The Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq, lays the blame for shortages on the public's doorstep. It is the public's panic, according to the minister, that has caused shortages and the vaccine not being distributed to the target groups. However, the same public would not be in such a panic if the government had spent as much on its H1N1 awareness communication as on its partisan Action Plan ads.
The fact is that, although the federal government does not distribute the actual vaccine, it is responsible for informing the public. If the public had been properly informed of the expected procedure, Aglukkaq's plan to reach high priority groups first would have been much more successful. As it stands, her seeming surprise is unjustified.
In fact, couldn't the Health minister have decided how to distribute the vaccine based on census data? Couldn't she have insisted the provinces set up a program that ensures those most vulnerable are protected first. Of course, the provinces are equally to blame in this regard, but leadership is expected to come from the federal level.
We see that Aglukkaq blaming the public really is an attempt to mask the shortcomings in the federal vaccination plan. The public getting panicky without proper communication is something she should have foreseen. So is the need for a program ensuring the most vulnerable are immunized first. The public cannot be blamed when its leaders don't do what they were elected to do. That fault rests solely with the Health Minister.
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