Long lines, frayed nerves at North York H1N1 clinic

Tensions ran high in the large crowd gathered outside North York Civic Centre on day 1 of the city’s mass H1N1 flu vaccinations.

Those deemed as having a higher risk of catching the bug — pregnant women, families with young children and those with underlying health problems — lined up outside the clinic on Oct. 29. Many were concerned they might not get the shot.

“We’ve been waiting five hours,” said one woman, right before being admitted into the building only to wait in yet another line.

The line of people waiting stretched outside the building, around Mel Lastman Square, and just after the station opened at noon, out to Yonge Street.

It was then that healthcare workers began turning people away.

Toronto Public Health spokesperson Susan Sperling said they had to because there wasn’t enough time to get to everyone before the clinic closed for the day.

This was in contrast to rumours circulating that public health was in short supply of the vaccine and quickly running out.

Adding to the tension at the civic centre was talk that some who showed up for the shot were not in the high-risk group that government officials said should be vaccinated first.

But Sperling dispelled that, too.

“No, surprisingly everyone seems to be following the rules,” she said. “Look around. Everyone is here with kids.”

About this article:

By: Christopher Reynolds
Posted: Oct 30 2009 3:14 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto