from Australia for pregnant women last week – but he said there are no plans to do that for the regular version because there is no global excess of vaccine and he expects shipments to ramp up next week.

    So there you go. Facts tend to destroy Conservative talking points. Yet notably, in spite of that information, undoubtedly known within the government, they tried to get out from under responsibility here by unjustifiably blaming a former Liberal government. Tell us again who's playing politics with the H1N1 crisis?

  14. Nice try, Coyne. To quote the story in today's Globe and Mail :

    "Bulk shipments of the main component of the H1N1 vaccine made at a Quebec plant are being exported to other countries, as Canadians line up for hours for the scarce influenza shots.

    GlaxoSmithKline, which has the sole contract to supply Canada's flu vaccine, says it can produce more antigen than it can expeditiously put into vials for Canadians, and has been exporting excess amounts overseas."

    If they can't get it into the vials fast enough, it's only because of bad planning and organization by the Public Health Agency of Canada. This is the fault of the Harper government. They are going to wear it, despite your best efforts.

    • They've delivered three times as many doses as the provinces have been able to administer! Supposing GSK's plant could deliver the stuff faster than they have — twice as many as the Americans, per capita — all we would have to show for it would be even higher stockpiles sitting in provincial health departments.
      Nice try, indeed.

      • If they weren't so late in getting the vaccines out to the provinces, there wouldn't be a bottleneck. The provinces are not able to wave a magic wand and suddenly have 6.7 million vaccines administered overnight. It is completely ridiculous and unacceptable to have a vaccination schedule that will only have everybody vaccinated by the end of the year, particularly as the flu season starts in October. That is the federal government's plan (or rather, lack of planning) and not the fault of the provinces. To claim otherwise is just being silly, or more worryingly, disingenuous. Again, this is poor planning by the Harper government. They will wear it despite your best efforts.

        • "It is completely ridiculous and unacceptable to have a vaccination schedule that will only have everybody vaccinated by the end of the year, particularly as the flu season starts in October."

          Can you refer me to a credible medical official, or an opposition member for that matter, drawing this to our attention sometime in the last eight months? I'm pretty sure this is about as early as one can expect a flu vaccine to be rolled out.

          • Where on earth were you when people were dropping dead of H1N1 in Mexico in April and the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic on 11 June ? Mars ?

            This is the same lame bull$hit excuse the Harper Conservatives used about the financial crisis – they didn't see it coming. Except that the financial crisis actually started in mid 2007 not October 2008. Total incompetence or lies, take your pick.

          • Still waiting for those citations. To parse Coyne: if Canada bungled this so badly, why are we pretty much on par with the rest of the developed world for vaccinations?

            Also, go back and read the original WHO declaration from Jun. 11: there's a lot more nuance and caution against panic than you realize – including the clear mention that swine flu appears to be a very mild disease, relatively speaking.

          • What evidence have you that we are on par with the rest of the developed world?

          • Countries like Britain and the US started at about the same time as us (some jurisdictions started about two weeks earlier in the US, but those were small amounts, and also included nasal spray which isn't yet approved in Canada).

            I can't seem to find evidence of any developed countries starting much ahead of us, and furthermore critics of the government have only cited China; a country not widely known for concern about safety, and one that will ultimately vaccinate a far lower percentage of the population than Canada.

            Good enough?

          • No. According to the Liberals, "Australia, with a population of 22 million people, had 5.5 million doses of vaccine as of September 30, more than a month ago."
            http://www.liberal.ca/en/newsroom/media-releases/

          • Yes, but you have to compare when Canada started, which puts the gap at a little less than a month. You figure 26 or 27 days is the difference between stunning efficiency and complete incompetence?

            Also, I said "pretty much on par." If it's only one country that was a bit ahead of us, then we've done fairly well (of course, we ought to learn from this for the next pandemic, and strive to do better).

            And, nobody was concerned about the timeline of having Canadians vaccinated by year's end until a few weeks ago. Why not?

          • The fly has it's own schedule. Here in B.C. we're supposedly peaking. So vaccines delivered a month from now are really pretty useless.

          • And Austrailia's flu season is done with, over, finished.. They went through the whole pandemic with NO flu shots. They are having 100% vacinations in preparation for the possible next wave.

          • I'm Canadian living in Sydney. I can tell you that we are hearing *nothing* about the swine flu at the moment. During the flu season here there were a few news stories for a week or two, but since then; not a word.

            I know that the vaccine is available to us now, and am considering it because I am coming home to Canada for Christmas. My dilema with traveling into flu season is that I am bringing my two young children with me, and the vaccine has not been approved for children under ten here (as of last week, at least).

            The NSW Immunization Department told me that they only recommend the vaccine for those people that have asthma and diabetes etc. and they reckon that children aren't in one of the at risk categories.

            It's all very confusing!

        • The anticipated third and more deadly wave is said to be coming soon into the new year. The schedule is fine, have a little patience and try not contribute to the hysteria.

          • That will be of great comfort to the parents of Evan Frustaglio and others like them whose children die due to the incompetence of the Harper Conservative government. Pathetic.

          • and that's exactly the kind of comment that bumps the tories up in the polls. thanx!

          • Yeesh, you remind me of Jack Layton, when he sanctimoniously accused Paul Martin of killing people.

          • I have more hair. But no pornstache.

    • Also, when did yesterday become the official deadline to have the entire country vaccinated?

      • Especially since Dr. Carolyn Bennett indicated a few months ago that she thought the vaccine wouldn`t be ready until Christmas.

        • That was in her last round of fulminating, this is a fast moving scandal so it isnt fair to hold her to previous criticisms…try to keep up will you

          • Thanks!

            "Bennett said Canadian authorities should know by Christmas how much vaccine will be needed, and whether people should have one or two doses." – August 31

      • Since Evan Frustaglio died and everybody suddenly realized that if an otherwise healthy, athletic 13 year old kid could drop dead within a couple of days from H1N1, they and their kids could too. The public reaction was entirely forseeable – based on what happened in Mexico in April 2009, it was clear that otherwise healthy people, particularly kids, would die, and that this would scare people. This is a cock-up on a massive scale by the Harper government, a total lack of planning and forsight, an inability to take the matter seriously and deal with it in a serious way.

        • Spare me the emotional hyperbole. It's questionable whether flu alone could kill a healthy 13 year old in such a short span, but unfortunately we'll never know. It's a bit rich to claim clairvoyance after the fact: please cite some examples of credible medical or opposition concerns that things would unfold exactly as they have.

          And you still haven't answered my question: since when did yesterday become the deadline for getting the entire country vaccinated?

          • "Spare me the emotional hyperbole."

            I will forward this comment to Evan Frustaglio's family for their attention. I am sure it will be warmly received.

            "It's a bit rich to claim clairvoyance after the fact."

            Only one of Harper's Little Shop of Tiny Tories would try to deny reality in such a blatent and obvious way. If you don't accept the fact that Mexico already went through this in *April* and virtually shut down their whole country as a result, there is nothing that anybody who posts on these threads could ever say to convince you. Perhaps you are just stunningly ignorant of the facts and background of H1N1. But I doubt it.

            In any case, you can always look up the report "Reported severe respiratory disease and deaths concurrent with atypical A(H1N1) influenza circulation of swine origin in Mexico, 2009" in the New England Journal of Medicine dated 29 June by Stefano M. Bertozzi et. al. You might even learn something.

          • Nobody, but nobody, was predicting an immediate spread of the flu from Mexico to the rest of the world. It was predicted to follow typical seasonal patterns. But please, show me the credible individuals or organizations claiming otherwise.

            One of us is shamelessly using the death of a boy to further his emotionally based arguments. And it ain't me.

            Hands up, everyone who thinks I'm a closet Harper Tory…

          • You can't tell but my hand is up. :)

          • LOL!!

            I guess I had that coming after accusing you of latent socialism.

          • "Nobody, but nobody, was predicting an immediate spread of the flu from Mexico to the rest of the world."

            The World Health Organization declared H1N1 a global pandemic on 11 June 2009.

          • Well, Sean, I always kind of had Mulletaur on my "sane" list, so I guess anything is possible.

            M-m-m-m-maybe you're one of those sophisticated Tory plants who leaned mildly anti-ish-Tory on these boards for months, awaiting orders from the Little Shop of Tories (with our beloved ITQ lost to the Corp, can we still use that term here?) to activate.

            Hey, don't shoot me. After all, it's somewhat comparable to the incredible venomous conspirazoid bilge spewing forth around here.

          • Heh.

            Strong smell of crazy surrounding this topic, that's for sure.

          • Yeah, I want the government to be competent and do everything in its power to prevent deaths from H1N1, that clearly makes me insane. Really, MYL, I'm surprised at you.

        • So can you fill us in on all the other "otherwise healthy" Canadian kids who have succumbed to H1N1 since (or before for that matter) Evan's unfortunate passing? I must have missed it in the news.

          Seeing as how this is a full-blown "pandemic" infecting people on an exponential basis…and since all these young Canadians have not been properly immunized solely because of Stephen Harper…I imagine otherwise healthy kids must be dropping like flies across the nation….right?

          I'm not sure if this forum limits the word count in one's post…hopefully you'll have enough space to list the multitude of "dying kids" that our mainstream media is so callously ignoring.

          • The point is to prevent them from dying, not to take a chance that they may do so by delaying the vaccination program until well into the flu season.

          • I think it was an adolescent boy in Northern Ontario.

    • Put down your Vic-20. The local health officials and provinces did NOT run out Sherlock.

  15. To be fair to the municipalities/health regions, some of the ineffiency resulted from the early release of the vaccine. Local planning was based on the roll out of the vaccine in early November and the clinics and people were scheduled a month or more in advance. However many people received the vaccine earlier should reduce the confusion and congestion in the up-coming weeks.

    • Flu season starts in October. The first cases of swine flu in Mexico started in April. This is bad planning by the Harper government. They clearly didn't take this problem seriously.

  16. One thing occurred to me: can I order the vaccine myself? Could I buy, say, 4 doses for my family and go and find a nurse to inject me. Or perhaps I could inject myself? How much does a dose cost? $20?

    • Docs' offices are being forced to buy in minimum bundles of 500 doses. That's why many doctors haven't ordered it. 500 doses is better off in the public health dept flu clinics, where they can be dispensed of quickly. I would take a doctor weeks to get rid of that many doses.

      • I spoke to a friend last night who is an MD and she would like to order 1000 doses for her patients…she can't even do that. It's not available for distribution to private doctor offices in Ottawa.

  17. From today's Leader Post:
    "More than 100 businesses in Saskatoon and Regina — including a number of provincial Crown corporations — have hired a private company to vaccinate employees and their families for the H1N1 virus.

    The development raises ethical questions around issues such as queue-jumping and private companies profiting from a vaccine that's supposed to be free."

    • And therein lies much of the problem. Having decided that it will be free, and having realized that they can't do everyone at once, the government has to start rationing. It would be much more efficient if everyone who wanted bought these vaccines and administered them how they see fit.

      There are lots of organisations set up to do this kind of thing. I think they are called stores!

      • ….you might as well just move to India and propose using all the cows roaming around to have a big BBQ and feed the starving!

    • The fact remains the line ups in Saskatoon were light. A half hour wait maybe. It took longer to wait the 15 min. after the shot and watch the video than it did to get the shot.

  18. “6.7 million doses. But at last count only 2 million had been administered”

    Those 4.7 millions doses are not protecting anyone on the shelves. Sadly Alberta which put more shots in arms than on shelves (60% delivered) bounced off this week’s drop in shipments to join the sober protectors of shelves. Yeah, they made mistakes (including low priority seniors in a special high priority Calgary clinic with longer lines was a real howler), but talk about learning the wrong lesson.

    • This is what you get from electing rightwingers who do not believe in government. You get bad government by incompetent amateurs.

      • You get that regardless. Left, right or center – it is all the same result.

      • I am curious to know what you think caused SARS fiasco. Or is it only Cons who deliver bad government?

        • You will have to ask Ernie Eves and his former Ministers, some of whom are presently in Harper's Cabinet.

          • I assumed the Feds have to 'wear it' whenever something goes wrong, Mulletaur. I was unaware that only time Feds have to wear something is when Cons are in power.

          • Well, there's a reason for that, you see: Liberals good, Tories bad. I think that encapsulates Mulletaur's basic underlying premise.

          • SARS was an Ontario and perhaps even an exclusively Toronto phenomenon, not a national one. SARS was not the fault of the Eves government. The totally inadequate response of the Eves government was. Q.E.D.

      • Q. What do you get when you elect gov’t that believe in rationing health care?
        A. 4.7M doses in stock. 2M in citizens.

        Looking at the 60% delivery rate in Alberta’s freewheeling approach to bearing arms beat some alternatives.

        • Botched the punch line. BARING arms.

      • Question….the Liberals had 13 years of majority governments why didn't they have a pandemic protocol in place. Why was their no Public Safety policy in place? You can't tell me it fell apart in 4 years. Liberals are such hypocrites.

    • Agreed and it was generally the healthy seniors howling on the evening news. The numbers were not tracking anywhere near that high 3 days before the clinics opened. That was why they included everyone but it was clearly stated that high priority folks should be first. I certainly heard that many times.
      The sad death of the Ont. 13 year old created the frenzy.

    • It is totally ridiculous that our provincial governments have not distributed those 4.7 million doses to family doctors and specialists for administration.

      These MDs give the seasonal vaccinations every year, they have the refrigerated storage facilities, they have the expertise, they have the organization.

      And this flu is only one flu vaccine, whereas the seasonal flu vaccine is 3 vaccines against 3 seasonal flues in one.

  19. Besides the pointless partisan shot at the Liberals, Coyne is largely right here. The only objection that the opposition parties are lobbing that has any grounding is on the government's messages to the public, which frankly has as much to do with the media as well as the average person's willingness to act out of fear and ignorance. I'm sorry, but I can't hold the government responsible because people are behaving in a, well, stupid manner.

    However, I will object to Coyne's assertion that a delay in the vaccination process is trivial. Besides the hundreds of hours of lost productivity that result from a fast-spreading flu such as H1N1, especially as it has strong effects on young, healthy people, those three weeks represent a key period where the flu is most likely to spread. Through the summer, health organizations everywhere worked very hard to ensure that it's spread was minimal. Flu season basically means that the floodgates open and no amount of precaution taken by health officials will contain the spread of H1N1 in the general population – likely 20% or more of the population will get swine flu at some point this year.

    Does this constitute a full-blown emergency? Well, no, most people will be sick for a week and then recover fully, as I did after I caught the virus. However, we should still be making every effort to get the vaccine out to those who need it as fast as possible, especially as flu season rolls around. Every delay does mean more people getting sick, more people missing work/school/whatever and yes, more people dying.

  20. That's exactly what's driving me frigging nuts. Nobody was complaining about the timelines a few month ago.

  21. How much did the govt pay for 200K doses from Australia? What does the CDN produced product cost? If the WHO said the unadjuvanted variant is ok for pregnant women, why the need for the Australian order?
    The Harpo regime panicked! They had no plan to administer the drug. The federal gov't did not fund the provinces so that the necessary bodies were in place once the delayed product was available. This is the sole failing our the Harpo govt. Getting it right the next time is contingent upon acknowledging the failings in the first place. Stephan Harper will never, ever admit failure on his part! That is the PM biggest failure!!

    • Actually partisans like you are the failures. You put your political party hat before the real problems.

      • Wow, I think we've hit a sensitive point here, people. The PMO is clearly upset by the fact that their total incompetence is responsible for the deaths of Canadian children.

        • Mull, what are you on?

          • Water and clean air, augmented by concern for my fellow citizens. You ?

    • Ken maybe you had better get your facks right, instead of getting your shirt in a knot. First who gives a dam how much
      it cost Can to get the Varient from Aus. 2. WHO changed the rules AFTER Can ordered FROM AUS. 3. The Prov are responsible for administering the vaccine. Ken I wrote this v e r y s l o w so you could understand.

  22. but it's debatable whether anyone will die because the vaccinations are administered in November rather than October, since you have to take the already tiny proportion of people who would have been susceptible to dying from it, divide that by the proportion of those who would have caught it in the absence of a vaccine, and divide that by the proportion of those who would have had the foresight to get themselves vaccinated

    And, as I pointed out in an earlier thread, divide that by the proportion of people for whom the vaccine is effective.

    "The inactivated flu vaccine does not appear to be effective in preventing influenza-related hospitalizations in children. In fact, children who get the flu vaccine are more at risk for hospitalization than their peers who do not get the vaccine, according to new research that will be presented on May 19, at the 105th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in San Diego."

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/0905

    "The flu vaccine doesn't work equally well in all people. It's most effective in healthy adults… So the effectiveness of a vaccine depends on how vigorously your immune system responds to it. If you have a weak immune system to begin with, a vaccine may just not work as well."

    http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/how-effective-

    • Ironically, if you have a weak immune system, you may not be in as much danger as somebody who has a very strong one. There are studies which show that people died of SARS through 'cytokine storm' – the immune system reacts so strongly that there is a runaway response, killing the patient. There is a suspicion that the same thing is happening with H1N1.

  23. It is always different when it is not your dead child or people who jumped the line in front of you in a long cold line that you and wife/children have stood in for hours….. right!

  24. I didn't read the comment – and may be repeating – but Coyne's message proves one thing : the government has been spending way too much advertising, for dubious reasons, its Action Plan, and not enough on informing the public on this vaccination plan. The government has created fear and mass hysteria.

    • Where have you been? 5 brochures, numerous commercials, notices in Dr's offices and hospitals, sanitizer products sold out.
      Enough already. If you wanted to know, it was all over the place.

    • You haven't gone nearly far enough — the government actually created the virus, so that it could later create fear and mass hysteria. They're that evil.

      I'm not making this up.

      • No, Frijol – you created the virus. Everybody knows it.

    • Vaccination plans vary by province — the federal government cannot advertise what 10 provinces and 3 territories cannot even agree upon.

  25. It's so refreshing to read the facts, just the facts, for a change. Andrew's comments contain far too much common sense for some of the posters above. Several must be fainting.

    As for the concerns of those who are upset that GSK is exporting surplus, what happened to all of those Liberals who were running around saying "the world needs more of Canada". There are a lot of countries that desperately need vaccine. Why aren't we celebrating that we can help those in need. Isn't this supposed to be a characteristic of leftwing types?

    • Especially when the writer limits himself to the facts that are least embarassing for the Conservatives. Facts. So much fun to pick and choose!

    • Use of facts, science, logic, truth that dispute negative talking points for partisans is "unacceptable". The angry mobs need a CPC scapegoat.

      • No, Canadians need the Conservative government to start acting like a government. And to stop sending out their staff to lie on message threads like this.

        • Approval

          One-third of Canadians (34%) approve of the performance of Stephen Harper, while 45 per cent disapprove. The numbers represent a modest improvement for the prime minister since a survey conducted in September.

          Only 15 per cent of respondents approve of the way Michael Ignatieff has handled his duties, a nine-point drop in a month. Also, a majority of Canadians (53%) disapprove of the Liberal leader's performance. The approval rating for NDP leader Jack Layton is 26 per cent, down five points in a month.

          http://www.angusreidstrategies.com/polls-analysis

          • Firstly, Angus Reid uses online polls, so no matter you tell me the result is, even if you said Iggy was at 99% approval, I would tell you that their polls aren't worth squat. Secondly, 34% when you're the Prime Minister spending money around the country like a drunken sailor is nothing to write home about, particularly when your main competition for power is at 15%.

          • Liberal MPs apologize for offensive flyer
            By Christina Spencer, SUN MEDIA

            Liberal MPs apologized Wednesday for distributing a household flyer that attacks the government's handling of H1N1 among aboriginals with the slogan “No vaccines, just body bags.”
            The flyer, mailed as a message from Liberal health critic Dr. Carolyn Bennett, features a picture of body bags in a lab and a sick aboriginal child.
            Grand Chief Ron Evans of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs told a parliamentary committee the flyer was “very disturbing…it's really troubling to our people.”
            The pamphlet arrived on doorsteps after an investigation into an incident in which an official ordered 100 body bags for a First Nations community in Manitoba struggling with an H1N1 outbreak. The investigation concluded there was no ill will and the number was a miscalculation.
            Evans said the fact the flyer was apparently sent after the incident was resolved suggested the affair is now being politicized.
            Bennett apologized

            http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2009/10/28/1

          • I can see that PMO is very worried about how this story is running, and they are sending out their army of trolls to try to change the channel.

  26. The Liberals got too rightwing, of course.

  27. I had heard that Ontario had administered (or soon will surpass) 2 million doses of vaccine. I haven't heard a national figure, but would assume that the fraction of doses distributed and delivered would likely hold nationwide. That is, that pretty close to 6 million doses (or about one sixth of the entire population of Canada) had already received the vaccine.

    Not bad for an innoculation which was originally only going to become available this week.

  28. At least Coyne doesn't get upset when you accuse him of being a courtier for the Harper government.

    You'll have that Senate seat soon enough, Andrew. Just remember the little people (the online right wing trolls) who helped you get there.

  29. At least Coyne doesn't get upset when you accuse him of being a courtier for the Harper government.

    You'll have that Senate seat soon enough, Andrew. Just remember the little people (the online right wing trolls) who helped you get there.

    • Oh please, the commentators on these boards don't matter one whit in the real world.

      • Well, why does the media bother hosting them then?

        • So you will come back to the site regularly and improve their website hit count.

    • don't forget to blame the NHL, Olympic torch relay as well!

  30. How do you vaccinate 6 million people in one week?

    • Probably using a similar process that enables 14 million citizens to vote on a single day.

      It requires a great deal of planning, coordination, training, physical space and an expensive communication process.

      • That is the most intelligent comment yet today. Nice.

        • Thanks…even a stopped clock…..etc.

      • Hmmm lets look at how analagous this is

        1) Ballots are pieces of paper kept under lock and key, Vaccine has specialized storage requirments
        2) Federal election is under one jusrisdiction, health care dilivery is under at least 13
        3) Registartion for voting, just swear you are someone, resposible vaccination, taking of health history
        4) Skills required at a polling station, ability to read, need to be a nurse or higher to perform an innoculation

        this is just the beginning. You are engaged in magical thinking, or likely not even thinking the problem through let alone scaling the issue appropriately. You arent even comparing apples and oranges, which have the advantage of at least both being fruits.

        Typical, recreating the wheel in a big expensive way rather than just getting the vaccine out to the pre existing delivery system, local doctors. Because we all know moving a lot of concrete = vision.

    • Ask MP Bennett. I'd LOVE to hear the answer. Health Care is the responsibility of the Provinces and so are the costs.
      There lies the variables. They however are doing an admirable job and adapting well.

    • easy,in Mulletaur's world you just snap your magic Liberal fingers and voila! All 33 million or so Canadians, 1 million clinics with just 33 doses each, the whole country vaccinated in just an hour or so. ( not counting the informative symptoms video and post vaccination waiting period.

      • YYZ already answered your silly comments more than adequately, so I won't dirty my keyboard fingers on you.

        • Really you should because YYZ's answer is a childrens wish.

        • LOL, nice. Full points for a completely unrelated and irrelevant comment, troll. You shouldn't post unless you're sober.

          • FACT: Liberals have not polled above 30% for Six weeks.

            http://threehundredeight.blogspot.com/

            DOUBLE-DIGIT TORY LEAD: “THIS IS NOT A BLIP” – October 29, 2009

            HARPER/LAYTON SHOULD STAY, IGNATIEFF SHOULD GO, CANADIANS SAY

            [Ottawa – October 29, 2009] – Stephen Harper's federal Conservatives lead the second-place Liberals by a double-digit margin for the fourth week in a row, suggesting that the neck-and-neck race between the two major parties in the spring and summer has now been displaced by a new pattern of relative Conservative dominance.

            “This is not a blip,” said EKOS President Frank Graves. “The Tories streaked into their current lead when the Liberals started threatening an early election in the late fall. However, they are now standing up despite negative news reports about the distribution of stimulus money and the confusion around the H1N1 vaccination program.”

            http://www.ekospolitics.com/index.php/2009/10/dou

          • Shouldn't you be guarding a bridge somewhere ?

    • Vaccinate 1 million people per day. It can be done.

      In 1962, when I was a kid, they vaccinated all the school children in Manitoba, and their parents, against polio (injected polio vaccine) in 2 weeks. It was a one-day per school, and on to the next school thing. (By "all" I mean all consenting. Polio was a big killer in Manitoba, virtually everyone got it.)

      And they did it again a couple of years later, with the oral polio vaccine.

      So we could do all of Canada in 2 weeks.

      But we don't have to complete vaccinations in 2 weeks if we start the vaccinations earlier. We just need to get the vaccinations completed 2 weeks before it becomes important — 2 weeks before the flu season is under way.

      • Schools is a great idea, dont know why the provinces havent done it this time

        And in 1962 you still had nurses assigned to schools, no longer the case.

        See my post below for when flu season peaks. Innoculation programs are worth running any time before peak, less valuable after peak.

  31. I generally agree with Andrew's comments….however the biggest miss here is in distribution. This issue was (clearly) not adequately planned out by anyone…so if you want to beat up the government, this is the only reason for it.

  32. An excellent synopsis of the current situation : and the Lieberals better be careful as there is a groqwing push back against usiong this mass immuniztion situation for poltical partisan purposes by Iggy – I was visiting a CBC web forum that has more harper haters ususally than here (if you can belive that – but tis true) I was astounded by the sheer volume of posters pushing back against both the media and the Lieberals – Iffy better be very careful here as the party has danced with the edge a few times here and this can be costly!

    • Another nice try, psiclone. You and the other Cons trolls must have been very busy on the CBC site today. I bet those Internet lines from PMO are just a hummin' …

  33. Let's summarize shall we…

    They, your Conservatives did all they could as far as sequencing. But to assume that every Health Care implementer across the country screwed up does not make sense. Something happened here Coyne.

    Tell that to my brother that his young daughter who nearly died from H1N1 – – the government of Canada had and has no responsibility to help with implementation. Money is needed to give Canadians the best chance to be immunized at the earliest opportunity.

    And if you believe I will get my shot before Christmas – you sir, are very poor at math.

    • Perry Kendall, British Columbia's public health officer, said delivery of the shots is lagging because of Ottawa's quicker than expected approval of the H1N1 vaccine. The infrastructure for administering the inoculations, which includes volunteers and vaccinators, was ready to begin rolling on Nov. 9, but Health Canada gave its approval the week of Oct. 26.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/h1n1-s

      Simple math, no "evil" neo-cons , provinces and local health officials were not prepared for TV, opposition MP's hysteria campaign.

      • Once again, you purposely miss the point. I hope the PMO is paying you well for posting the same rubbish over and over again all over the place. It is impossible to vaccinate everybody at once, all in one instant. Harper's Conservative federal government should have started the roll out earlier so that there was more time to get the vaccine in the arms of the most vulnerable groups. Instead, they gave priority to seasonal flu vaccine. That was an error. They need to own up to their error, and you need to stop defending the indefensible.

  34. Well it seems to me that the peak of the flu season…H1N1 or otherwise…is about to be upon us…if not already passed…and no sign of the apocalypse just yet.

    Unless of course you happen to be a Liberal MP.

    • You have just proved my point. If you delay vaccination until after the start of the flu season, people will die needlessly, as their death could have been prevented by vaccination. That is exactly what the Harper government has done. H1N1 does not kill on the basis of political affiliation.

      • the peak is yet to come, probably in january or feb.

        Outbreaks of the flu occur in different seasonal patterns depending on the region in the world. In temperate climate zones, flu season will typically begin in the late fall and peak in mid- to late winter. And in tropical zones, flu seasons appear to be less pronounced, with year-round isolation of the virus.

        http://www.flufacts.com/about/season.aspx

        • So you propose that the government do nothing until the peak season ? Really ?

  35. Numbers , don't let them get in the way of a perfectly good scare .

      • Nope, we just need Harper to start acting like a Prime Minister and taking his responsibility for running the country seriously rather than obsessing about a majority he will never get.

  36. Oh…and by the way…great "Crazy Lady" shot accompanying the article.

  37. Sure. Still better than what we have.

    Although under my *plan*, you'd eliminate 13 bureaucracies.

    • I agree with jolyon. Eliminating 13 bureaucracies is not necessarily a good thing. Each town and province has unique circumstances driving delivery of vaccines – local building and locations to use, different sets of employees to notify and educate, local advertising, local weather conditions, local traffic and parking considerations, local delivery considerations, and so on. This is not the type of thing you want to be managing cross-country from a single location.

  38. 6 million people have not been vaccinated. The fact is the government has no way of tracking, because they believe it to be up to the provinces to manage.

    • Minor edit: With the exception of natives on reserve, and the military, they CORRECTLY believe it to be up to the provinces.

  39. Does that mean the federal government would get all of Alberta's oil and gas revenues to distribute around the country ? Oh goody ! Sign me up !

    • Anti AB Liberal, believes he knows more than medical experts, what a shocker!

  40. I'm sorry Andrew, but if Warren Kinsella claims that the Harper govt's handling of this matter has been disastrous and that the only logical conclusion to draw is that a Liberal government would have done an absolutely perfect job, well then it must be true.

    • To defend the Liberals they are in favour of taxpayer needle clinics for heroin users. That might explain how they could improve the rate of injection?

      • If you intend to lie, troll, at least lie convincingly.

  41. THAT'S NOT THE SAME THING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Do you ever read past the headlines?

    • You are clearly having reading comprehension problems, back to school kid.

  42. "you'd eliminate 13 bureaucracies"

    I like the sound of that but I do believe the more local the government, the better the performance. If we are going to abolish anything, I wish the Feds would disappear.

    I don't really follow all that closely emergency preparedness but I think our system is as badly designed as possible – Feds buy vaccine, Provs distribute it and cities/counties administer it. There are too many lines of communication that can go haywire and no one can be held accountable when cock-ups occur.

  43. I agree my friend – joint accountability is no accountability.

    I also generally agree with your local government argument; however my recent experience in Toronto suggest otherwise. Let's assume (and hope) Mr. Miller is an anomaly.

  44. I'm glad you're starting to see things my way, Bean.

  45. It would be more than 27 days, and that would make a difference as in people getting the vaccine before the flu was so widespread. So yes, a month makes a difference.

  46. First vaccinations in Canada were on Oct. 26. What math did you use?

    Is that 26 day difference one of incompetence, or a matter of post panic from an ill informed public and an opposition using that fear for their own purposes?

    Again, why was nobody all that concerned until a few weeks ago?

    • No, I thought it meant the people had received the shots by then, but I see they first started to vaccinate people on Sept 30 in Australia. My mistake

      And as CBC reported then: "…Most people have a mild illness, but more than 4,700 Australians have been hospitalized with swine flu. About13 per cent of them were admitted to ICU, including almost 1,500 children and teenagers. The virus has been associated with 180 deaths in the country, including 10 children…"
      http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2009/09/30/h1n1-va

  47. Notwithstanding all the conflicting information in the interests of blame laying and deflecting, it seems to me that the failure of the federal government to reassure Canadians that their senior level of government would ensure that the provinces and municipalities would have all the resources needed to administer flu shots to everyone who wanted them accounts for much of the public panic. The fact that many of those responsible for administering the vaccine were unable to borrow resources or vaccines from other jurisdictions, as they would if this was a more localized outbreak of seasonal flu, has meant that vaccine that was available couldn't be administered. If the federal government had made an effort to co-ordinate with the provinces about prioritizing and scheduling clinics in their municiipalities, then resources could have been shared, and everyone could be spared the long lineups, turnaways, confusion, and panic.

    • So you want the Feds to take over the delivery of Health care along with the funding?

      OR You would feel better if the Feds stood up and said that there are 2 million vaccines delivered to Ontario and only half of them have been administered. The line ups are obviously caused by incompetent local authorities, mainly it seems in Toronto?

      Would you want the feds to suspend local authorities due to in competence and put soldiers, in the streets, in Toronto to administer the vaccines?

      • If I wanted what you seem to assume I want or felt better about what you seem to assume I would feel better about, I would have said that instead of what I did say.

    • numbers compiled from government sources show that provincial authorities have so far injected fewer than three million doses, or less than half of the available supply.

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/h1n1-s

      Perry Kendall, British Columbia's public health officer, said delivery of the shots is lagging because of Ottawa's quicker than expected approval of the H1N1 vaccine. The infrastructure for administering the inoculations, which includes volunteers and vaccinators, was ready to begin rolling on Nov. 9, but Health Canada gave its approval the week of Oct. 26.

      So again NO shortage! Provinces and local health officials are just slow after panic from TV and opposition parties!

      • The reason I did not mention shortages in my original comment is because that information seemed to be less than reliable. Blaming the provinces for being unable to administer the vaccine in unprecedented high numbers does nothing to reassure those who are confused and frightened. The federal government failed to assist the provinces and municipalities in co-ordinating the vaccine rollout.

      • Once again, you purposely miss the point. I hope the PMO is paying you well for posting the same rubbish over and over again all over the place. It is impossible to vaccinate everybody at once, all in one instant. Harper's Conservative federal government should have started the roll out earlier so that there was more time to get the vaccine in the arms of the most vulnerable groups. Instead, they gave priority to seasonal flu vaccine. That was an error. They need to own up to their error, and you need to stop defending the indefensible.

  48. I find it interesting that the general public feels so strongly that they are entitled to a vaccine.

    I also find it interesting that no one recognizes the extreme health human resource shortage we have, especially in Ontario. It doesn't matter how much vaccine we have, there isn't a nursing supply at the community and public health level that is sufficient to administer a vaccine to the entire population in such a short period of time. Why do we have a nursing shortage? Well you can point fingers in a lot of directions. Bob Rae drove a lot of nurses in Ontario to the U.S.? Mike Harris too. But cuts to Ontario health care can be traced to decisions by Paul Martin and Jean Chretien cutting provincial transfer.

    Anyways, great post Andrew. I think as far as government delivery of services go, this one is having an above average performance.

    • Nonsense. We're entitled to our entitlements!

      • Finally, a True Conservative speaks ! Where's my novelty cheque signed by Harper ?!

  49. There's something wrong with the CBC numbers; maybe it should be 150 children, not 1500 in ICU?

    • It does seem high. Maybe a CBC writer mistook an unfamiliar Aussie medical term to mean ICU like we do here?

  50. Keep up this biased blogging and you might be rewarded with a lovely Senate posting, Coyne. Way to keep partisanship alive and well.

  51. It is the time to point fingers. Government is generally inept. That is a known fact.

    • Yes, but we all live in hope that it can be made better. Otherwise none of us would bother.

    • How does "crow" taste?

      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/h1n1-s

      Perry Kendall, British Columbia's public health officer, said delivery of the shots is lagging because of Ottawa's quicker than expected approval of the H1N1 vaccine. The infrastructure for administering the inoculations, which includes volunteers and vaccinators, was ready to begin rolling on Nov. 9, but Health Canada gave its approval the week of Oct. 26.

      fewer than three million doses, or less than half of the available supply. No shortage.

      Media opposition MP fearmonger creating hysteria scaring public to overwhelm the clinics!

      Nice Job for adding to the confusion.

  52. If you thought that Carolyn Bennet was hysterical, when she asked the question, as supplied by OLO staff, "Why does the government have only a single source for manufacture of vaccine?"
    she went completely ballistic, with the Opposition leader's staff ( welcome to the OLO Peter Donolo) when informed that the truth is that it was Jean Chretien that negotiated and signed the single source 10 year $323 million, beginning in 2001. She was pacified and came down of the ceiling, when she was informed that the upside was that the Liberal Party got a $56,000 donation ( some would say kickback) from the firm.
    Is it time for Judge Gomery to begin an investigation of the Liberal Party, on kickbacks to the party, for government contracts, as the Liberal way of doing government business – this could make the sponsorship scandal of theft of Canadian taxpayer's money, look like peanuts in comparison.

    • Peter,

      You write this as if you know this happened…..do you have a link to the story or are you speaking from first hand knowledge?

  53. 13% of 4700 is 611, so 150 of those being children seems a reasonable number.

  54. We are all victims of the mindset that Government can solve all problems or are to blame for any mishap in our lives. We are fed daily the plight of our health care systems, underfunded and understaffed. As a small community in BC we had our second flu shots available today+h1n1 and the two local pharmacies will hold a total of 11 more dates in Nov. Our Dr.s are administering to most in need Seniors. Perhaps the problem lies in the large populated areas but this is logistics for our Health Region high paid administrators…. The overblown hype by media causes the panic. Every death becomes a huge news story, like the listeriosis scourge .Where is there responsibility to promote the Health officers statements without their infernal politically biased questions about inefficiencies…or did they all want big bucks for advertising what they were being told as a public service? This was a National program andneeded National support which Canada never gives, always has to find fault and scapegoats. The short time from isolating the virus and making the vaccine is a marvel of modern times Be grateful you have the choice to be vaccinated or not…..

    • "The overblown hype by media causes the panic."

      No, Granny – healthy 13 year old kids dropping dead causes panic. The Harper government and all the ConBots on this comment board totally downplaying the seriousness of the problem and blowing off any criticism when there is obvious public concern causes panic. Justified panic, I might add.

  55. I take back that math quip I made! :)

    • Never mind, I never got to complain that conservatiuves can't count.

  56. Question: Since health care is a provincial responsibility, why is the federal government responsible for acquiring and distributing the vaccine to the provinces? Why can't or don't each of the provinces negotiate their own supply chain?

    • Some people need a scapegoat. Some people hate the CPC, facts rarely matter.

      • I hate the CPC as it is now, but I also happen to like facts.

      • He raises a good point, why do you have to answer with anti-partisan-paranoia?

        If Harper had his way back in 2000 then the provinces would bear more responsibility over their healthcare infrastructure and would handle the vaccination more smoothly.

        I personally think that it's ludicrous that the feds are pushing the vaccines onto the already overburdened provinces without any other help.

        • Maybe the Federal Government should follow the example of Pierre Trudeau and invoke the War Measures Act to protect the priority list and round up those NHL doctors?

          I understand why Liberals keep praising China on the environment, healthcare, human rights. They want a big central government.

          • That's just a crass over-generalization from a lazy conservative and has nothing to do with what either I or Catelli wrote.

          • The decision by the Federal Liberals and Provincial Tories to politicize for cheap shot is not an over generalization.

            Years ago both major parties made substantial cuts. Federal Liberals gutted transfers to Ontario in Healthcare, Education and Social Services. Bob Rae, Mike Harris made cuts to reduce the deficits. Bob Rae decided to limit the amount of medical students -doctors graduating from Ontario.

            Try my column: "HINI virus could be our Katrina — Toronto is woefully unprepared to handle a major swine flu outbreak." I wrote it July 26, three months before the mess we're in now.

            In July, Dr. Allison McGeer, head of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital, noted Liberal and Conservative governments had ignored 12 years of warnings from five royal commissions that they had gutted public health resources, reducing our ability to respond to a pandemic.

            http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/lorr

            An inconvenient truth Liberals ignore the Billions they cut to Ontario in Healthcare?

            How is that an overgeneralization, those cuts would have NO impact on the ability of the Provincial or Local Health officials in Ontario ?

            How does suggesting advertising on EAP (Federal Gov't) can't multitask is not a cheap shot?

            How does sending a 10% on taxpayers dime about bodybags and aboriginal dying after the a review cleared the governement and the health official?

            How does Liberal MP's/Tory MPPs creating hysteria, confusion. mixed messages help deliver a unified message?

            You need to blame conservatives, I blame opposition who ignore the updates and messages from the experts who have been providing regular consistent messages and updates.

            This is NOT a crisis until the media, opposition ran the deaths of two healthy teens. Sars killed 44 in Canada, 800 worldwide, Austrailia went through it already WITHOUT the vaccine. Seasonal Flu will kill more this year.

            The MATH does not demostrate a CRISIS, only the opposition and people like you who are enabling them.

            Google Spanish Flu, 50 million. Worldwide Mortality Estimates for H1N1 is less than SEASONAL Flu!

          • http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/h1n1-s

            Perry Kendall, British Columbia's public health officer, said delivery of the shots is lagging because of Ottawa's quicker than expected approval of the H1N1 vaccine. The infrastructure for administering the inoculations, which includes volunteers and vaccinators, was ready to begin rolling on Nov. 9, but Health Canada gave its approval the week of Oct. 26.

            So tell me how does "crow" taste?

          • That is meaningless nonsense. The federal government should have given priority to the production of H1N1 vaccine and had the most vulnerable vaccinated BEFORE the flu season started in October. Instead, they gave priority to seasonal flu. Seasonal flu doesn't kill healthy young adults and children like H1N1 does. Get a grip.

    • After SARS, the feds and the provinces agreed who would do what. As pandemics are, by definition, larger than a single province, it makes total sense for the feds to take responsibility for acquiring the vaccine. It was by agreement. But the feds under the Harper Conservative government have clearly let everybody down.

      • Maybe that agreement needs to be revisited. Reducing the links in the chain by one, makes it less likely to break.

        MFG->PROV->HEALTH_UNITS
        vs.
        MFG->FEDS->PROV->HEALTH_UNITS

        Each link in the chain can have communication breakdowns, conflicts and other issues that delay delivery of the product to the citizen.

        In my ideal world, the shorter chain would look like this:
        MFG->FEDS->HEALTH_UNITS

        But that's a whole other topic

        • Your ideal scenario fails, however, given the reality of provincial administration of those very health units.

          • Some people believe mandarins in "Ottawa" should make all the decisions and deliver vs local health officials. It won't work.

            We need to hold each party (health experts, government, civil servants) accountable for their decisions actions but grandstanding is not appropriate from any opposition MP, MPP from any level or party.

          • Yeah, by all means no grandstanding, that would hurt the Conservative Party of Canada when everybody realizes that it is their lack of leadership and total incompetence that has got us in this crisis to begin with. And of course the Conservatives themselves would never try to make political hay out of this if the positions were reversed. Really, the PMO needs to come with a more credible set of talking points …

          • Exactly. I get that, but I can still dream.

  57. The academy award winning performance by Carolyn Bennett really blew my mind.As a medical Doctor she should be aware that in many with her stupid remarks she created panic.Will some please tell her the few deaths that have occurred to date?This reminds me of y2K the sky is falling.One thing I would like answered is: why aren't the kids in China and India falling like flies with their sanitary conditions.they do not live in isolation from the rest of the world.It is really sickening to see the well our members of parliament act in a so called crisis Party first People second

    • Argh! The Y2K argument.

      Y2K WAS a big deal. Take it from someone that was involved with it. The only reason why things didn't go horribly wrong is because of the successful efforts of thousands of computer geeks working long hours checking and fixing code. There was a real concern, but through the concerted efforts of many, we avoided the worst case outcomes.

    • The opposition federal and provincial are responsible for playing games. This is NOT a crisis. The mortality rates are not significant. They are exploiting the deaths for tv ratings, news coverage.
      Without hysteria, fearmongering, lack of balance from the media and opposition this will be similar to SARS in its Financial toll to Canada.

      No one credible is denying mistakes or things could have been better,smoother.

      Facts are being ignored about H1N1 for grandstanding trying to win back support and paint the Federal and Provincial, local health officials as incomptent, evil, uncaring.

      Simply pathetic on opposition MP's, MPP's. ( I blame ALL)

  58. The Liberal Party has used its Parliamentary time and media friends to turn a serious health issue into a fear mongering crisis – Why would they do this? To try to score some political points – I get so frustrated when I hear these Liberals misleading the public, having their friends in the media pretend there is confusion and panic because of something Harper did or didn't do. The only people that are confused or panicked are those that listen to the Liberal party – listen to the senior Health officials for the Federal government, ten Provincial governments and three Territorial governments and you will understand the risk and the options available. Following a week of panic inducing false reporting and misinformation, people have come to their senses – today there was no line up at the local clinic and people were being vaccinated. I am quite concerned over how the major media outlets become so consumed by the Liberal's chicken-little rampage – they contribute nothing while spreading fear and confusion.

    • Nobody is misreporting anything, it is simply not necessary. The facts are worrying enough.

      • FACT: You and opposition are to blame for spreading misinformation.

        Regular updates has proven this is NOT a crisis.

        The Federal opposition and Provincial opposition with the MEDIA have ignored the mortality rates for H1N1 an chose to enable the Media on the deaths of a few citizens.

        More die every year from Seasonal Flu.

        • You've already demonstrated your callous disregard for the deaths of otherwise healthy children. You should stop while you're ahead, you're convincing nobody.

          • It's true: if you don't agree with the Liberal Party of Canada talking points on this issue, then you are a heartless ogre who is responsible killing children.

  59. -” Even at that, we might have got by without the lineups of the past week. Not two weeks ago, the public gave every indication of giving the whole thing a pass. Polls showed only a small minority intended to get vaccinated. So the authorities were likely planning on the basis of a leisurely take-up rate. Then 13-year-old hockey player died suddenly of the disease, and everyone flipped — from apathy to mass panic, in the space of a couple of days. Couple that with large numbers of queue-jumpers, healthy adults who are not among the high-priority, and you have a recipe for incipient chaos.”

    Ac, while ageeing with much of what you have to say here – particularly your concluding sentence:’The task now should not be to point fingers, but to learn so we can all do a better job the next time, when the stakes may be very much higher’ –
    when i read through the piece iv’e quoted i can’t help nodding but reaching a slightly different conclusion than yourself. So unexpected events happened and the public panicked. Result: your plan doesn’t work anymore…but isn’t that the whole point of emergency preparedness? You have contingency plans. PlanB. Whatever! You sorta try to anticipate something going wrong, yes? Surely someone said: ” What if they all come at once”! What was the response? ” Well, then i guess we’re f—-d”!!! Don’t we pay people to anticipate these things?

    • Swine flu fiasco
      Everyone needs the H1N1 vaccine. Few plan to get it. What you need to know. What you need to do

      I recommend this piece. Oddly enough it's right here at Macleans.
      One of the points made in the above article is that the public had every reason to be confused by mixed messaging, and are not just exhibiting a herd mentality as some are alleging. Yes they panicked at bad news, but they had some reason to be skeptical and reluctant to come forward for a shot even as little as two weeks ago.
      Again, shouldn't the flu response plan have anticipated problems, perhaps even panic?

  60. Never mind any rational argument, never mind the fact that we have a "pandemic" with almost zero casualties, never mind a week ago polls were showing half the population was swearing they were not going to take the shot as it was a plot by big pharma to cash in, never mind the next week 33 million nitwits were standing outside arenas at 4am demanding to all get the shot at the same time. Heck, lets blame the "Evil Harper" for the 1918 Spanish Flu as well. Meanwhile back to the fear mongering… "news" at 11. Cheers

    • Agreed those with an axe to grind ignore facts. They ignore division of powers between the Federal Government and Provinces. They just want to blame everything of current government regardless if the crisis is fake or if some of the provinces screwed up.

      If some provincial or local health officials sent supplies to the wrong priority list, still Harper's fault. The personal bias is too great for some people.

  61. Excellent sober analysis, Andrew. Shame that it got one surprising commenter, who I usually count on to "mull" things over non-hysterically, to flip.

    But I rise to speak to one quibble, perhaps minor, perhaps not:

    Then 13-year-old hockey player died suddenly of the disease, and everyone flipped…

    When that unfortunate boy died, everyone did flip. He and his family became an (understatement alert) unwilling participant in the public awareness campaign to get the population to take the vaccine seriously. But. Are we all absolutely convinced this victim died OF the disease? A medical commentator or two have murmured that "dropping dead" does not fit with the usual pattern of decline, and the family has reportedly not consented to an autopsy.

    • You are being very silly, MYL. Toronto Public Health confirmed in this news release dated 27 October that Evan Frustaglio died from H1N1. Please do not distort the facts.

      • I am not saying he didn't die of it. I am reporting what some medical commenters have said, more than a little incredulous at the turn of events, because it does not fit with the usual course of events. Is all.

        • That's not 'all' you said. You suggested that because there was no autopsy (and who knows if that is even true) that the cause of death wasn't known, and also, that Evan's parents may have 'refused' autopsy for some sort of nefarious reason. What you wrote sucks! I reported your comment but I see it's still here. Apparently, Macleans is fine to use that child in their writing without even mentioning his name, and see his family abused on the comment board, but they're not OK with me posting here…. hmmmm.
          http://tinyurl.com/ycofkok

          • You are obviously reading stuff I didn't write, Kaaren. Where on earth do you see "nefarious," please?

          • The fact you had to clarify your remarks twice says it all.

          • The fact you impute some nonexistent "nefarious" accusation of mine in my accounting of a perfectly allowable declining of an autopsy says all I need to know about you. I would ask that you continue to use the double-A unregistered user name here, so that I may recognize your writing and offer it exactly the level of attention it deserves. Many thanks.

  62. Mr. Coyne should provide his advice to his friends in the media who have exacerbated this thing all out of proportion and scared the crap out of the population. The death of the 13 year old hockey player contributed to that hysteria.
    Of course the Iffy Liberals are doing their best to lay the issue at the feet of the goverment. They are using it as a wedge issue which shows clearly the Libs are desperate. Problem for them is that Canadians know exactly what they are doing and it is going to backfire on them. Watching Bob Rae, Carolyn Bennett and Hedy Fry performing their antics hurt the leader of the opposition who is posing legitimate questions in the House.

  63. We need to keep in mind that our governments, federal and provincial, put forward their best efforts to deliver us this flu vaccine.

    After all, H1N1-2009 was very deadly in Mexico and there has been no generally accepted explanation why it stopped being so deadly. So it could have turned deadly again this fall.

    So they gave it their best effort, the effort they'd have given it if this fall the mortality rate was 10%, and this was the best they could do — let 3,000,000 Canadians die.

    We have to do better. We have to have the vaccine in bodies at the start of the flu season.

    The next flu or other plague might have a 10% mortality rate. We need to be prepared.

      • Yes, you've already confirmed that people dying from H1N1 doesn't matter to you, because less people have died from it than seasonal flu. At least up to now.

    • Or perhaps it was simply because Mexico is a third world country. racked with poverty, poor housing, drug wars and is close to becoming a failed state. But never mind rational explanations, lets get back to the fear mongering

  64. Andrew Coyne is right on with his comments!!

  65. It is totally ridiculous that our provincial governments have not distributed those 4.7 million doses to that are sitting on shelves to family doctors and the appropriate specialist MDs for administration to high-risk groups.

    These MDs give the seasonal flu vaccinations, and other more complex vaccines, every year, they have the refrigerated storage facilities, they have the expertise, they have the organization — and they are the only ones in the health care system who know who is in the high-risk groups.

    (This flu is only one flu vaccine, whereas the seasonal flu vaccine is 3 vaccines against 3 seasonal flues in one. Also, flu vaccines in Canada only contain dead virus. Some other vaccines used in Canada contain weakened virus. The H1N1 vaccine being used in Canada is very straight forward.)

    As well, vaccinations of the general public should take place in schools. Students during the day, adults at night. This was how Manitoba did its polio vaccinations in 2 weeks back in 1962 (injected) and 1964(?) (oral). Pull nurses off of other duties for 2 weeks to get it done.

    After all, if someone gets a bad case of H1N1-2009 they're likely to be in intensive care for 6 weeks. Figuring 1/2 nurses/patient, 3 eight hour shifts per day, 7 days per week, 6 weeks, that is 63 nurse days to take care of one bad case of H1N1. (Plus there is the time of physicians, respiratory technologists, anaesthetists, and lab technicians.) Allowing 5 minutes per vaccination, 63 nurse-days is enough to vaccinate 6,048 patients.

  66. "If the WHO said the unadjuvanted variant is ok for pregnant women, why the need for the Australian order? "

    Because at the time WHO said the unajuncted vaccine was safer for pregnant women. WHO changed its mind based on new evidence. (That is, this had nothing to do with PM Harper panicking.

    Also, those complaining that PM Harper's government should be spending money advertising the flu vaccine programs need to remember: (1) The flu vaccination programs are provincial and vary by province. (2) The flu vaccination programs have enough free publicity. (3) People value impartial media reports more than paid advertisements. If the public needs to know something for the public good, the press should cover it and provide the information.

    Finally, that supposedly "surplus" flu vaccine should never have been approved for sale abroad before enough vaccine was stock-piled to vaccinate all Canadians. It is CSIS and torture all over again, with federal government employees putting the interests of foreign powers ahead of the life-and-death interests of Canadians, and Canadians die by mistake.

    We dodged a bullet. Canadians will die from the vaccine shortage, but it will be dozens or hundreds, and only a few dozen of those will be completely healthy.

    *IF* this had been the severe epidemic being planned for, an epidemic as H1N1-2009 first presented itself last spring — the current federal and provincial healthcare management teams would have let 10% of Canadians die (3,300,000). We dodged a bullet by luck, not by skill. The teams are incompetent.

  67. There was no way to predict the death of the 13 year old hockey player, but its co-incidence on the very date of the vaccine release did create mass panic. I suspect that this mass panic was pleasing to government officials, it at least compelled the masses to line up. The biggest threat to Canada was a low uptake on the vaccine – to have so many vaccinated is excellent! It certainly makes me happy to know we're suddenly injection enthusiasts. If only we could incite such hysteria every year for the seasonal flu!

    • Has anyone confirmed what exactly this poor kid actually died of. An MD wrote to our local paper saying the public was poorly served by the hysterical reporting. The MD said he suspected(as did I) the he might have contracted meningitis but it would require tissue cultures to be taken to be sure. The few facts that I was able to glean out of the hysteria made me think the same thing. But never mind any investigative journalism, keep the hysteria coming.

  68. These are massive human resource requirements, even to do a task that takes about a minute. If we assume a rate of one per minute, the nurse can only do about 50 per hour (she gets a 10 minute break each hour). That's 500 per day, with overtime. You'd therefore require 2,000 nurses to execute a million shots in a day. These people have regular jobs to attend as well. Once again, Canadian health care hauls ass. Its rare that demand for healthcare so severely outstrips short term supply, but wow are people ever upset about it! Shame on all the burly middle age men that budded in front of a bunch of pregnant ladies. Boooooo. Knowing a few folks that have survived this think already, I have to say I want the vaccine, just to avoid the symptoms: but we know it won't kill us. I just think that when our senior health advisors say "women and children first" we should voluntarily comply – even though it is technically a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  69. " There is no emergency. The current flu outbreak kills at a fraction of the rate of regular, seasonal flu, which hardly anyone worries about."

    AMEN!! Finally, some sense from the media on this issue.

  70. Just a useful diagram showing the information that health care people would have been working with when looking at timing. The diagram shows the distribution of Peak Month of Influenza over the last 26 years.

    http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.ht

    With no other knowledge other than the past behaviour of the flu you tell me what you think your timing estimation would be. Having an innoculation program running anytime before peak is worthwhile.

    And lookey here at the front page of the Globe

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/h1n1-s

    More than half the shipped doses still in storage…..its almost like Coyne and a few other rational people were psychic or something, or could use a calculator.

  71. Could Maclean's cover story have contributed to the hysteria?

    • I think the cover and subsequent story was addressing the on the fence attitude many Canadians had about the vaccine two weeks ago. So many people still were latching onto the idea that the shot was some evil pharma plan and of course every parent I know was out there looking at homeopathic options rather than expose kids to less mercury than a tuna sandwich and far less toxins than new carpet and flooring.
      Of course I am in a high-priority group (asthma) and STILL have been able to get my shot thanks to the crazy line ups in our area. We have only had 3 clinics and they stop giving the shot when they hit 1500 doses each day. I am a teacher (germ-ridden kids all around :>) and I get the flu shot each year with no side-effects and have been flu free since I started getting the shot 10 years ago. I think it works, I will get the H1N1 shot as soon as I can.

      In my humble opinion the news media (TV, MSN) are the big ones to blame. Maclean's has a whole week to check out their facts rather than the hour by hour Balloon Boy electronic media.

  72. With the recent disclosure, that Jean Chretien and the Liberals, awarded a sole contract of 326 million dollars for the manufacture of vaccine in Canada, which is highly unusual for a huge contract of that size, and since the Liberal Party were the recipients of a 56 thousand dollar donation (kickback), how big was this kick back scheme of government contracts by the Liberals . The Canadian taxpayer, should demand, and get another Gomery enquiry, to investigate this new twist of the theft of the Canadian taxpayer's money. Isn't it scandalous, that Ignatieff employs two of the men of Chretien's inner circle of those days, in Peter Donolo and Warren Kinsella as close confidants today in running the LIberal Party.

  73. I don't always agree with Andrew Coyne, but he's absolutely right on here. Indications were not that many were planning to get the vaccine, then the death happened and all of a sudden it's pandemonium.

    I don't know how anyone expects millions of Canadians to be vaccinated within minutes ( ok days)…

    I also happen to agree with Wells that this really isn't the issue to be focusing on, and the revelations about stimulus seem to have much more to do with what the federal government actually is or isn't doing.

  74. I have to wonder if Coyne fact checks anything he writes or just repeats everything he is told? Last I checked, the Government of Canada contract with GSK didn't restrict us to a sole source for the Vaccine, it only requires that 50% of the total vaccines are bought from GSK.

    For reference, check out this piece on the Canadian Competition Bureau website:

    In September 2001, as a result of a competitive bidding process, PWGSC contracted on behalf of the F/P/T jurisdictions with Shire Biochem Inc. to develop and maintain, in Canada, a state of influenza pandemic vaccine production readiness and to provide vaccine in the event of a pandemic. Shire Biochem Inc. later sold its vaccine business to IDB in September 2004. Under the terms of this contract, Shire would develop sufficient production infrastructure to produce up to eight million doses of pandemic influenza vaccine per month. Among the conditions of the contract was the requirement that Shire would ensure a secure supply of all raw materials necessary for vaccine production. When it awarded the contract, the F/P/T jurisdictions also agreed to purchase 50 percent of the annual public requirements for influenza vaccines from Shire for the next 10 years, until 2011, in order to ensure that the company's influenza vaccine production equipment would remain in working order and be available in the event of a pandemic. IDB assumed the terms of the pandemic contract when it acquired Shire in September 2004.

    http://www.cb-bc.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/021

  75. I find it odd that the government can manage to have every one vote in a single day yet cannot manage administering something like this.

    Although availability of the supply is certainly a factor, why can't they use polling stations and pharmacists to administer?

  76. Some facts for Mr. Coyne.
    The 2001 vaccine supply contract – signed by the Liberal government – ensured that there would be a domestic supply of vaccine in case of a pandemic.

    The contract was not exclusive and has been made public. The Canadian government was free to purchase from other suppliers. That was the point: capture a domestic supply, but give the government flexibility to act in a crisis.

    The Conservatives renegotiated the agreement in 2007, but details have not been released.

    The 2004 Liberal Pandemic Plan called for using multiple suppliers to ensure a reliable source. The Conservatives ignored this recommendation.

    Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones confirmed Tuesday that the federal government could order more vaccine from other suppliers.

    The decision of the govt to instruct GSK to halt production on the adjuvanted vaccine in order to make some non-adjuvanted for pregnant women is what has caused the shortages this week.

  77. WHO = IPCC .

  78. Notes for Mr. Coyne.

    The 2001 vaccine supply contract – signed by the Liberal government – ensured that there would be a domestic supply of vaccine in case of a pandemic.

    The contract was not exclusive and has been made public. The Canadian government was free to purchase from other suppliers. That was the point: capture a domestic supply, but give the government flexibility to act in a crisis.

    The Conservatives renegotiated the agreement in 2007, but details have not been released.

    The 2004 Liberal Pandemic Plan called for using multiple suppliers to ensure a reliable source. The Conservatives ignored this recommendation.

    Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler-Jones confirmed Tuesday that the federal government could order more vaccine from other suppliers.

    The decision of the government to instruct GSK to halt production on the adjuvanted vaccine in order to make some non-adjuvanted for pregnant women is what has caused the shortages this week.

  79. Please Andrew, don't you know that most of the MSM and the leftie political loudmouths have no interest in FACTS or rationale – none.
    They'd rather put one case in the headlines, in order to create mass hysteria and panic, and mostly of course – try to score political points or try to make the Harper government look bad. On CTV news this am, one of their "journalists" (that's a laugh) headlined a story …"public outrage over the Calgary Flames getting their H1N1 shots……" Well, I dare anyone to show me factual information that there is "Public Outrage" over a hockey team arranging their own shots. The truth is the vast majority of the public couldn't care less. I'd bet the farm on it.

  80. Part 1:

    "- There is no emergency. The current flu outbreak kills at a fraction of the rate of regular, seasonal flu, which hardly anyone worries about. "

    This is a complete misrepresentation, to the extent that one can only wonder if it is deliberately intended. It is the number of deaths that must be looked at and not the rate. If the number of people who get H1N1 is ten times more than the regular flu then a mortality rate of 50% means 5 times more deaths. This is a nation wide EPIDEMIC and in fact has been declared by the World Health Organization as a PANDEMIC. Therefore we can expect that many times more people will contract N1H1 than "normal" – that's why they cal it an EPIDEMIC and not 'the seasonal flu'.

    For a timeline of the H1N1 PANDEMIC:<a href="http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/031109_h1n1e.pdf” target=”_blank”>http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/031109_h1n1e.pdf

    • Anyone shocked you failed to win the riding? Any shock the Liberals are going to PAY a big price at the next election using H1N1 to fearmonger and cause confusion? Any shock real Liberals are distancing themselves from the Liberal Party of Toronto?

      Worse than Dion, time to look in the mirror and put your country ahead of your broken tired party.

      • That's it, no rational argument as to why Harper might be right on this (and I mean in the moral sense). Oh, of course, I forgot that is not the Con's style of personal attack, insult, shirk responsibility, blame everyone and everything thing else for everything, obscure, obstruct, hide the truth.

        Compared to your other comments about Liberals this one is quite tame.

        The fact that you hide behind a fake name says it all – you don't even have the moral persuasion of conviction to stand up and be counted. On the other hand, reading your other comments one can easily see why you might be too embarrassed to do that.

        PS: It is nice to know that all I have to do to win in an election is listen to you – it might come in handy some day.

        Lloyd MacIlquham cicblog.com/comments.html

  81. Part 2:

    It is also a very sinister form of the flu in that generally the population in Canada has virtually no resistance to it (although they will), in fact it is reported that, essentially only those over 50 have built up a prior resistance. It has also been well documented to attack otherwise health individuals, and in particular our youth. In fact, children 5 and under have been identified as being a high risk group.

    For a timeline of the H1N1 PANDEMIC:<a href="http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/031109_h1n1e.pdf” target=”_blank”>http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/031109_h1n1e.pdf

  82. Part 3:

    To suggest that it is the Liberals fault for contracting the supply of seasonal flu vaccine from one supplier in 2001 is, again, misleading. As pointed out, this is a 2009-2010 EPIDEMIC and not the seasonal flu. Our government has had many months (since it appeared in Mexico with its alarming number of deaths) and there has been a huge publicity campaign by the UN to alert the governments of all countries and their citizens. This cannot be an excuse, nor should we allow it as one.

    Harper is the Prime Minster of Canada. This is a Canada wide epidemic. Instead of focusing all his and the Co's efforts and our tax dollars in Con'ing Canadians to identify the stimulus spending with Harper and the Cons and Canada be damned. Harper, Aglukkaq and the other Con's ought to have been focusing on the H1N1 epidemic and the distribution of the vaccine. Harper has spent scores of millions (100 millions dollars) in Con'ing us, can you imagine how smoothly and quickly the distribution of the H1N1 vaccine would have been if they had spent that money (and there is supposed to be 400 millions available for these purposes) and energy on this national medical emergency.

  83. Part 4:

    Harper is the Prime Minister of Canada, this is a Canada-wide epidemic, Harper should stand up, show some backbone, oh, sorry, leadership, and take responsibility. Instead, Harper, Aglukkaq and the other Con's are pointing to everyone else under the sun and say it's their fault.

    The biggest shame is how Harper, Aglukkaq and the other Con's point to other countries and say, look we are doing better than them. Two things, for a family of someone in Canada who dies from H1N1 when it might have been prevented, it is very little solace to point to some other country and say, well for every one that dies here, two die there. Also, as my pappy used to say: "if Joe Blow down the street is incredibly negligent in his actions and it leads to scores of people dying, does that mean you should be incredibly negligent".

  84. Part 5:

    The media also has a responsibility ("social contract") not to re-enforce this "its not my fault" approach to national emergencies by Harper, Aglukkaq and the other Con's. I understand that they want to sell paper's and … However, my consolance (apparently this is not a word???) is that soon enough the "traditional media" will go the way of the dinosaur and we will be given an opportunity to establish an 'Public Awareness Institution' that is not so self-interested, biased and focused on promoting their own agenda at the expense of all Canadians and this great nation of ours. Unfortunately it will be too late for this crisis.

    PS: why in the world would the host only allow so few words per post then suggest that, if too lon, to break it up into parts???

    For a timeline of the H1N1 PANDEMIC:<a href="http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/031109_h1n1e.pdf” target=”_blank”>http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/031109_h1n1e.pdf

  85. Part 6:

    Just one last thing . . .

    When are we going to Roll out the Harper Debunking Vaccine!

  86. I have now linked 10x demostrating the Liberals are without a policy, fearmongering a non crisis and you still have the gall to open your little mouth on this topic?

    You have no shame in adding to the hysteria and confusion caused by the Liberal or the media. Shame on you!

    You don't give a fig about Canadians or the deaths, you simply have a hate for the current government, parroted stupid factually INCORRECT statements over again.

    The term loser is much to kind for waste of skin. When you look in the mirror be ashamed, very ashamed for your part.

    • Insults are not arguments. Try again.

  87. Part 3A:

    "no worse than garden variety government bungling". To suggest that the way Harper, Aglukkaq and the other Con's are handling this emergency is acceptable because the government bungles everything else is bazaar.

    I only wish that the Fed's in combination with the Provinces and Municipalities would handle collecting taxes in the same fashion as Harper, Aglukkaq and the other Con's have been handling the H1N1 epidemic. Then, I'm sure, there would be a lot of very happy Canadians. Also, as mentioned this is not "garden variety" circumstances. This is a very serious EPIDEMIC that has a very serious mortality rate – i.e a national medical emergency – the need to collect taxes is not a national emergency, at least in my list of priorities, this is.

    It is fascinating to listen to Harper and the Con's explain, still once again, that it is not their fault. To listen to Harper, it is never his fault, it is always someone else's (one would think, just on the probabilities that something would be his fault, after all, no one is perfect)

  88. Andrew, where to start? – Part 1

    Canada and the United States:
    Comparing Canada (with medicare for all Canadians, albeit starved for funds by provinces and territories) to the United States (who has more people without medical coverage than the entire Canadian population) is not a great comparison. It is like the Alberta Finance Minister saying the province is better off than others during this recession as though everyone else has had the same natural resources in their backyard to benefit from for decades.

    Vaccination rollout:
    Never mind the number of doses, all summer long Canadians were assured to "Don't worry, be happy" there would be enough vaccine for all AND it would be on time. In respect to the medical decisions that delayed the rollout, we do have our own pandemic experts here in Canada who we could have relied on, not only the WHO.

    Polls:
    Since politicians are typically dismissive of polls (especially if the numbers are not in their favor), why are they now presenting this "methodology" as a reason for the chaos that ensued with clinics across the country?

  89. Andrew, where to start? – Part 2

    Non-emergency:
    While we can debate over whether the seaonal flu or H1N1 is "worse", it is generally understood that when a pandemic returns it is stronger than the first time. It has been "freakishly unlucky" unlucky for 101 Canadians who have died to date, those who are sick, employers who are short staffed and front line medical workers who are already strained tending to H1N1 patients admited to hospitals and ICU units.

    Single supplier:
    Yes, the Liberals signed a contract with a single supplier who did make a healthy donation to the Party.
    However, in the 2004 Pandemic Influenza Plan there was a contigency option to out source to other suppliers.

    Auditor General:
    Sheila Fraser was auditing the Public Safety Department and not Public Health but is it really such a quantum leap to make the link?

  90. Andrew, where to start? – Part 3

    The irony is that dismissive remarks such as "some bungling", "no worse than garden variety government bungling" go right to the crux of the problem: it was the responsibility of the federal government to demonstrate leadership by coordinating the various levels of government and the health regions – it didn't have to be like this.

    1. Take a look at the 453 page Pandemic Influenza Plan from February 2004 (it was widely praised as one of the most comprehensive in the world)
    If you can find it anywhere – any reference to it seems to have been removed from the Government of Canada website. After working my way through search engines, I finally found it here:
    http://www.carolynbennett.ca/dev/downloads/pandem

  91. Andrew, where to start? – Part 4

    2. Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/branch-dirgen/phac
    The Public Health Agency of Canada has been created to deliver on the Government of Canada's commitment to help protect the health and safety of all Canadians. Its activities focus on:
    preventing chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease,
    preventing injuries, and
    responding to public health emergencies and infectious disease outbreaks.

    There has been a pandemic plan in place since 1998 which this federal government failed miserably at implementing.

    3. Visit Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ahc-asc/minist/portfolio/i
    "The Minister of Health is responsible for maintaining and improving the health of Canadians." PERIOD.

  92. Andrew, where to start? – Part 5

    Bottom line:
    Some posters and press truly astound me: the Conservatives can do wrong, the Liberals are criticized for holding the government to account and the media is scaring the public?" Take a moment to think what would have been said if this chaotic H1N1 vaccine roll out had occurred under a Liberal Government.

  93. Andeew, where to start? – Part 6

    For those of you attacking Dr. Carolyn Bennett, indeed she does know better. As a medical doctor and the Minister of Public Health, she established the Public Health Agency, appointed the Chief Public Health Officer and set up the Public Health Network for Canada so Canadians would be kept informed and the various levels of government would work together. She is the canary in the coal mine, alerting the government to the lessons learned from SARS (44 lives) and listeriosis (22 lives). This is not about partisan politicking but 1) saving lives, 2) preventing illness and 3) a loss of productivity. Has it not occurred you that she is motivated by her professional oath to "prescribe regimens for the good of my patients according to my ability and my judgment and never do harm to anyone." For her efforts heckled and laughed at by the Conservatives in the House of Commons and subjected to ridicule and personal attack in forums such as these.

  94. Are you not able to use a search engine ?

    To quote from the Toronto Sun's story of 27 October entitled "Public Health Confirms H1N1 Death" :

    "Evan Frustaglio died from swine flu yesterday, Toronto Public Health officials have confirmed. The 13-year-old's father told the Sun last night the coroner's office had told the family Evan died from the H1N1 virus but official confirmation came from public health this morning."

    To quote from a Toronto Public Health press release dated 27 October :

    "Toronto Public Health today confirmed the death of a 13 year-old boy from H1N1 on Monday October 26, 2009. This is the first reported H1N1-related death in Toronto this fall.

    “It is always a tragedy when a child dies,” said Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto. “As a parent and as a health care worker, I extend my sympathies to the boy's family, his friends at school and his hockey community.”

    Those who had contact with this boy are not at higher risk of contracting H1N1 said Dr. McKeown.

    “Most flu illness is mild. However, severe illness and death are part of this pandemic, and vaccination is the best way to protect the population, especially those who are vulnerable,” Dr. McKeown said. “The H1N1 vaccine is 90 per cent effective at preventing illness.” "

    Is this clear enough for you ? Or perhaps some "investigative journalism" is needed. Really.

  95. Nope, we all have that desire. What we do not share is the reflex hate-on for the officials who have been doing their damnedest to get everything right, with the rabid thrashing about on this very page.

    Really, friend, where have you been every year that seasonal flu kills thousands? Are you really willing to believe that the folks in government don't give a damn about the population and their health? What part of "ahead of the rest of the world" is not sinking in? For this public health "crisis" to turn into some opportunity for Tory-bashing is just ludicrous, imho.

  96. Carolyn Bennett is a doctor, but she's also a partisan politician. She's a Liberal Party of Canada MP. As such, she's not some sainted voice of professional and scientific objectivity in this story. If you crawl into the mud-wrestling ring and start flinging mud at your opponent (cf. Carolyn Bennett at press conference), you shouldn't be whining about the fact that you get some mud flung back at you.

    If I want reliable, objective scientific and public policy advice on this issue, I'm not going to ask a Liberal MP. Or any other MP or politician. If you can't grasp that, go look up "bias" in the dictionary.

  97. I see where you're coming from, myl, but I just don't agree. I believe the Conservatives mishandled this and that attacking them on that basis is fair game. Here are the reasons I believe they screwed up.

    The seasonal flu kills old people and people who are already sick, not children. That is why I seem bat $h1t crazy about this. Lots of others feel the same way. Acting like a few children dying is no big deal like many who are defending Harper's government are here is totally unacceptable.

    By the way, our unpreparedness in Ontario for SARS cost a lot of Harper's ministers their jobs as Ontario MPPs. You would have thought they learned from the experience, but apparently not. That also makes them fair game.

  98. How did the Federal government fail to assist the provinces? (Opposition talking point-from Liberals after "shortage" got exposed as a fabrication)

    The Federal Government was EARLY in their APPROVAL OCT 26 vs the initial plan. Are you suggesting NOW the Federal government should have held it back until the Province and Local health officials got ramped up?

    Clearly the Feds got it right, got it out early, had a PLAN to deliver but the breakdown took place with the Provinces and the local health officials in SOME provinces.

    Did EVERY province or local health office have problems rolling out the mass immunizations? NO.

    Focus.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/h1n1-s

    • There seems to be some sort of disconnect between what I write and what you read.
      If I was suggesting that the federal government should have delayed delivery of the vaccine that was approved early, that's what I would have said instead of what I did say.

      Early approval of the vaccine by the federal government is obviously not something the provinces are accustomed to dealing with, so it would have been prudent of the federal government to advise and assist the provinces in rolling out the vaccine earlier than planned for. The fact that some jurisdictions managed the rollout better than others would seem to prove my point that it could have been managed better by all jurisdictions if the federal government had properly assumed it's responsibility as the senior level of government and offered advice and resources to all the provinces.

  99. Then allow me to be the not-quite-first to tell you to TAKE A BREATH. And this is coming from a middle-aged male whose entire family has spent the week in "domestic lockup" because we've each had a turn with the virus. Our province has been, I think, the absolute slowest to roll out vaccine to us mere citizens, and yet even if we were magically undeservedly first in line the virus might have beat our immune response to the vaccine anyways. For me and my family, the virus beat the vaccine. It was bound to happen to many of us, and was the ONLY weakness I saw coming when I was battling it out with the freakazoids in the "swine flu fiasco" post.

    It's a mild disease. The major concern, statistically, is not that you or someone you know will die of this, or spend weeks in ICU. The major concern is that even if a dozen people do at every hospital, we're sunk, our system can't handle that.

    Your "reasons" link send me to the top of this page, not to the specific comment, so I am guessing you are monday-morning quarterbacking over decisions made based on best-available evidence at the time. Which is not a fair methodology for any partisan sniping, and, frankly, beneath you. Not others, mind, but beneath you.

    On another thread, I laid out why this was a loser scenario politically from the start, and that it would be too easy for losers to take self-satisfied smirking shots at the people who are working their asses off trying to get it right. And you never struck me as the loser type. So please take this as a friendly fellow commenter who enjoys our occasional conversations: step back from the cliff.

  100. Mulletaur the Moron

    Opens his mouth and states he knows better than the experts. You don't care about the truth or lives. It is all about your idealogy.

  101. The Auditor General , for whom I usually have a lot of respect acted like an idiot.

    There was already enough panic and hysteria about H1N1 without the AG adding to the fire with her comments which were not H1N1 specific.

    If she had any common sense , she would have held her comments until after the H1N1 immunization was complete … UNLESS her department just wanted to further embarrass the government.

    • Yes, very uncomfortable for the government, isn't it ? Otherwise known as accountability. You would rather that she made her comments when it was no longer an issue, but what use would that be ? Oh, sorry, forgot, it wouldn't embarass the government that way, yeeeeesssss ….

  102. FACTS can be brutal. You are a shameful person who used "deaths of children" for political cheap shots.

  103. You may not have been patient enough with the link, you have to wait a second for Intense Debate to load :

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/11/04/notes-on-a-non

    " … so I am guessing you are monday-morning quarterbacking over decisions made based on best-available evidence at the time … "

    Nope, I am criticising the federal government based on facts and arguments. I would just add some of Harper's ministers were minister in the Ontario government when SARS hit and the province was clearly unprepared. They should have learned something from the experience, which they clearly have not.

    • OK, I hit the link and this time got to your list of block-lettered FACTs.

      You can second-guess the decision to complete the seasonal flu vaccine order before doing H1N1. But please note that your punching bags in elected office took advice based on available evidence from their public health smart people. And seasonal flu will STILL kill more people every year than H1N1 will (your "greater threat" line fails as fact, here), so the decision to go seasonal first was not without justification. The whole adjuvant / no-adjuvant mess also had a very reasonable basis at the time. Turns out H1N1 reared its ugly head in large numbers starting mid-October, and having vaccine around even a week earlier would have made a difference. But vaccine WAS around ahead of schedule, and a very significant number of doses of vaccine are already inside the muscles of Canadians, many of whom were telling pollsters to just kiss off this whole vaccine thing anyways only a couple weeks earlier.

      Look at the whole picture. Spare a thought for the people who are doing everything they can to get this right, and keep modifying the rules because we all keep learning about this thing. Look outside our borders and see that Canada is holding up very well. Spare us the histrionic "tell that to the dead kid's family" line — everyone agrees a premature death is tragic. Putting that boy's blood on the hands of our public health people and Minister Aglukkaq and Harper is facile, wrong, partisan, irresponsible and disgusting. And does absolutely nothing useful to support our decision-makers as they work at rolling out still more vaccine asap across the country.

      • "But please note that your punching bags in elected office took advice based on available evidence from their public health smart people."

        No they didn't. They were recommended not to have a sole source of vaccine. They did not take that advice. Please stick to the facts.

        • Recommended by whom? Senior managers at public health? Or competitors to the sole source, which by the way has rolled out vaccine faster than anybody can use anyways? Referrals to documented evidence would be nice.

          • You can read the Globe and Mail as well as I can :

            "Canada needs more than one vaccine manufacturer to deal with future flu pandemics and to avoid production delays that have affected the fight against the H1N1 virus, federal officials say.

            "There is no debate. We all feel that when the time will come to renegotiate, we will go to tenders on a two-part contract to ensure maximum flexibility," said a senior official who has been working directly on the file.

            While the Harper government has applauded GlaxoSmithKline Inc. for making more than 6 million doses so far at its facility in Ste-Foy, Que., a number of officials involved in the crisis said Canada deserves a second producer in the future.

            Had that been the case this time, one manufacturer could have worked on the production of vaccines with the adjuvant additive, while the other one could have produced non-adjuvanted vaccines for pregnant women.

            GSK was forced to make changes to its production line in mid-course, which caused delays in the delivery of vaccines to the provinces.

            The official said that a simple stroke of bad luck can endanger thousands of doses of vaccine, and that it's better to "be safe than sorry" when it comes to production matters."

          • Two suppliers DOUBLES the chance that something bad might happen to the order, but the bad would only happen to half of it. One supplier indeed puts all the eggs in one basket.

            Unless you want to pay for both suppliers to belt out 50 million doses each, just to be safe. So why stop there, why not three? four?

            All for the privilege of flooding the zone with product so much sooner that the provinces still can't handle anyways. So sorry, I remain unconvinced that the federal government has been so incompetent on this issue to merit your kids'-blood-on-their-hands hair-pulling. Especially if you actually care to look around the globe.

          • "Two suppliers DOUBLES the chance that something bad might happen to the order … "

            ConBots twisting themselves into pretzels trying to justify the incompetence of the Harper Conservative government makes for good entertainment, but it doesn't change the fact of the incompetence of the Harper Conservative government on H1N1.

          • Buddy, feel free to read the whole paragraph, would you? At least the first one? You might actually discern that I was actually partially agreeing with you on the risk to the whole order.

            And there is NOTHING entertaining about this story. They did their best. The virus beat the vaccine for many, but not all. The vaccine made it in significant but not total quantities, and distribution is snagging (not surprisingly) anyways. People are dying. The Monday morning quarterbacks are now all braying about how H1N1 should have been produced instead before seasonal. Dudes, if the timing of H1N1 were earlier enough it WOULD HAVE BEEN one of the three components of the seasonal vaccine itself!

            In the spring, the prevailing wisdom was that H1N1 seemed mild so let's make sure we've got seasonal ready to save more lives. Then they changed their minds to try to cover H1N1 first, because the virus never really "went away" in the summer and folks worried about an earlier H1N1 season.

            But go ahead and yell "ConBot! ConBot!" all you like Mr. Nonshrill Nonpartisan. Because now I know you are out of useful things to say, and I am through with you. Your execrable hyperbole around here will stand on its own, um, merits, with no additional commentary on my part. Anytime you want to be fair and reasonable again, I will look forward to the conversation.

          • "In the spring, the prevailing wisdom was that H1N1 seemed mild so let's make sure we've got seasonal ready to save more lives."

            It is impossible to have any kind of a discussion with somebody who lies like you did in the above quotation from your post. But you don't want a real discussion, you just want to try to save Stevie's bacon on H1N1. Keep diggin'.

  104. "The major concern is that even if a dozen people do at every hospital, we're sunk, our system can't handle that."

    My major concern is that children, who are not in a legal position to make their own decisions and are at the start of their lives, have been made vulnerable to death or severe illness due to H1N1 because the government didn't act quickly enough to protect them. Seasonal flu may kill more people, but they are almost always elderly adults or adults with other health complications, and adults are able to decide to take the flu shot or not as they wish.

    But you are completely right, if the number of cases increases dramatically and ICUs start getting flooded with people on ventilators, we are going to have a very big problem. That is why I am so critical and adament about this, MYL – I want the government to know that if it comes to this, they are going to catch the dark and smelly stuff for it. My hope is that they will now make up for their past bad decisions and bad management and move heaven and earth to get it right, quickly. That's the real meaning of accountability – getting the government to do better or face an angry electorate.

  105. The Liberals distorted the facts for political points. They insulted the aboriginals with the 10%. They apologized for a disgusting flyer.

    You and the Liberals is what is wrong with democracy. Putting your partisan gain above the country and well being of its citizens.

    The Polls show they are back to the Oct 2008 election results the WORST standing in pop in over 100 years.

  106. "You and the Liberals is what is wrong with democracy."

    I know, you and Stevie want a one party state, just like Alberta. In your dreams (and our nightmares).

  107. The problem with Liberals is they are ignorant of history. PET love Cuba and China. The current liberals keep bragging about China. Liberals want Ottawa to have MORE power over the provinces.
    The last time I checked only the Liberals used the War Measures Act on Canadians. Those Canadians ran away to Cuba.

    Liberals love power and big government.

  108. When you are insulting others gratuitously, troll, you should at least try to spell correctly.

  109. Your position is very simply that the deaths of children, which could have been prevented if the Harper Conservative government had acted in a competent and timely manner, is an acceptable cost in view of the number of deaths every year from seasonal flu. Sorry, I don't agree. Lots of other electors who also disagree will have their say on the matter at the next election. Count on it.

  110. It must be exhausting to you Conservatives to be so full of hate all the time. I guess it's what keeps you warm at night …

  111. The old bird Bennett contributed to a panic because one regrettable teen died from the virus. This is an example of politics from the bottom of the barely. We notice that the old crow isn't against same sex men having unprotected sex even though we know this to be a very high risk behavior. We notice that this old feather is mute re the other strain of influenza which we are being vaccinated against.

  112. The old Bennett almost did to us what the Toronto 18 tried to do-create a panic so severe that Canadians would be afraid to leave their homes. Well done liberals and well done Bob Rae, who significantly reduced the number of Ontario doctors during his ill fated tenure as Ontario premier.

  113. The people who are complaining the loudest are probably in the same risk group as me-low- yet are the ones who want to first in line for the shot. Chill out, let the ladies and children go first and then we men (if you can call those who butted in line ahead of the women and children men) can get our shots. There will be plenty to go around and then the Libs will have to come up with another scary crisis.

  114. Should the government have relied on a single supplier? Maybe, maybe not. But the Liberals are ill placed to make this point, since the contract to supply the flu vaccine was signed with Ste. Foy, Quebec-based Shire BioChem (later bought by GSK) in 2001, by the Chretien government: a 10-year contract worth $323.5-million.

  115. Single supplier delivers ahead of schedule. More vaccine than we can actually handle this week, and more antigen than they can bottle, so antigen gets exported to help save lives elsewhere, too. Quelle scandale.

  116. Impressive mullethead pulls denying every Poll as a Liberal Proof. J.C. must be proud. At least 5 posters from all voting patterns have called you out for over the top crap on this post. You have been reduced as a talking and walking Liberal shill who is playing games with a serious issue. You have ended any credibility after ignoring any rational debate. Done!

    You are now exposed and finished for your imbecilic posts on H1N1. Be proud!

    • All your bile doesn't change the fact that Stevie totally dropped the ball on this one.

      • You have ZERO credibility for your "extremist" ranting on this post. Cheers.

        • You've lost the argument when all you can do is spew bile. You should admit that you're wrong and move on. Drawing further attention to the fact that Stephen Harper's Conservative government totally dropped the ball on H1N1 and they know it doesn't help your cause.

  117. you say "task now should not be to point fingers, but to learn so we can all do a better job the next time" Didn't we say that after SARs. As a nation we should have been better prepared this time round.

  118. One flu east
    One flu west
    One flu over the cuckoo's nest.

  119. I am very grateful for Andrew Coyne's comments as always, clear, investigated, truthful and relevant also in this case re H1N1

    But do you what is sad about this country that I emigrated to? The constant in house bickering.. never seeing the big picturre.. never working together in Unity..to protect Canada.. and in doing so help other nations —
    Where have all the Idealists gone? should be the title for a new song.. surely Canadians can do better than this..
    And if things get worse.. will everybody just start blaming each other.. or will they role up their sleeves and say…'instead of bickering and posting pointed comments, why dont I go out and volunteer.. my time.. at lets say the local hospital' because guess what folks… my dad went to a war that he didnt start so that I would be free today…
    Would be nice to see a more generous response to 'global problems' as they creep up on us rather than … the constant bickering… I saw often see in these comments..
    Mary

  120. It's not easy to vaccinate so many people so quickly. We (public health nurses) found out yesterday that a new H1N1 clinic was planned for today, so we've been scrambling to do our best as quick as we can.

  121. The scare on H1N1 has been talked about for almost a year.
    Why does this always have to be a Con vs Lib thing?
    Does it promote democracy or bring attention to what needs to be fixed or solutions.
    Bob B reporting on the polio example is a very good contribution.
    Before the hockey boy First Nations were having this flu epidemic.
    Others had died too but a hockey player is a big deal, right?
    Shows where our priorities are.
    We still have NOT got the final coroner report on that hockey boy's real cause of death.

  122. We, the people know it is not a Level 6 crisis. The pharmaceutical companies don't give a damn about the people. But, they stand to lose millions, even billions if they don't create some form of panic to scare the pubic into a pandemic. As long as they get their paycheck.
    I read that just before the h1n1 was even known to the public, the pharmaceutical company put a patent on this vaccine. Why is that? And why are they forcing it on the public? Are these not legitimate questions to be answered? How about our PM answer these. He won't because he doesn't know either.

  123. It is amazing how the media can simply drop in a little politics to preoccupy every sheep's mind. So obsessed with liberal this, conservative that… no one questions the safety of the vaccine anymore. How can anyone think this stuff is safe to use?

    http://health.gsk.com/hcp/H1N1Vaccine/safety.htm

  124. More people get killed in car crashes every year than will die from the flu. In the grand scheme of things a few dying every year is normal. Our society is far too hung up on every one living forever and their fear of death. It will happen to all of us, some just sooner than others.

  125. ""I believe that if they had made the bold and courageous decision to follow the evidence, and abandon the seasonal flu vaccine, that we could have had our H1N1 vaccine about six weeks earlier," says Dr. Richard Schabas, Ontario's former chief medical officer of health.

    "The consequence of that is that we've got lots of seasonal flu vaccine, but no seasonal flu, and not enough H1N1 vaccine, and lots of H1N1," Schabas said. "It's backwards."."

    From a story in the Edmonton Journal today entitled "Canada should have abandoned seasonal flu shot to focus on H1N1: critics".

    Puts the lie to all the ConBots who are trying to defend the (non)-response of Stephen Harper's Conservative government to this health crisis, which is costing people their lives.

  126. Further to others' comments about Australia's handling of the swine flu earlier this year:

    I am a Canadian living in Australia where we haven't heard a single word about H1N1 since our flu season back in May/ June. I know that the vaccine is available to me – only because I have been seeking out information from the NSW Immunization Department. I do plan on getting it because my family is returning home to Canada for Christmas. Where it gets confusing for me, is that the vaccine has not been approved for children under ten years old here. I am bringing two young children with me; but I'm told here not to worry as they are not considered to be within the 'high risk categories'.
    They maintain that those at highest risk are people with underlying conditions such as asthma, diabetes etc. in addition to young adults (otherwise healthy).
    It seems to me that governments and health authorities need to get their acts together and present consistant information to the public. I'm confused and wondering if I should be exposing my children or if I'm just being paranoid (after watching a few too many Youtube clips looking for information!).

  127. Carolyn Bennett is an idiot, pure and simple, Hedy Fry is even worse ("why aren't we being vaccinated!!"), and Kristy Duncan has that "wild eyes" look that give me the creeps.

    They're perfectly following Wells rule of politics (forget which one): Whomever auditions for the role of opposition, will get it.

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