September 30, 2009
Canada: “An epidemic of confusion”Via the Globe and Mail, Caroline Alphonso writes: Provincial flu strategies all over the map. Excerpt:
Two provinces and a territory have split ranks with the rest of Canada’s health authorities in their fall immunization plans, sowing public confusion and raising questions of whether Canadians are being offered the safest options.
The hodge-podge of vaccination strategies comes after a controversial, unpublished study suggested that people under 50 are twice as likely to contract the H1N1 virus if they have received a seasonal flu shot compared to unvaccinated people.
With no data revealing the optimal way of rolling out vaccines against the looming double threat of seasonal flu and the pandemic swine flu virus, the abrupt changes by provinces and territories could create disarray in inoculation programs, with fewer people turning up for either shot, potentially resulting in more cases of severe illness.
“We’ll know who’s smarter at the end of the flu season,” said Ross Upshur, director of the University of Toronto’s Joint Centre for Bioethics and a primary care physician.
“What we assuredly have is an outbreak of unpublished research which is causing an epidemic of confusion.”
Non-Canadians may not understand that our provinces–in some areas–are effectively sovereign states. Education and health are two of those areas, where the federal government provides some money and guidance, but the provinces set their own terms.
In some ways this is just fine. But in the present emergency, we do look like Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock’s gallant knight who dashed out of his manor house, leaped on his horse, and galloped off in all directions.
Posted via web from David Dobbs’s Somatic Marker
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