Health minister blamed for flu death rate

Alberta’s Liberal Opposition is blaming the Tory government for the relatively high number of deaths and hospital admissions related to swine flu.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s Liberal Opposition is blaming the Tory government for the relatively high number of deaths and hospital admissions related to swine flu.

As of last week, Alberta had recorded 42 H1N1-related deaths, far more than Manitoba and Saskatchewan with eight deaths each.

The Liberals also point out that nearly 900 Albertans have been hospitalized, compared to just 36 people in Saskatchewan and 250 in Manitoba.

Liberal Leader David Swann says the province mishandled swine flu vaccinations by not focusing on high-risk Albertans when the shots were first offered.

Swann blames Health Minister Ron Liepert for Alberta having nearly twice the H1N1 death rate compared to the rest of the country.

Liepert told reporters that in hindsight he would do some things differently.

But the minister later told the legislature that the province has “reacted appropriately” to the swine flu pandemic.

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