03/11/2009

Who Should Carry the Can on Swine Flu



I wonder how long it will be before people really start to get annoyed about how the Harper and his crew are handling the H1N1 flu shot program. They have been lucky so far but a slight turn in direction could probe disastrous for this minority government.

For months Canadians were told, "Don't worry, there will be vaccine for each and every person that wants it." The media were sidetracked by issues such as the shipment of body bags into northern communities, "Just in case" and of course all the anti-vaccine activists got lots of air time and, "Do Canadians really care about this vaccine anyway" and, "What pandemic?"

Even little Stevie can't get the message right. Asked if he intended to get a shot, he answered, "If that is what is recommended." The federal medical people have been saying everyone Canadian should get vaccinated for weeks now. I guess Harper must have other things on his mind.

So here we are

As compared with other countries, Canada is about six weeks late in rolling this vaccine out at least partially because the government didn't order the stuff for several months after the outbreak was labeled a pandemic. (This strain surfaced in April, the government ordered the vaccine in mid August) So, we are, well into flu season and despite all the assurances, by the Feds, that there would be lots of vaccine to go around, the provinces which have to distribute the bloody stuff are just discovering that they will only be shipped a small fraction of what they were promised.

All this will be fine, the federal Government will ride it through as long as this flu outbreak doesn't suddenly blossom into a crisis and they have to shut down schools and businesses. As long as the weather stays nice and as long as the death toll stays low. You know that if things go bad, even Harper's buddies like Brad Wall won't take the blame.

But, you never do know. In Saskatchewan, the weather can turn in a day and we could find ourselves up to our knees in snow with temperatures well below zero. Block long lineups of "at risk" people waiting for flu shots in a blizzard, the rest of us, getting the sniffles and having no idea when we might get ours, people wearing masks and a few more H1N1 deaths could turn even the hardest nosed Saskatchewan Conservative into an NDPer in a flash.

Maybe we'll all get lucky. Then again......

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