Flames avoid lineups for Calgary's flu vaccine

 

 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames players, from left, centre Brandon Prust, right winger Fredrik Sjostrom and defenceman Mark Giordano celebrated after Prust scored the Flames fourth goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of their season opener on October 1, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, AB
 

Calgary Flames players, from left, centre Brandon Prust, right winger Fredrik Sjostrom and defenceman Mark Giordano celebrated after Prust scored the Flames fourth goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of their season opener on October 1, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, AB

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

CALGARY - While thousands of people stood in the cold for hours last week to be inoculated against the H1N1 virus, the Calgary Flames arranged for their players to receive the flu shots away from the crowds.

A spokesman for the hockey club said "most" of the team received the vaccine on Friday, a day before tight supplies spurred the province to restrict inoculations to only Albertans deemed to be at greatest risk.

The team didn't say if the players were inoculated with the same supply of vaccine Albertans are receiving, or if they'd somehow managed to make arrangements to get it elsewhere.

Alberta Health Services is looking into the matter.

A spokesman for the health board said if the Flames jumped the board's queue to get the shots it was a "mistake."

The hockey club suggests, however, that it spoke to someone with the health board beforehand.

"Last week, our team physicians worked with Alberta Health Services and assessed the risks on our team and the potential commotion and intrusion that sending the team to one of the locations would cause," said Flames spokesman Peter Hanlon in an e-mail to the Herald.

"Consequently, on Friday we invoked a process that was deemed appropriate at the time and was consistent with our physicians' and Alberta Health Services' direction."

A followup e-mail--seeking further information about where the inoculations were provided and the origin of the vaccine--was not returned. Players declined to comment.

Mark Kastner, spokesman for Alberta Health Services, said the board itself did not make any special arrangements for the Flames.

"Based on the process that was in place on Friday, that would have been a mistake and shouldn't have happened," Kastner said.

The news comes as the province prepares to unveil its plans today to reopen inoculation clinics in the province. When the clinics start up again later this week, they will focus on Albertans at greatest risk.

When the inoculation process began last week, Premier Ed Stelmach encouraged all Albertans to get the flu shot.

"Most of our players received the vaccine prior to the currently discussed priority program and consistent with the then-stated Alberta Health Services policy," Hanlon wrote.

He said the team also consulted the National Hockey League.

League spokesman Frank Brown said Monday that it recommended flu shots, but did not mandate them.

"Clearly, it's a legitimate health concern," he said.

Last week, Dr. Judy Mac-Donald, deputy medical officer of health in Calgary, said she would be upset if a prominent citizen jumped the H1N1 vaccination lineups.

The Calgary Stampeders have not made special arrangements for their football players, said Pat Clayton, team director of medical services.

"We're on a waiting list through our physicians'offices to eventually get the vaccine when it's available to the general population," he said.

tseskus@theherald. canwest.com

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Calgary Flames players, from left, centre Brandon Prust, right winger Fredrik Sjostrom and defenceman Mark Giordano celebrated after Prust scored the Flames fourth goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of their season opener on October 1, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, AB
 

Calgary Flames players, from left, centre Brandon Prust, right winger Fredrik Sjostrom and defenceman Mark Giordano celebrated after Prust scored the Flames fourth goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the second period of their season opener on October 1, 2009 at the Pengrowth Saddledome in Calgary, AB

Photograph by: Colleen De Neve, Calgary Herald

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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to Valerie
 
November 05, 2009 - 10:34 AM
 
 

Who is going to help you...you boob....????

   
 
Valerie
 
November 04, 2009 - 10:50 PM
 
 Excuse me "Albertans" but why, if Calgarians are a bunch of whiners, was it NATIONAL news that sports teams in Toronto AND their families, AND staff members had received their shots. People are upset because people who play SPORTS and make MILLIONS of dollars every year are being given preferential treatment over the rest of the population. Who the HELL decided that they deserve to get treatment before nurses for GODS SAKE! If this was truly a virus that could kill a LOT of people your front end people - nurses, EMT's, firefighters would not have the shot but your f@#$%^&* hockey players and basketball players would! Who is going to help you in crisis you boob...a sports team???
   
 
Albertans
 
November 04, 2009 - 12:59 PM
 
 I moved away from Calgary 5 years ago, but I always was proud to be an Albertan....not anymore! What a bunch of whining, whinging immature people come from your city. I feel very compassionate for the cancer patients and pregnant women that had to stand in line, but in all fairness, you probably put yourself at more risk by being around all those people (some of which were probably already carrying the virus) than if you had just waited to get the shot. This is not the Flames fault. Your Healh system should have made provisions for you. Alot of healthy people got the shot ahead of you and they are more guilty of wrong doing than the Flames. As a whole your city's reputation is tarnished by your immature outburst . To expect an inquiry by your gorvernment is so idiotic it is unbelievable. Your provincial government has enough to worry about with the way they botched the distribution. These comments are just disgusting!
   
 
WOW
 
November 04, 2009 - 10:17 AM
 
 What part of lining up for six hours did these million dollar jackasses not understand.
   
 
Valerie
 
November 04, 2009 - 9:45 AM
 
 Ray...hockey players are in contact with ALL those people and more at risk than a pregnant woman. First of all, sir, I have never known a pregnant woman who stayed at home during her pregnancy. Every one of them was out working until they had their baby! Secondly, funny that none of the flames have had the flu (that I have heard of) but I HAVE heard of whole groups of EMS and firefighters getting sick. THEY are not getting the shot as a mass group, and excuse me, but THEY are the ones who need it! The people who jump the line - WITH their families - because they think they are "celebrities" are sickening. I wonder if the family whose 25 year old son just died think it's fair, and he actually WAS making a difference, not just playing a flipping game!
   
 
Pat
 
November 04, 2009 - 9:40 AM
 
 Ray this is not the 50's, most pregnant women are out in the work force being exposed to all kinds of stuff while their own defenses are comprimised. as for the young children not going out, what about all the kids in daycares etc, as well as the exposure to their healthy parents who do not qualify for the vaccine yet. Your comments are riduculous, and any hockey player or politician who takes a vaccine before a child should be ashamed of themself.
   
 
alberta's a mean province
 
November 03, 2009 - 9:57 PM
 
 

I don't even want the damn shot but it doesn't surprise me one bit that this happened. We don"t have enough doctors here, (ours joined the private "Copeman clinic"), Ralph blew up a hospital, etc. etc. Like I said, it's a mean spirited place where money talks.

   
 
Earl
 
November 03, 2009 - 9:52 PM
 
 This is nothing as to what is going to happen when Ed and Stephen bring in their two tiered health care. There are haves and have nots which this is only a small example of.
   
 
Thanks guys!
 
November 03, 2009 - 9:47 PM
 
 Mark, Ca, Dan, lee, Get over it, and Blame the AHS: Thank you for restoring my faith that there are some people at least that have independent cognition skills and fully functioning critical reasoning abilities. DDF: people that use "shame" as though it were a meaningful or scathing edict are people that have absolutely nothing intelligent in their lexicon. Bib: grow up - Calgary requested a clinic as a business measure and as a way to avoid messing with the already tense situation in the flu lines. AHS could have said no (likely should have). But they didn't, and so the blame lies with them (learn how to think). If your boss set up a clinic, you wouldn't go? As if. Mark raises an excellent point about all of the line holding going on (when someone gets to the front, it often looks like a bloody clown car full of relatives suddenly pulls up.) I have also seen a couple of groups agree to be "family" so they could stick together. This outrage that people are spewing is actually the typical sense of entitlement that our culture thinks we deserve.
   
 
clive
 
November 03, 2009 - 9:27 PM
 
 I have cancer and I lined up for 8 hours to get my shot. I have never understood why Canadians put hockey and its players on a pedestal. they are so grossly overpaid and undereducated, but then we have never been know for having good taste and sense when it comes to sports. We seem to like watching simplistic things that require little or no effort. So we will smile politely and let these sub humans and their ridiculous trophy wives (attractive but brainless and breeders) take the easy road that we can't access. Don't blame the hockey players, blame us because they way we treat them, they knew they could get away with this sort of behaviour.
   
 
REALLY???
 
November 03, 2009 - 9:15 PM
 
 Okay so a really big part of me knows there is no point in being irritated but...even though the story is that the Flames organization made arrangements for the players and their families...did someone hold a gun to their heads and make them get the vaccine?? I guess it just doesn't give me the warm fuzzy "community" feeling that I used to get living in Calgary...in truth, I probably would seriously consider getting the vaccine if someone offered it to me right now, and I consider myself a fairly ethical person...amazing what some good old fashioned propaganda and paranoia will do to a person...
   
 
Canucks_NW_Champs
 
November 03, 2009 - 8:59 PM
 
 Who could be surprised given it's the Flames? No class on or off the ice. What a shameful display of arrogance and privilege favouring themselves over people who actually need the vaccine. Disgusting, but not surprising.
   
 
Pat
 
November 03, 2009 - 8:04 PM
 
 The Flames qualified for the vaccine when all Albertans were still eligible in advance of shortage notification. Given their popularity, I can understand why they needed privacy from fans to attend to their personal and family health care needs. We'll all get our turn with some patience. This is a roll-out plan over three months and there are line-ups because the media panicked the general public. That same public (48%) said in a recent poll they were not going to bother with the flu shot and that's why the province opened up for everyone. First we don't want it. Then we want it - right now! How could anyone plan for flu-shot vaccinations when we are so fickle?
   
 
Jean
 
November 03, 2009 - 7:51 PM
 
 There is a something seriously wrong with the system that is currently not functioning in Alberta. If it wasn't the Flames it would be someone else. Money and prestige pays for amazing priviledges and isn't that a shame in this great country of ours. Fire fighters and policemen had to stand in line along with the masses but athletes who make more money than oncologists and neurologists, the lifesavers, are given front of the line services. Mr. Stelmach you are responsible as the buck stops with you. Do your job and take responsibility for this disgusting lack of respect for Albertans.
   
 
KWM
 
November 03, 2009 - 7:49 PM
 
 How can a bunch of over paid losers on a pair of skates can buy their way through the line and the Alberta Health followed through. First of all, it's another blunder for the Ed gov't to show us how their system failed and anyone can buy their way for something. Second, I'm no Flames fan after kind of BS. This is really great PR image by queue jumping with their familys, management and staff to get their flu shot. There's people out there have chronic symtoms, children, pregnant women and the elderly who stood in line for many hours to receive a shot and many citizens were turned away because supply is dewindling. What kind of crock is? Flames you lost your community spirit. To bad there are too many Flames who support you but I for one have lost faith in your organization and the team. It's like stealing milk from a baby, over grown idoitics on skates.
   
 
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