Several local doctors were fuming this week after H1N1 vaccine earmarked for Nova Scotia Liquor Store executives was delivered before shots for doctors and pregnant women.
Health officials insist it was a misunderstanding that’s been cleared up.
Front line workers and high-risk groups such as pregnant women and small children are supposed to be the first to receive the vaccine, while healthy Nova Scotians have been urged to wait two weeks.
As of Tuesday, the 18 family doctors at Family Practice Associates in Halifax had not received any vaccine for themselves or their 60,000 patients.
They finally received a shipment mid-afternoon that day, but it wasn’t what they were expecting. Morris Trager, one of the doctors in the group, is the corporate doctor for the NSLC and he had put in an order for the liquor commission head office.
That order of about 80 vaccines arrived instead – about 24 hours before the Family Practice Associate group received 1,400 vaccines for its patients.
“A number of people just went ballistic,” said Dr. Andrew Humphrey, a doctor with FPA. “The NSLC got their vaccine while we’re here with people coughing and sneezing all around us.”
The doctors ended up using some of the vaccine for themselves and other staff instead.
Provincial health department officials said Thursday there was no preferential treatment for liquor commission executives.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Strang said Capital Health employees would have been doling out the vaccines to doctors without knowing whom they were intended for.
Strang said he spoke with Dr. Trager late Thursday and clarified that Capital Health staff just send out the vaccine and it’s up to doctors to filter it from there.
Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said the whole thing was an innocent mistake that’s been cleared up.
Liquor commission heads will now have to wait like everyone else. A clinic for NSLC staff originally planned for next week has been bumped to late November.