Monday, November 16, 2009

Rhetoric versus reality

Update (7:35 p.m.) below.

It's hard to know what to make of the hard sell coming from federal officials on how swimmingly the H1N1 vaccination process is going. Listen to the glowing spin:
Dr. David Butler-Jones says about 20 per cent of the population has received the H1N1 shot in the last three weeks. Canada has about 33 million people.

"That's just unheard of," he said in an interview while he was attending an international conference on HIV/AIDS in Winnipeg on Monday. "Already we've immunized more people than anybody else in the world as a percentage of our population."
Well that's good to know. 20% is unheard of. And there's news from the Health Minister that "some jurisdictions will have completed their vaccinations by the end of this week," apparently referencing some northern reserves which is good news but really shouldn't be irresponsibly held up to give the impression that there's widespread completion of vaccination programs going on. Especially when the target date for everyone to access the vaccine is still being pushed back:
"Very quickly, I think access will continue to improve. We're still on target that by the end of the year, hopefully before Christmas, anybody who wishes to be immunized will be."
Too late for most and on this issue, better late than never is just a useless platitude. This is just a one-off, but here's an excerpt from an email received last night:
We saw the swine flu pretty close up in 40-year old healthy and fit son who luckily listened to us and got himself Tamiflu in time but was still badly affected and infected his two little girls. It is anything but "mild".
And from reporting last night:
"Nobody has seen a flu season like this on the ground level," he says. "If you talk to any frontline worker, they've never seen anything like this. And we keep getting told this is nothing."

"Emergs (emergency departments) are filled. All the children's hospitals are filled. Family docs I talk to say 'Oh my God, I've never seen so many flu cases."'

Wilson says it is "disingenuous" to criticize the response to this pandemic by comparing the low death toll to the substantially higher estimates of seasonal flu deaths. "I feel it under plays the significance of this."
Wonder what others are thinking out there, across Canada as they have their own experiences with H1N1 yet hear such positive rhetoric from the government?

Update (7:35 p.m.): And in the same vein, throw in some analysis from Mr. Martin about how this is all much ado about nothing. Maybe he should have spoken to the doc quoted above.