Just shoot me now, please

Everybody wants to get shot, and nobody wants to wait.

Everybody wants to get shot, and nobody wants to wait.

A kind of mass hysteria appears to have gripped Canadians the final week of October.

With the recent, and earlier than normal, release of the H1N1 vaccine, the long line-ups for vaccination are a nightmare.

Not only for those who choose to stand in line, but also for others where traffic jams, and parking spaces are interfering with normal business. I think everybody agrees it could have been handled better.

Both the health authorities and the public have learned some lessons. It may well be poor judgement to have the clinics rolled out in the manner chosen, but it is equally mismanagement of my time to stand in line for half a day just to get the shot a week or two earlier than normal.

We have been conditioned to jump on the immunization bandwagon for our own protection and the herd of humanity has moved in a predictable direction.

I am sure the various Health Authority bodies now realize, in hindsight, the weakness in their pandemic planning and execution.

Thousands are griping at it, but that does not get us nearer to a solution. Maybe it is time to have a calm second look.

Who among us could have anticipated the incredible early demand for the vaccine?

Who among us, except the most fearful, would be willing to stand in line for four to six hours? It doesn’t have to be this way, and soon won’t.

Yet, the government has known and has been planning for this pandemic for months and the media has broadcast every flu-related death since early in the year.

In hindsight, the preparedness plans and the media coverage have created great expectations and a great fear.

With this kind of pent up demand and expectation, it is little wonder the public is living in fear and anxiety.

Fear is nothing more than an emotional response to a threat — a basic survival mechanism in response to some stimulus or threat of danger. We have been told for months to brace for this, how to protect ourselves, how deadly it might be to consumer and commerce.

Business and individuals have done their part in preparation.

Still, it is well to remember, that nobody could have planned to meet the demand and expectation of everybody getting the vaccine on the first day or two of availability.

It would be just as wrong-headed to have several hundred clinics and try to do everybody in two days.

Rightfully, the high-risk individuals, hospital staff and other key personnel should be getting priority. But I understand that the queue lines are populated by lots of low-risk folks.

Over the coming few weeks, the number of clinics is set to increase and the line-ups should get shortened to an acceptable hour or less.

Meanwhile, rather than living in fear, with the remote chance of death sucking life from my life, I will take the appropriate precautions and get the shot soon enough . . . I hope.

Paul Hemingson is a freelance writer living in the Spruce View area. He is a frequent columnist for The Advocate’s Central Alberta LIFE publication.

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