Yesterday morning my husband woke up at 5am to get in line. The last time either one of us did anything like that was for concert tickets – and it was many years ago. This time it was for the H1N1 vaccine for our kids.
All the conflicting news reports about the supply running out, and 9-hour line ups scared us and we decided yesterday was the day to get it done. Why on earth, in a country like Canada, were hundreds of people lined up in the cold rain to wait? That’s only one of my questions about the way this situation was dealt with.
When my husband got in line, there were about 50 people in the line-up. When I relieved him at 8am, that number had increased to 450. When the kids joined us by 9:45, it was almost up to 800. That included countless children, seniors and other high-risk individuals – soaking wet and shivering. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to do this at the Rogers Centre or the like, where people could have waited indoors peacefully? I don’t understand – it was madness.
Inside the East York Civic Centre (Toronto), where we were lined up, things were chaotic. We were ushered into a building, quickly given forms to sign and then taken into a loud, noisy room where nurses were administering the shots. Our nurse, Sara, was a shining light of patience and comfort in the sea of insanity. She listened to our questions carefully and spoke to us at length before giving the needle to my kids.
After the shots, the kids were instructed to wait in a room for 15 minutes to see if any side effects occurred. Luckily, they were okay, and we started to make our way out. All of a sudden, there was loud wailing and it became apparent that the lady in front of us was having a seizure. Whether it was brought on by the shot, or something else, I am not sure. All I know is that my kids stood there and watched everything, bombarding me with questions and big, scared looks on their faces.
Get this: no doctor was present in the whole centre. Hundreds of people were getting vaccinated with largely unknown consequences, and no doctor was in sight to supervise. Just a couple of nurses shouting for 911. What is going on, Ontario? You could have done way better than this. Canada has had MONTHS to prepare for this. Why was this not done through the schools? Why were seniors and children subjected to horrible weather conditions and long waits? Why was there no doctor on call to deal with unanticipated circumstances? I just don’t get it.