Stelmach admits mistake in way Alberta responded to swine flu pandemic

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach concedes his government could have done a better job rolling out the province’s swine flu vaccination program.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach concedes his government could have done a better job rolling out the province’s swine flu vaccination program.

The premier was responding Thursday to a Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll that found 61 per cent of Albertans surveyed last week said the province has done a poor job handling the H1N1 pandemic.

The premier says many Albertans were probably upset that there were “significant” lineups which forced people to wait up to six hours for their shots.

Stelmach suggests the long lineups might have been avoided if the province’s emergency agency had been asked to help select additional vaccination sites.

“We could have done the job better in terms of involving the Alberta Emergency Management Agency because they know where all of the buildings are in the province that can be used for emergency purposes,” Stelmach told reporters.

“I think the fear was that we’d call it an emergency.”

Health officials confirmed Thursday there have been 34 H1N1-related deaths in Alberta, including 10 deaths since last Friday.

The premier offered words of sympathy for the growing number of flu victims.

“It is tragic to the families that lose loved ones to influenza,” he said. “It could have been people that maybe some of their health conditions were predisposed to something else. I don’t know, but obviously Canadians are concerned.”

Stelmach said the province made a decision to allow all Albertans to get H1N1 vaccinations when they were first offered in mid-October, which resulted in people waiting up to six hours for their shots.

But after several days the province halted all vaccinations as they ran short of vaccine.

The flu shots resumed a couple of days later with new restrictions, allowing only pregnant women and young children at first and then others considered to be in high-risk categories.

“It would be interesting to see what the poll would be after this last week when the vaccination was done rather smoothly I believe,” said the premier.

But Stelmach said his discussion with Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this week has given him assurance that steps are being taken to hasten the delivery of additional vaccine to the provinces.

“The prime minister said he’s going to have somebody on the ground at the manufacturer ensuring that there’s a smooth supply of the vaccine and they will share it with all the provinces and all Canadians,” said Stelmach.

The Harris-Decima poll of 1,000 people is considered accurate within 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20. The poll was conducted Nov. 5 through Nov. 8.

Just Posted

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Red Deer artist highlights the dinosaur connection of Alberta birds

Jeff Powers is fascinated by winged creatures

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

McDavid, Draisaitl with three points each to lead Oiles over Flyers

Oilers 4, Flyers 1 EDMONTON — Connor McDavid had two goals and… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

RCMP offer tips for crime-free holiday ’Tis the season for joy and… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Most Read