Within 15 minutes, Laura Delves’s two young sons were in their Etobicoke pediatrician’s office, the H1N1 vaccine injected, tears dried, and out the door.
“We are really relieved that we were given an appointment, so we could do this in a civilized manner,” Delves said yesterday morning in Etobicoke.
But it was a different story at public health clinics across Greater Toronto, where demand for the H1N1 vaccine continued to create daunting lines. As the city and province prepare to ramp up access to the vaccine — 10 public health clinics will be operating in Toronto today, and more family doctors will be giving out shots — amid an unexpected reduction in the supply of the drug, Canada’s top public health officials are admitting they underestimated the demand.
“Three or four weeks ago, what we could not anticipate was the number of people that are interested,” Dr. David Butler-Jones, the chief public health officer, told CTV’s Question Period yesterday.
But that was before the recent deaths of three Ontario children who caught H1N1 — another death is still unconfirmed — put a human face on the virus and galvanized worried Canadians to seek vaccinations for themselves and their families.
The city’s public health department has distributed almost 250,000 H1N1 flu vaccine doses to local hospitals and more than 100,000 to physicians’ offices to reduce the lineups.