Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Complaint

OK I haven't done just a pure 'go off and whine' entry in awhile so now I am going to:

It is recommended that babies between 5 months and 6 years of age get the H1N1 flu shot in this early round available here in Ontario. So here in Ottawa, first annoyance: clinics open at 2:30 in the afternoon. No worries at first; I pick up Little Tyke from the sitter's at 3pm. I had heard some things on the radio about lineups outside buildings, but I was thinking, it's a mild day and I'd checked the wait time for this particular clinic before heading over; 1 1/2 hours. No bigs. Ari would be getting off work around that time, he could meet us as we were coming out of the clinic, and then home, Jeeves, to dinner for all. Especially since LT had just finished his bottle around 4 as we pulled into the clinic. I ask as I line up about the start time - confirmed, 1.5 hours.

An hour and a half later I'm JUST pulling up to the tent as Ari joins us; no longer is it particularly mild, and as we sort of listen in it's obvious we have at LEAST another hour once we hand in our prescreening paperwork and get inside the building. LT was getting hungry and understandably so as it was dinnertime and I'd stretched the point with his bottle giving it to him so late-ish. We made the decision to leave; it was a waste of an hour and a half of time, but with another hour ahead of us we'd get him home after he'd be prepared to eat dinner (it was already about 6pm by now), and he hasn't been eating breakfast all week (we make up for this with bigger lunches/dinners/more snacks as he's interested, but still, that's where he gets his iron, and it sets the tone for the day). I'm not one to complain about this type of thing generally; it's public health, something everyone needs to get, of course there are going to be waits and lineups etc. That's the tradeoff for these shots being free and available to all. But a few questions come to mind:

  1. It's the end of October, heading into the late fall and early winter; this particular round of shots is aimed especially at children and those with poor immune systems (diabetics, cancer patients, etc). Is a TWO HOUR LONG LINEUP OUTDOORS really the best way to handle this? We got lucky to have a mild day, and it was still cold and fall-like. Beyond discomfort this isn't healthy for anyone. And don't get me started on the idiot or two smoking on the line, which wouldn't have happened if it were inside a public building, such behaviour being illegal in Ontario.
  2. This was hardly a surprise, knowing these clinics were going to be run since this summer. Was there really no chance of having them better planned than some 3 hour waits in some places? Surely the prescreening forms, for example, could have been filled in online rather than in a waiting area; surely there could have been more done to keep those not in immediate need of the vaccine from clogging the line (as I'm sure there were several there who weren't in the 'high priority group'). I fall a little short here as I'm not a planner/organizer of such things, and I understand medical screening/shots/etc. require a specialized group of people; but this just felt like a fiasco in general.
I'm just sayin' ... :P

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