Flu pandemic disproportionately infects, kills young people; are some getting preferred treatment?

Analyzing the first 1000 H1N1 cases in the State of California, younger people were dying at a higher rate.....Alberta Health Services fires employee for giving preferred treatment to NHL Calgary Flames and their families.
Written by Doug Hanchard, Contributor on

The Vancouver Sun reported that a study analyzing the first 1000 H1N1 cases in the State of California, revealsyounger people were dying at a higher rate. This Flu season is one of the worst on record.

"If you're under the age of 50, this is a bad flu. This might be the worst flu experienced in 50 to 100 years," said Dr. Bela Matyas, acting chief of the emergency preparedness and response branch of the California Department of Public Health

"If you are a teenager or younger, the chances of dying from this flu are much, much higher than any other flu we've seen maybe since the 1918 flu."

The Center for Disease Control website indicates that 2,025,700 doses of vaccine have been sent to California so farwith more being shipped daily. Governments across all boundaries have ramped up to ensure everyone gets vaccinated. Web portals dedicated to Health in each region are plastered with information putting the H1N1 Flu as the #1 topic and primary focus ensuring that information is readily available.

Source of Graphic: Center for Disease Control

The elderly, pregnant women, children 3 to 6 years old and those with chronic health issues are the most vulnerable. But that hasn't stopped the confusion in some regions. In Nova Scotia, the Chief Medical Officer has been going back and forth on who should get the flu shots. The CBC reported residents there are confused, anxious and frustrated with constantly changing information from the Health Department.  Governments should have no difficulty in managing this pandemic, and clearly some regions around the world are. In some cases it is because of work load, infrastructure and available resources. But that's just the beginning. Some are getting preferred treatment that has resulted in one official in the Alberta Health Services board being fired for giving H1N1 vaccination shots to the entire team and family members of the Calgary Flames NHL hockey team.

Like most Albertans, I am deeply offended that this circumstance has occurred. AHS Board and management have a fundamental commitment to serve all Albertans according to their needs, in medical priority. This circumstance was a clear departure from that principle. We set the expectation that this should not have happened and should not happen again," said Board Chair Ken Hughes.

The Calgary Flames believe they did not jump the queue and reacted with a press release of their own stating;

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.

Consequently, on Friday our players were vaccinated at an off-site clinic within the public system and under the direction of Alberta Health Services.

The prudence of this approach has and will come under close scrutiny due to the controversial nature of the flu pandemic and the recently-announced change to the vaccination protocol and move to a full priority-based distribution system.

Our players did not seek to either avoid line-ups or get special attention.

The Alberta Health Services board is continuing its investigation on exactly what happened and have stated further disciplinary actions maybe forthcoming. Alberta is one province that has shut down clinics because they have run out of vaccine. As if that's not worrying enough, the world's first case of a H1N1 has been diagnosed in a cat in Iowa. It's doing fine by the way.

Worldwide, the statistics are sobering. So far there are 599,972 cases and 7399 deaths reported. To put that into perspective, in the U.S. alone, about 4,070 women will die from cervical cancer in 2009.

There are excellent resources available to learn and educate yourself about H1N1 and what steps you can take available online. The some of the most common are; CDC, FLU.GOV, Public Health Canada, U.K. Dept of Health. Get your Flu shot is the message of the day.

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