Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Flu Fighting Flames!

There are line ups for souvenirs, line ups for refreshments and hopefully for Flames fans line ups for Stanley Cup playoff tickets.

But in Calgary at this moment there is really only one line up on the mind of Calgarians, the one for the vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus and the one that apparently members of the Calgary Flames and their families didn't have to stand in.

The details of the Flames family friendly flu clinic are the thing of a public relations nightmare, as word of the flu shots began to filter out the residents of Calgary, a good number of whom may have heard the story while they were standing in line for hours in the city waiting for their chance at the apparently dwindling supply of the vaccine (all be it temporarily they are told).

The situation has raised tempers so much that the Alberta government is now investigating how the Flames managed to make the arrangements for the shots while the majority of the province's residents were going without the chance to get one.

The tale of the Flames flu shots has reached as far as the Alberta Legislature where Premier Ed Stelmach, who has stumbled on any number of issues of late, is finding that the flu shot botch ups aren't sitting well with the public.

Stelmach facing a rather angry opposition at the Legislature said ""If it has happened, somebody has broken the rules and we want to find out who it is, because it is deplorable."

At the heart of the story are the optics of generally healthy young men, who for the most part not in the most vulnerable group that has been urged to get the shots, finding that they had the chance to jump ahead of a good portion of their fellow citizens of Alberta.
Alberta Health has come out and accepted responsibility for the mess, though why no one thought beforehand that perhaps this might not look so good is anyone's guess. But with hundreds of thousands of Albertan's nervously waiting for their chance to get the flu shot, the visual of their Flames moving to the front of the line will probably not be greeted with many cheers.

That kind of line jumping was something that Dr. Judy MacDonald, deputy medical officer of health in Calgary spoke about last week, suggesting that said she would be upset if a prominent citizen jumped the H1N1 vaccination lineups.

Imagine how angry she might be today, with some thirty or more prominent citizens having jumped the line!

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