Dawn Paley

Lineups diminish as clinics enforce flu shot rules

Posted in Uncategorized by dawn on 04/11/2009

Vancouver — From Tuesday’s Globe and Mail. Published on Monday, Nov. 02, 2009 11:22PM EST

Every 15 minutes, a nurse called out a warning to the dozens of people lined up early to access the H1N1 vaccine: “You will be turned away if you don’t meet the eligibility requirements.”

And, every 15 or so minutes, a few people would slip away.

Young families, caregivers of small children, and people with chronic illnesses stayed in line, bundled in sweaters and jackets and sheltered under umbrellas, braving the rain for a chance to be vaccinated.

Nurses at the temporary clinic installed at the former Mount Pleasant Community Centre began administering doses at noon. Later in the afternoon, those eligible for the shot were able to enter without a wait.

Those who remained in line but did not meet the eligibility requirements were turned away at the door by a representative of Vancouver Coastal Health.

Inside the clinic, the smell of antiseptic mingled with the cries of children, and vials of the vaccine were stored in small blue coolers. Nurses vaccinated about 100 people an hour.

The speedy processing time and the stringent eligibility rules meant short waiting times.

“I thought the line-up was going to be way worse than it was,” said Lana Dooling, who was vaccinated along with her toddler, Finn. As for the shot itself, “I didn’t even feel it, and I hate needles, and he cried for one second, just a little cry,” she said.

But lining up in the rain isn’t necessary for anyone in a high-priority group, says John Carsley, a medical health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health.

“Eighty per cent of the vaccine that we’ve received here in Vancouver has gone to family physicians,” Dr. Carsley said. He suggested those eligible for the shot check in with their family doctors prior to attending a mass clinic.

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