There's a shortage of vaccines, and it's all the fault of [Your Government Here] -

There’s a shortage of vaccines, and it’s all the fault of [Your Government Here]

You mean other countries are having trouble delivering vaccines on time, too?, writes ANDREW COYNE


091104_N1H1Obama will fix H1N1 vaccine shortage: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama is frustrated with shortages in the availability of the H1N1 flu vaccine but the problem was being tackled, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

“We’re working each and every day to fix this,” Gibbs told a daily news briefing.

Gosh. You mean other countries are having trouble delivering vaccines on time, too? It’s not just a matter of the Harper government’s incompetence or miserliness? It’s just, you know, a logistical nightmare ?

Apparently so:
H1N1 Spreading Faster Than Vaccine, CDC Says
Children swine flu deaths spike in US amid vaccine shortage
Behind The H1N1 Vaccine Shortage
H1N1 vaccine shortage could be political pitfall for Obama
Critics say vaccine woes show administration’s lack of preparedness
CDC Chief ‘Frustrated’ By Swine Flu Vaccine Shortage
H1N1 vaccine shortage stings politically

Other parellels: while Republicans charge the Obama administration with mishandling the epidemic, vaccine shortages are also cropping up as local issues — just as in every province of Canada, the opposition is blaming the provincial government.

And of course, on either side of the border, there’s someone ready with the same cheap, inflammatory analogy:
Liberal launches political storm by comparing H1N1 response to hurricane Katrina
Limbaugh: H1N1 vaccine shortage “ought to be Obama’s Katrina”

Filed under:

There’s a shortage of vaccines, and it’s all the fault of [Your Government Here]

  1. careful Andrew .. you are perilously close to using common sense and dealing with reality – this would put you at definite odds with a lot of hyper – uber – partisan harper haters who want to puff themselves up with fake self-righteousness and false indignation so they can rant against someone and blame them for something !

    • Besides, they have to cover up for the fact that we would be in the middle of an election right now. Unbelievable!

      • we were in one last year instead of getting ready for a recession. Oh yea we were not going to have one of those or a deficit according to harper the liar.

    • And why do we care why the US is running short. Sounds more like turtling again a favorite Tory sport.

      • I'm pretty sure that in this case, like most others:


        What are you expecting? A crying Harper on the TV saying that everyone is going to die because he personally failed everyone?

        You've got to be Pols101 right?

  2. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama is frustrated with shortages in the availability of the H1N1 flu vaccine but the problem was being tackled, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

    “We're working each and every day to fix this,” Gibbs told a daily news briefing.

    Gosh. You mean other countries are having trouble delivering vaccines on time, too? It's not just a matter of the Harper government's incompetence or miserliness?

    You clearly missed the point Andrew. Obama is pissed at Harper too because of the H1N1 vaccine shortage. After all, it is all his fault.

    But way to go Liberals! You've matched Rush Limbaugh on the rhetoric-o-meter. I guess Aaron Wherry must have missed that one too. Shocker.

    • Hey, it balances out the pedophile remarks by the Cons. Even now….move on.

    • The opposition party has stooped to the level of doing what another opposition party did! You'd better feel bad, Republicans or Liberals!

  3. I am flummoxed by people's complaints. As far as I can tell, only people who don't use our health services are chuntering about government's performance to date. You would think, listening to complainants, that our health services operate perfectly all the time and this latest effort is somehow an aberration. Odd opening hours, long waits and not enough supplies all sound a lot like how our health services operate all the frakin' time.

    • Good point. I've never been to a clinic or emergency room without a long wait. In fact, the typical emerg room wait is many hours. Yet somehow these line-ups are supposed to be news.

  4. It's funny how last week the problem was noboby could be bothered to get the vaccine.

    If Hedy Fry's legislative assistant is reading this blog, here's some inflammatory anologies for him/her.
    HINI is Harper's Sudetenland.

    Here's one for the conservatives"
    We've seen the result of Coalitions in the past. On January 30, 1933, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany after an election in which the Nazi's did not receive the highest percentage of votes. How? A coalition…

    Sorry for the third reich references…

  5. Just as H1N1 is a global pandemic, I'm sure that H1N1 politicization is a global phenomenon.

    As Germany launched its mass-vaccination program against the H1N1 flu virus on Monday, the government found itself fending off accusations of favoritism because it was offering one vaccine believed to have fewer side effects to civil servants, politicians and soldiers, and another, potentially riskier vaccine to everyone else.,8599,19

    • "it was offering one vaccine believed to have fewer side effects to civil servants, politicians and soldiers, and another, potentially riskier vaccine to everyone else."

      That's crazy. All pols and bureaucrats get the good stuff while everyone else can take their chances with the not tested adjuvants? I can't believe pols thought that would be good idea. If they pulled that here, I would be getting out my pitchfork and heading for Ottawa.

      • It's not that cut and dry. It's not even clear that the vaccine administered to politicians/bureaucrats/military (Celevapan) is actually better than the other one (Pandemrix). From the article:

        "The Pandemrix vaccine can't be recommended for pregnant women or young children because it has an increased risk of side effects. Pandemrix has an adjuvant which hasn't been tested sufficiently up until now," Alexander Kekulé, a virologist at the University of Halle, tells TIME. "Celvapan is a whole-virus vaccine, which has fewer side effects than Pandemrix, but it leads more often to fever or local swelling when compared with the normal seasonal-flu vaccine," he adds. Although Kekulé calls the government's handling of the vaccination program a "scandal," he says government officials and soldiers are not necessarily getting a better deal with Celvapan. "Neither Celvapan nor Pandemrix are ideal," he says.

        • I think it is very cut and dried. Would you want vaccine that has been tested, and proven safe, or the one that is unknown? If neither are ideal, I wonder which vaccine Mr Kekule would choose.

          • Guess what…. most Canadians are getting the "unknown" adjuvanted version, just like most Germans.

            The Government of Canada (GOC) purchased from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) a small quantity of non-adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccine (approx. 1.8 million doses) as part of its total order of 50.4 M doses. On October 26, 2009, the GOC announced that it had purchased an additional 200,000 doses of unadjuvanted vaccine from CSL Australia that will be available to Canadians earlier than the order from GSK.

            The purchase of non-adjuvanted vaccine is a precautionary measure for pregnant women as no clinical data of the safety of adjuvanted vaccine in this group is available.

          • "most Canadians are getting the "unknown" adjuvanted version"

            That's why I am not getting one, I am not all that keen on being a guinea pig in their trials.

            All I hear are experts saying, 'lets put some mercury into your blood system and see what happens. What could possibly go wrong."

            And what I find even odder is that I did not know, or even hear of, adjuvants until two weeks ago and now it's all people talk about.

          • You would get more mercury in your blood from eating a can of tuna. Literally. We're talking about extremely tiny quantities of mercury here.

          • "Following a CBC investigation that found mercury levels above the allowed limit, Health Canada issued new consumption guidelines on Monday for canned albacore tuna for women and children. The tuna may routinely exceed Canada's mercury guidelines, the investigation has learned, but until Monday, Health Canada failed to warn consumers about the potential danger." CBC, Feb 20 '07

            I don't eat tuna either.

          • That's sad, live it up my friend…

  6. Why did Health Canada not approve the vaccine earlier and why did the order not get placed earlier?

    Back in April/May it was known this would be a *big deal*. Why wait until the end of the first week of August to place orders?

    Why were not schools provided vaccine at the start of school? Sorry, but November, December is far too late, for a novel flu virus. One kid sick in the school system more or less means the entire school system catches it, and sure 'nuff, that is exactly what has happened.

    We can blame the federal government for not being farther ahead of the curve with orders; we can blame them for faulty messaging coming from Health Canada; we can blame them for the sequencing of orders (stopping production of one type for another) and perhaps even the nature of the orders (adjuvenated vs plain). These are all areas where the federal government, ***and no one else*** holds jurisdiction and responsibility.

    And yes, they flubbed it.

    Thank goodness that this year's version of H1N1 isn't a true killer. But I won't thank the federal government for that one. All they've done is underscore how woefully unprepared they are to act quickly enough in the face of a true killer pandemic virus.

    • We don't know how this pandemic will play out. Like everything from the government here, there is mixed messaging. Some say if it would have hit big, it would have done so already (kind of like the recession?); others say we won't know how bad until springtime.

      Regardless, I really shudder to think what would happen with this government in place if we didn't have half a year warning and we had a truly bad epidemic on our hands.

      • Liberals Good, Tories Bad!

        I think I read that somewhere once. Or something like it . . .

        • Orson……it goes like this. TORY TIMES ARE TOUGH TIMES. We may have to substitute deadly for tough.

        • Simple minded retort?

          I don't give a damn who is in power, but I do care about what the government of the day does with that power. In this case they have failed. The Chretien government wisely put Shire/GSK on retainer almost a decade ago; with that advantage in our pocket, why did not the current government fully lever this business relationship and get the damn orders in earlier? This is a simple question – the key question – which no one in government has yet answered.

          • They have answered it, which was that the advice at the time was to produce the seasonal vaccine first…you know the advice from experts, and then pivot to H1N1. Given that normal flu season doesnt really start until November this seemed right at the time.

            But this isnt so much about shortages of vaccine, this is more about delivery of that vaccine…and if you read this article


            You'll see that Ontario is the outlier here in delivering the vaccine, the other provicnes are much further ahead. But the two levels of government are wisely deciding not to criticize each other, since it was a joint plan and nobody voiced objections earlier.

            You may want to ask why Ontario is having such trouble.

          • Wisely put them on retainer? In return for a $56,000 'donation' to the LPC.

            Besides isn't the LPC current president complaining about the idiot government that sole sourced the production, forgetting that the idiot government was his own party's.

  7. Most shocking is that the Liberals are using Republican talking points…

    Limbaugh and Alf Apps are apparently on the same wavelength.

    • It's ironic, isn't it?

      • I'd always thought that Rush Limbaugh and Warren Kinsella have much more in common with one another than either one of them would realize or care to admit.

        That's not meant as a compliment to either of them, BTW . . .

        • Kinsella is trying to mimick Harper. He's better at it than the master,though. That's the trouble when you create something.

          • The irony (or at least one of them) is that Kinsella refers to Harper as "Angry Man". Meanwhile, Kinsella's website is one constant helping of vitriol and bile. Newsflash Warren: the Angry Man is the fella you see when you look in the mirror in the morning.

          • Kinsella is an idiot, oops, did I say that out loud…it was my inside voice, I swear!

  8. What shortage?

    Leona Aglukkaq said there is "not a shortage" of vaccine

      • oh, the so-called shortage induced by panicking parents. ;-)

        The point is Coyne may see some parallel to the US, but really our government is the true master at misinforming, misspeaking, misleading,…

        • You watch too much Xfiles,lady!

    • If you want the vaccine you can get it. Especially if your local doctor is carrying it. If you arent in the high risk category you dont have too much to worry about, if you are there is vaccine around.

      And by US thanksgiving Canada will be awash in vaccine, just watch. We will be back to the not enough uptake issue again, you heard it here first.

      • So true!!

  9. Of course the fact that America doesn't have universal public health care has no bearing on this equivalency right?

    • "Particularly damning"? What goofy hyperbole.

      What statement from "Chapter 3—Income Tax Legislation" did you find most "damning"?

  10. Oh, if only we had some independent group of people with skills and experience to assess whether or how much our government is screwing up royally.

    Oh, wait… maybe there is.

    OTTAWA — The federal department charged with disaster planning is itself a disaster when it comes to preparing for emergencies as varied as the swine flu pandemic, floods and terrorist attacks, says Auditor General Sheila Fraser.

    "We found that Public Safety Canada has not exercised the leadership necessary to co-ordinate emergency management activities," Fraser concluded in her latest report, tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday.

    The full damning report on public health emergency failings of the government is here.

  11. Who would have thought? Andrew Coyne jumping to the defense of the Conservatives for screwing up again!

    Still jockying for that Senate appointment I see!

    • They didn't screw up…

  12. We all know that the Liberals could have vaccinated 30 million Canadians the first week, it is so simple!.

    • sure, they would have bought the untested Chinese vaccine and had people going to Bennett, Duncan's and Fry's contituency office to get innoculated.

  13. there is a difference between Obama and Harper tho. Harper had said that there were going to be enough for the next week, then early next month then Christmas. so if the intel on when the vaccine IS NOT THERE then don't make a prediction that people are going to have to base their plans off of

    • Quote to support your charge, perhaps, Chris?

  14. DOH! Cue the "Fraser is just a Liberal appointee trying to grab publicity who hates the Conservatives" tin foil hat brigade.

    Opposition joins AG in criticizing government's pandemic planning

    ”OTTAWA — The federal department charged with disaster planning is itself a disaster when it comes to preparing for emergencies as varied as the swine flu pandemic, floods and terrorist attacks, says Auditor General Sheila Fraser.

    "We found that Public Safety Canada has not exercised the leadership necessary to co-ordinate emergency management activities," Fraser concluded in her latest report, tabled in the House of Commons on Tuesday.”

    “The department, which was created in 2003, has yet to finalize a Federal Emergency Response Plan and appears to be offering no guidance to other federal departments in developing their own sub-plans, the auditor concluded.”

    “the department has spent only one-third of its annual $58.5-million budget for emergency preparedness in the last two years.”

  15. Shorter Andrew Coyne: The buck stops nowhere.

    • Yeah, this is one of the first really dumb posts i’ve seen AC put out. Sure everyone else is having problems getting this stuff out. Sure the opposition’s playing politics like the Republicans – some of it pretty sleazy. So, now what? We shoudn’t take a look at whether our govt screwed up – just because evryone else is having problems? Certainly it’s an arguement for cutting the govt some slack. But that’s all it is.

  16. I knew Coyne would go the opposite of what most feel about it. I think he does it on purpose.

    1918 – there were no medications and what 50 million people died?

    2009 – the idea is to "prevent" what happened in 1918.

    I saw a journalist from London (England) say this morning that there situation is going smoothly – the government have allowed doctors to receive the vaccine and people go by appointment. Gosh, how organized. Who'd know better than your doctor if you have an underlying health issue.

    • Most GPs carry patient lists of 2-4000 names, most of whom they never see for years
      at a time. GPs in NS were offered small amounts of vaccine for their practice. Most had
      the good sense to refuse it. They had no storage capacity and no way of dealing with the
      necessary paperwork involved. And no time to deal with it along with their normal practice
      case load.

    • Give me a freakin' break. There is absolutely no comparison to 1918. The current swine flu has a death rate that is equivalent to the seasonal flu we have very single year. And this has nothing to do with the vaccine.

      There has been an estimated 5000 deaths worldwide, in a globe with 6 billion people. That's 1 out of every 1.2 million people! The 1918 flu killed 50 million out of 1.6 billion people, that's 1 out of every 120 people.

      The 1918 flu killed between 2 and 20% of those infected. That's between 1 in 5 and 1 in 50. Meanwhile, the swine flu death rate is the same as any seasonal flu! The swine flu kills between 0.007 to 0.045% of those infected! That's between 1 in 2222 and 1 in 14285.

      You are comparing an illness that kills at most 1 in 2000 with one that killed as many as 1 in 5.

      This is turning into madness.

    • Given that you live in Ontario you might want to ask your provincial government why they effed up the clinics so bad. too few and overloaded with administration. More employees doing "registration" and que management than putting needles in arms. Additionally, having experienced it myself, those clinics included a significant amoutn of administartion linked to creating an electronic vaccination record…..problem is registraition at one statuion didnt mean that the record showed up at the computer at the vaccination station (my experience)…it all had to be manually entered, even though they swiped the health card. E health record tail wagging the dog.

      Now that vaccinations are finally going through doctors offices it is going much smoother. The federak goivernment has squat to do with any of that. Other provinces delivered vaccine at a much much higher rate……why is Ontario the outlier here.

      • My folks live just outside of Toronto. They got their shot last week, so that's good for them (one has a valid health condition putting them up the priority list, but the centre was in a nobody-turned-away mode anyways at the time).

        The observation of administration overload fits with their experience, too. But it was the reverse. Not enough data-entry clerks, with the result of nurses waiting for bums in seats. And all for the entry of info on a questionnaire into a computer system. Public health rationale for that? God only knows.

        I wonder if Disney has ever published a manual on dealing with massive throughput of large numbers of people. Automate as much as you can; have security / crowd control handy; entertain or inform the crowd in the antechamber so they don't even realize they're waiting for the main event; fill the "theatre" completely and quickly; do your thing; empty the theatre completely and quickly.

        How would that work for mass vaccine? Maybe have three or four "theatres," each with some usher or security attendant. Info video outside of room for the thirty-ish in the assigned crowd. When room is empty and ready, fill the room with people. Instruct people on rolling up their sleeve. Nurses come in and jab everyone. Nurses leave to repeat in next room. Observe that all tolerate the shot, attend to the few who need help (needle-phobic queasiness, etc…). Empty the room. Repeat. Stagger the above in the three (or four?) rooms so that the "stars" (the nurses) can fly in and fly out, serving the most people as fast as possible.

        • Good suggestions, they could definitely have thought it through better. But they make the cattle move as opposed to the branders.

          I was at Vaughn with my kids (yes the have athsma) on day 1. There were more clerks that arm stickers and then when we got to the arm sticker our records had be reentered. The reason was unclear.

          Full process was
          1) Wait in line for 3 hours
          2) Stop 1, get a number, like a bakery
          3) Wait in the registration inventory pool for 90 minutes
          4) 15 minutes to register
          5) Wait in the needle inventory pool for an hour
          6) Be told to go home and come back tomorrow in a special line
          7) Came back next day, shuttled in and out wihtin an hour.

          They can only do 1400 a day.

          • Sounds about like the number who can see Mickey's Magic Something-or-Other at the Magic Kingdom in a couple hours. Hmmm.

          • Once again true, but this is about making a single clinic mor effecient, then there is breadth of access.

            While supply is linked to breadth of access, at the beginning we have had less access and inefficient access rather than short supply. As you expand access we might bump up against supply as you "fill the pipe" but right now it looks like shipments in the millions of doses a week have begun again so we will be back to the supply of access rather than just supply

    • OntarioTown, do you have any clue how busy doctor's offices are right now? Everyone with a sniffle is showing up at the doctor's office wanting to be checked out for swine flu. My girlfriend's parents went yesterday for appointments they had scheduled months ago – and they waited five hours. The waiting room was overflowing – a handful of sick people and dozens of others who only thought they were.

  17. The common factor in all this is the mountain of misinformation brought to us by the
    ever-so-helpfully ignorant media.
    Is the US shortage derived from single-source contracting ?
    What is the price point ? How does it compare ?
    Is anyone monitoring the possibility of cross-border shipments ?

    Everyone can find someone to blame. But the public health functionaries aren't
    cooking the stuff up in the department microwaves.

  18. I imagine that our government could have done a better job. Having said that, though, I find some of the whining and bitching and armchair quarterback stuff here to be symptomatic of a particularly modern disease that infects much of our public discourse and debate: the belief (usually not acknowledged at a conscious level) that human existence is utterly perfectable, that we have all the means at our disposal today to perfectly deal with every problem, if only we "got it right". And I swear, 100 years ago, people did not think this way. It is a patently insane way to look at things. I don't think I'm apologizing for the government to say that this is a massive project, a lot of people are freaked out and panicking, and things are going to go wrong, there are going to be lineups and shortages and all that. Anyone who thinks or asserts otherwise is daft.

    • Remember we are going to stop climate change too.

      • And crime. Don't forget that.

        If we only got our justice system right, we could eradicate crime. (Right-wing/Law & Order Version)


        If we only had the right social programs in place, we could eradicate crime. (Left Wing/Bleeding Heart version)

    • In the main i agree with you except…one question i want answered. Did the govt or the health authorities help to panic people with mixed messages to say the least. The public was castigated for not planning to get vaccinated and now we are told there is a shortage. So, who screwed up? Granted some the panic/concern is certainly due to promonent coverage of the deaths of youngsters.

      • They were worried not enough people would get the vaccine. They erred by stressing that we all SHOULD get it, as opposed to urging patience and caution. A couple of flu deaths of young children hit the media at just the right (wrong) time, and the "perfect storm" resulted. Call that an excuse if you want. It's also a fact of recent history. Health officials are admiting as much. So yeah, mistakes were made, but it's difficult to put the blame on anyone. Pandemics weren't designed to be well-organized, easily managed events.

        • Pandemics weren't designed to be well-organized, easily managed events.


    • If the fetal position wasn't the best method of response by this government we wouldn't have the hystrionics.

  19. OB – Agree with your comment, but with the Liberals currently on life-support, they need to milk any issue, no matter how tendentious, in order to revive their rather diseased poll numbers.

    That's what this opposition stridency is all about. The oppostion in other countries proffer construtive and measured criticism. Here you have the Liberal opposition critic frothing at the mouth like she could be in need of a vaccine herself, given her rabid behaviour.

    • You just cued in my head a visual from David Cronenberg's cult classic movie "Rabid". Awesome. The first restricted movie I ever snuck into. Who knows, maybe this H1N1 thing will provide a jumping-off point for Cronenberg to return to his cinematic roots . . .

  20. Oh and one more thing. Is it just me, or do others think that it is absolutely pathetic that a member of Michael Ignatieff's staff would be interviewed on CBC's The National while in line to be vaccinated himelf, passing himself of as Joe Citizen and attacking the government for not planning better.

    So you know, the individual in question Mark Sakamoto, was – wait for it – formerly a lawyer with the CBC. That is positively outrageous. Last time the Libs pulled a stunt like that was during the last campaign, when Garth Turner brought along CPAC door-knocking in his riding and he went and knocked on his campaign manager's door. The difference being that CPAC was hood-winked but here, it looks pretty cosy that Ignatieff's staffer, a former CBC type, got his mug on the National. Shame on the Liberals for that. As for the CBC, they have so little credibility that I don't think stuff like can actually damage their reputation any further. After all this is the media outlet, the CBC, whose reporter Krista Erickson fed questions to the Liberals during the Mulroney inquiry.

    • So now Liberals aren't allowed to line up to get vaccine like everyone else???

      Seriously. What a lame attack.

      I mean, he's a dad with his family lined up for a flu shot and he happens to be a Liberal. I mean, maybe if he said something critical you could pretend to have some justification for your faux outrage. But all he said was he was surprised by how disorganized it was. That's not even directed at Harper.

      I certainly hope that this is faux outrage I should say. It would be even more pathetic if this is the kind of thing that gets you outraged but the failures of our government to protect our public health doesn't.

      • I assume jarrid is outraged about the obvious conflict of interest that a "lawyer" doesn't seem to understand exists. At least Peter MAnsbridge understood how wrong it was and apologized on tonight's National news. As for Iggy's "legal adviser", I suggest that he go back to law school.

        • So Liberals now aren't allowed to speak or stand in line to get the vaccine. I see.

          Seriously, though, what did he say that was even about Harper, let alone critical?

          Wouldn't that have been kinda the point if he was a, cough cough, "plant"?

      • Ted, you're so reliably in the tank for the Liberals, I frankly wouldn't be surprised that you're a Liberal staffer yourself writing a furious, if vacuous, defence of a fellow colleague. I'm sure Mark's a nice guy. His only defence here is that he's a little slow on the uptake. But if that's the case, what's he doing working for Ignatieff in the first place?

        • Talk about bizarre conspiracy theories. And silly attempts to change the channel.

          So the Liberals sent him, his wife and his kid all the way to Toronto, to stand in line for hours, just so he could say something mildly impunative about the clinic he was at.

          I'm not even defending him. I don't see what there is to defend. I'm just trying to understand what is the point of the argument that he is a "plant". I mean, if he was a "plant", wouldn't he say something about the Harper mismanagement of the vaccine order? or maybe even something critical about Harper? That's woulda been kinda the point, no?

        • For those readers who are interested, go to National Newswatch where they've linked to the video. Ignatieff's staffer is clearly critical of the government. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Sakamoto knew the CBC reporter. The whole thing is way too much of a coincidence.

          I hope the Conservatives complain about this like they did with Krista Erikson. The CBC ombudsman will no doubt exonerate those involved like they did in the Erikson matter, but it'll just add to their embarassment for getting caught.

          Ted, this whole thing so clearly smells. Sakamoto shouldn't have agreed to the interview. How was he chosen out of thousands and thousands of Canadians taking flu shots? Did I mention that before joining Ignatieff's team, he was a CBC lawyer. I can see why you say you're "not even defending him".

          • Jarrid:

            You are really out there on this one.

            In the "interview" of 4 seconds, he said "Seems to me that there was a lot of lag time. We knew about this coming down the pipe for a long time. So I wonder why it is as disorganized as it is."

            The lead in to that quotation was about the long lines at the clinic and how the province is setting up more clinics to deal with it. And after the CBC cuts to the Ontario Minister of Health and what she says are the plans.

            How on earth can you cook up any real sense of a conspiracy theory out of that? Really enlighten me. I'm very curious. What was so objectionable about his criticism of the disorganization of the clinic?

          • Ivison and Gunter both have stories abou this incident in the National Post. They are both linked on National Newswatch. They both agree that it paints the Liberals as opportunistic and ethically-challenged.

            The NDP are making constructive and measured criticisms that are helping in this time of crisis. The Liberals are trying to score cheap political points. Sakamoto and Apps are symptomatic of the Liberal approach. A pox on them both.

          • Good unbiased sources there.

            I'll ask again, Jarrid. What part of what Sakamoto said is in any way critical of Harper?

            At the very best, you might have a quarter of a point, if you said that the CBC recognized him as an Iggy guy and spoke with him hoping he'd say something really damning about Harper. Unfortunately he didn't play along and only questioned the clinic.

            Not much to build a conspiracy theory out of. Might want to loosen the straps on that tinfoil hat.

    • "After all this is the media outlet, the CBC, whose reporter Krista Erickson fed questions to the Liberals during the Mulroney inquiry. "

      I'm still confused by this criticism!?

      What is so terribly wrong with being "fed" (i.e. given) a question (other than being perceived as being lazy)?

      Isn't the answer more important than who the question originally came from?

      Or am I missing something else here?

  21. About this "six million" doses. Does anyone really appreciate how little that is compared to the need?

    As pointed out above, in the summer, they were saying they needed 50 million.

    Six million is not six million Canadians. Many of these will go bad (they can't sit for more than 48 hours so a contingency amount is assumed).


    • jason you are absolutely wrong when you say the vaccine can't sit for 48 hours.
      When the vaccine has been mixed and has been put in vials then there maybe a time limit.
      However when the vaccine is being shipped it often takes up to a week to reach the clinics and it may take another 2 weeks to be injected into a shoulder. Stop spreading false statements.

    • The extra was to allow for double doses in the case of kids under 10, plus a bit of a safety buffer. 50 million is what they ordered, not strictly what was needed. The vaccine is stable for 28 days after production.

  22. Andrew,
    Check out the New Zealand experience. The H1N1 vaccine had yet to be developed during June,July,August and September. People forget things really fast in politics.

  23. There is NO shortage of vaccine in Canada:

    ''…Some jurisdictions are doing a much better job than others at administering the vaccine but,
    according to statistics available from eight provinces,
    barely a third of the supply delivered by the federal government over the last three weeks had been used by the end of the weekend.

    In Ontario, the health minister said on Tuesday she could accurately confirm that about 300,000 doses had been administered,
    out of the 2.2 million received from federal authorities between the middle of October and last weekend, though she said the figure could be higher….''

    • Just remember, though — any mistake, or failure to do anything, by provincial officials is Harper's fault.

      I think I read that on Warren Kinsella's website.

      • Wrong . Kinsella has come out directly and called the health minister a liar. He didn't mince his words. lets see if she sues him. Ha!!

      • No, the PMO message is: The Prime Minister is never at fault and never responsible. Ever. It is always the Liberals fault. Unless it is the media's fault. And if that doesn't work blame a bureaucrat or the provinces.

        You've got to get your talking points clear here.

  24. Actually is the government's fault. If they'd made the vaccine available at an affordable but slightly painful price (say, $100…with a 90% fee waiver for anyone on welfare, disability, etc.) then only those who really feel at risk would get it, they could pay the supplier more for rushed delivery, and there would be no shortage.

    Unfortunately that solution would have led to accusations that the Conservatives were letting the poor die while they indulge in capitalist porcine Marie-Antoinettery, which would have been even more politically damaging even though there would be no crisis. Ergo they have to make it available for free, and so the supply becomes the limit rather than the demand.

    It may not be this particular government's fault (or Obama's, or any other party's) but it is government's fault insofar as they refuse to enact common sense provisions that come with a political price tag.

    • You have way too much faith in the common sense of people. At $100 only those who could afford to pay would have done so. I'm not saying the majority of folks with kids wouldn't have done the right thing, but a considerable minority would have been tempted to rationalise – " oh well it's probably too late anyway, why waste the hundred bucks."
      The socialist mindset has bugger all to do with it. Your solution would have given any number of irresponsible people an excuse to be that. Neo-con solutions are invariably as dumb as socialist ones.

      • Irresponsible people aren't going to take their kids to wait in line for 6 hours at a clinic either. Whether it's the $100 or the hassle, a lot of people won't do it.

        The difference with my approach is that everyone who needs it can get it, with a little sting. With the current approach many high-risk individuals are trying to get the vaccine and are encountering delays.

        • I get your point about the hassle being too much for irresponsible people, although i'd say that a fee would only exacerbate that. It would be interesting to know if the reverse were true. Whether the fee would discourage low risk people, in effect encourage them not to be selfish. Somehow i doubt it – i take your point though.

    • Actually, when it comes to public health, the "socialist mindset" is pretty much the only thing that makes sense.

      Infectious agent risking the population? Deal with it. Isolate carriers. Vaccinate the herd. Shut down the restaurant. Distribute the antidote or the antibiotic. Whatever. It ABSOLUTELY calls for the power or the generosity of the state, depending on the action required.

      • For a highly dangerous infection that's true, and it's not socialist. As with a major terrorist threat, freedoms can be suspended in such an emergency as the authorities do what is necessary to protect their citizens. In that case forced vaccinations may be justified. There is nothing socialist about this, it's merely desperate measures.

        However we are not concerned with such a case here. H1N1 is not killing large numbers of people, and there is no necessity to force people to do anything about it. Therefore there is also no necessity to fall back to a "socialist mindset" in which unnecessary health measures are expected as "free" handouts for anyone interested. Not only is it unnecessary, it hinders the vaccinations of those who genuinely are at grave risk.

        • Well, I will try to avoid a semantic party here, but when a central planner tells us all what we should be doing for the greater good, I lump that into "socialist mindset," and I am happy to allow for that in instances of public health, where the stubborn or the stupid or the poor could become a threat to others in addition to themselves.

          And I will meet you halfway given the relative un-severity of H1N1, except… we are stuck with the socialist mindset because we have a socialist-imposed health care delivery model. Canada's healthcare system cannot handle FOUR extra young adults on ventilators for weeks without breaking apart, let alone FORTY. So, G, if you want your ICU to be there for you or your kids in case some drunk bastard plows through you, you have more than a "convenience" interest in widespread vaccination of the population against this relatively new virus.

          • I'd argue that restraining basic freedoms is totalitarian unless it's a temporary measure necessitated by a crisis. Freedom to assemble, for example, is eliminated under martial law. Few would say that desperate circumstances could never justify such measures.

            Granted, we are stuck with the socialist mindset because of our health care model. I agree with you, but I view this as an unfortunate reality rather than a necessary one.

            In any case, I believe that my proposal would reduce the number of high-risk cases who can't get the vaccine in time. This in turn would reduce the load on our health care system, not increase it.

          • As much a fan of the free market as I am, and I am, I fail to see how entering a price tag into the equation makes that big a difference for something in such incredible demand. The well-off will clamor for the vaccine regardless of risk, and the at-risk (and their family member contacts) will in many instances forgo the vaccine because the cost would be prohibitive. At the risk of sounding like a pinko dipper, the chronically ill often drop a notch or two on the socioeconomic ladder because of their condition.

          • I believe you have me pegged. Secretly I'm a closet pinko commie.

    • Get a grip! Where are the homeless people in the 1st priority group going to come up with $10? This is just a dumb idea. How would charging a fee overcome a shortage?

      • Have you ever noticed that we have no food shortages in Canada? That's because we charge for food. If it were free, there would be shortages. With medical treatments, on the other hand, we have a shortage.

        Please tell me this is not the first time you've ever heard this argument.

        • Wait a minute…

          I thought we are to believe we have no food shortages because the marketing boards restrict production, or something…

  25. Our government spent months insisting everything's under control.

    Our government was wrong.

    Blame the critics. It makes you look clever.

    • They were wrong to go with the same old contract old man chretien decided on. The one where only one place could make the vaccine Canada for 10 years, how archaic.OTOH, he got a lump sum for having that contract.! Note- its in Quebec.

      • If that was the problem then the goverment of the day should have identified the risk as part of its plan from the get-go since that's what good governance is all about.

        • Yes they shouldMaybe they needed that little gem to play out, or maybe the HM didnt want to slag of the Liberals.It is possible that a female took the high road.Unlike the old boys club.

          • Particularly when it comes to seeing to the needs of the most vulnerable, withholding information for political reasons isn't much of an excuse.

          • It's been established elsewhere on the blog [ or the next one] that that contract did not mean that future govt's couldn't source from elsewhere. Indeed i believe this govt has already done so – one less excuse available.

          • you gotta admit it sounds good

      • Seriously is that what you're going with? Pin it on Chretien? Why not on Borden? He should have had a plan in place after the 1917 Spanish Flu.


        • Not pinning it on anyone, nice kick back he got

  26. So our excuse now is that our health care doesn't suck as much as the US. Brilliant Andrew, brilliant.

    • Have you been following this at all…….EVERY jusrisdiction is having some production delays that lag behind immeadiate demand. Which once again if you look at per capita we are doing significantly better.

      Talk to me again in 2 weeks when we will have more vaccine than we know what to do with.

      Expect to see a story in December about Canada considering selling or goving excess vaccine to another country….

      • Just marking this comment so I can find it again on November 18th.

        • thats fine, i was thinking more the week after, which is US thanksgiving, but worth checking in on this issue in 2 weeks. If shipments happen the way they are supposed to I believe there will have been 5 – 6 million additional doses delivered by that time, for a total of 10 to 12 million. And a pipeline of 2 million a week coming at that stage. By that time the high risk groups will have largely been vaccinated…and we will be into the mushy middle of low risk adults.

          We will see if it sticks to plan or not.

  27. This time last week any Provincial civil servant who tried to implement a needs test in their jurisdiction's clinics to enforce prioritization would have spent the rest of the week on the carpet since, after all, the Feds were insistent supply was not a problem.

    Guess who's taking the heat anyways.

    • I get what you're saying. But even if 100% of the supply was somehow available at once, wouldn't there still be the pragmatic issue ot sticking needles in arms?

      • bad information from Ottawa isn't making it any easier.

        • This is my view too. Arguably the govt should have ordered earlier, particularly as testing has apparently been fairly skimpy by normal standards. But the crux of the matter is incompetent or partisan political messaging. The govt wanted the mesage out there that there was no supply issues – presumably for political reasons. Meanwhile we are all being told to not be selfish and get our shots [ but remenber to prioritize too!!] Combine that with media hype of some tragic deaths and you got a panic. How this lets the feds off the hook is beyond me. I guess the moral is don't play politics with a potential national health crisis. The liberals are doing pretty much the same thing – only their excuse is they're the opposition, not the govt. And so we get back to the govt ultimately being responsible because they should be – they are the govt. But hese guys are so immature that they see everything in terms of poltical loss or gain.

          • I've learned to assume that's all that's expected of them anymore.

          • Not that we could expect much different from the liberals. I'm beginning to wonder if even a majority govt will get these cons governing?

          • "When we come back with a majority, all bets are off" – Gerry Ritz, Conservative Minister of Agriculture.

          • I'm just unclear as to what they should be "on the hook" for. We don't currently have a set-up where the feds can take control of the entire process. I'm not even sure it's possible or desirable to centralize our pandemic responses fully – though clearly our regional health agencies were often woefully unprepared to vaccinate thousands in the midst of an unanticipated panic. And it's not fair to expect the federal government to issue directives or specify strategies outside of their jurisdiction. They'd have no ability to enforce practices, and furthermore would likely endure howls of criticism that they were overstepping their bounds.

            They were, and are, responsible for the supply of vaccine. All evidence suggests they balanced safety and expediency well (remember, part of the "delay" had to do with changing medical advice regarding the safety of adjuvanted vaccine for pregnant women), and it's hard to imagine the supply being secured much sooner than it was.

          • It would have killed them to mention there was a good chance they'd be short out of the chute and suggest planning accordingly downstream. It really would've.

          • Unless some serious lying was taking place, I thought the manufacturer only let the government know about shortages at the last minute.

            Now, we can discuss whether the government ought to have kept staff permanently camped out at the plant where the vaccine was produced (I would, were I the PM).

            But isn't our concern over delays a bit misplaced, given that we're talking about delays against an early rollout? Put another way, I don't recall anyone saying vaccinations by year end was too late when that plan was laid over the summer.

            I know I keep saying this, but I'm hardly a fan of this government. I think they're generally a group of toxic, contemptuous jerks. But in this case, I just don't think they've failed (though Baird's antics in QP last week were despicable – regardless of who was asking the questions).

          • It's called Risk Management.

            Single point of failure.

            They should have been prepared.

          • jarrid, is that you?

          • You still not getting it..You will find any excuse to still blame the goverment…

          • So the all of the other provincial health officers, Deuty ministers of health, ministers of health etc that were part of this plan, and didnt say boo on this were also calculating politically on this file. And they all came to the same political calculation that they shoudl "order late"

            Nice assertion, I assume it sits beside the Bldg 7 and Roswell.

          • Look no-one is suggesting a conspiracy here, just you right now. For me it's simple. I want to know if the govt or health officials mixed messaging is responsible for this cock up, ie., the long line ups? I'm fully prepared to except that mistakes would have been made no matter what was done. So, did the govt's political stategy make things worse? Or was it simply a combination of events that were largely beyond the govt's control? Given the track record of this govt i'm suspicious. Nothing more.

          • You are the one who placed the emphasis on political strategy and said that this was driving the decisions "But the crux of the matter is incompetent or partisan political messaging" and "But hese guys are so immature that they see everything in terms of poltical loss or gain" How else is one supposed to interpret comments like that?

            The only ones who have politicized this issue are the Liberals and the Dippers to lesser extent. The government didnt paint their ads blue on this, they didnt hog the political spotlight, they worked with the provinces as they should> Were they perfect, absolutely not, I would have preferred a little more clairity about looking to the provinces for guidance, as it always should be.

            What was the governments political strategy here? Other than ensure that they werent flying solo and had the provinces onboard? What other big foreheaded, chessmaster political calculation was there?

          • Upon reflection I would say there was one strategy, that would have been to promise the vaccine for November when they knew they had a good chance of delivering it in October. I think that was a pretty badly lept secret, because I think the provinces were willing participants in that ruse, it makes them all look good. Other than that, the partisan strategy is hard to see here

          • careful vince you are peilously close to using reality and common sense which just ruins the daily dose of liberal kool aid!

  28. Not to mention the CBC-CNN lite is reporting incorrectly The.vaccine was not shipped, a component of vaccine that the supplier had too much of was shipped. Everybody breath…. deeply. CBC wins again for misleading headlines!

    • Because, it is logistics, as Coyne said. You have too much of one component that doesnt match some of your other production line. So you move it around, which in this case is also the moral thing to do since someone else can use it. I asusme if Bennet was helath minister she would be on the line at GSK barking orders about what to do, making production decisions and packaging it herself.

      Focus on delivery of needles in arms, thats the problem. To give a sense of how short of capacity and not vaccine Ontario was, the main clinics only had a capacity of about 1500 (no I am not missing a zero) a day. The bottleneck was not lack of vaccine, it was lack of staff and their amazingly inept computer system. A local pediatrician here in Thornhill received their supply on the weekend and they ran 500 kids through in the first day!, no line ups, no muss no fuss no freaking e health records.

  29. I'm not sure I understand you.. this is just the standard conservative/3 yr old defense of "But Moooommmmm! They did it too!"

    The only difference is that this time it's being applied to the US rather than the Liberal party.

    And again I come back to, "If they're just doing what the others would, and in the course of such making our government less transparent and accountable.. why the hell do we have them in again?"

  30. I'm curious now. Did the Liberals paraphrase Rush Limbaugh? Or did Rush Limbaugh paraphrase the Liberals? Or did this brilliant, insightful analogy arrive independently – at exactly the same time – in the tiny little minds of Rush Limbaugh and a Liberal strategist?

    • I think they just think alike, lol!

  31. The opposition attacks on the govt over the H1N1 vaccine are cheap, sleazy, and dishonest. The mark of Donolo and Kinsella

    • More the latter, the former remains unsullied for the moment imho. I would be surprised in Donolo has his arms around the organization yet, some like Apps and Kinsella have reasons to try to maintain some independence, Apps gets some, Kinsella and the Warroom should be at the beck and call of the OLO and their strategy. Its a little early for them to have one yet.