Sunday, November 1, 2009

H1N1 communications ... take three

Here we go again! Years after SARS, the public perception is that of a totally unprepared, unfocused and confusing public health system in this province.

It's not so much the shortage of H1N1 vaccine that is bothering Ontarians but the confusion in the messaging still going on. For example, we now know that the shortage of the vaccine will mean that people not in priority categories won't get vaccinated for a while. Yet, there was a one-page ad in Saturday's paper from the provincial government saying that people should get the vaccine as soon as possible.

It's true that it also said that certain people would get it first but the message was clearly laid out to tout vaccination for everyone ... meanwhile, clinics are closing, people are left stranded ... and now we've run out.

Not a great confidence builder. I'm asking: where are the communication advisers to the public health experts? Are these experts listening?

Scientific and medical evidence is nice ... yes, we need to be vaccinated ... it'd be even better if the logistics were in place to make it happen a bit more smoothly ... and if messaging was adapted to reflect the current situation.

Seems to me there needs to be better coordination in messaging between the federal, provincial and local public health officials. It's been sorely lacking so far.

Thoughts anyone?

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