Divided we fall

Pam
Pam Frampton
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Hey! No fair! Afghan detainees in the custody of Canadians in Kandahar will be getting the H1N1 vaccine right about now, the Canadian Press reported last week.
"The military's medical staff sought legal advice before going forward with the vaccinations," CP reported in an article Nov. 10.
"The army says it treats detainees as prisoners of war, and as such they are required under the Geneva Conventions to be given the same medical care as their captors."
Uh-huh. I don't quite think this is what the Geneva Conventions had in mind. Why should some old suspected terrorist get the shot before me?
Those suspected terrorists are lucky. Maybe I should go to Afghanistan and act like a member of the Taliban so that I can get the vaccine before other people. Detainees have it made.
Yes, I know Afghanistan is kind of a risky place right now, but, hey, if it means I don't have to wait as long ... I'd almost rather risk a landmine or torture than swine flu.

Some people think this way
And speaking of swine flu, did you hear that members of the Canadian Forces were inoculated before school children started getting the vaccine here?
Lucky soldiers. They've got it knocked. Sure, they could be deployed to some godforsaken place to fight for some cause half of us are ignorant of, where health services and living conditions may be less than optimum, and where their lives are on the line every single day, but what the heck? Can't they take their chances with swine flu like the rest of us healthy folk?
And speaking of prisoners and their keepers, what do you make of the inmates and staff down at Her Majesty's Penitentiary getting the vaccine?
Rewarding people for breaking the law, that's all that is.
At least that's what they're saying on "Open Line."
Some deterrence. Hey - I robbed a Needs Convenience store and my punishment is getting to jump the queue for H1N1 vaccine.
What about the poor clerks working at the Needs Convenience? I bet no one's stepping up to the plate to make sure they get to roll up their sleeves ahead of other people.
Why should we care if swine flu spreads through the Pen and the lockup? It's not my kid/brother/uncle/husband/boyfriend/father down there.
They get sick? Tough luck. Cry me a river.
And speaking of crying, does the media have to keep printing and broadcasting pictures of small youngsters crying as they get vaccinated? It's all bad enough that I have to wait to get the needle, let alone having to see kids bawling who are lucky enough to be young and fragile enough to qualify for it.
It's downright unpleasant. I don't want to have to think about them being in pain when they should be smiling at being able to get some protection before the rest of us.
The media should have better sense. Show us stoic kids or none at all.
Then again, it's the media that has blown the whole thing out of proportion in the first place - causing panic and fanning fear when there's no need of it.
Bloody fear-mongers. They get off on that, as far as I can tell, with H1N1 stories topping the headlines every day - plastered across the front page of The Telegram and across the TV screens at suppertime. I guess they're not happy unless they've got an ambulance to chase.
Do we really need to be told that some people didn't recognize the honour system and jumped in line to get the shot? Isn't that just pitting people against each other?
Do we have to be told there isn't enough vaccine and we don't know when more will be coming?
Do we really need to hear about how many people have died or how many are on ventilators every single day?
And speaking of every single day, does the health minister really need to be briefing us that often? Do we need to know how many people have been admitted where, day in and day out? Doesn't he have more important things to be doing than talking to the media all the time?
Please - just let me know when I can get the vaccine.
Why should I have to suffer because I'm healthy and other people are not?

This part is serious
What? You don't think anyone could be as callous as this? Then tune in to the call-in radio shows some time.
Yes, it's true there are people who should not have gotten the vaccine yet - bankers, professional athletes and other people with connections.
Right now, young children and their caregivers, pregnant women and at-risk adults are being vaccinated.
If you're not in those groups and you're in good health? Stop complaining and wait your turn.

Pam Frampton is The Telegram's story editor. She can be reached by e-mail at pframpton@thetelegram.com.

Organizations: Canadian Press, Geneva Conventions, Taliban Canadian Forces

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Kandahar

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Recent comments

  • Glenn
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Geneva Conventions my a$$. The legal opinion is garbage and embarassing. The military is shooting itself in the foot. Toss those Taliban SOB's a blanket and that's it!

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    To anyone who doesnt think the Canadian Forces should get the vaccine first i simply say untill you have the balls to take the risks they do and are willing to make the incredible sacrifices they make everyday keep your mouth shut. not to mention the logic involved, if it does manage to turn bad they will be the ones cleaning up the mess, that along with the fact that a bunch of sick soldiers are combat ineffective and thus an even greater waste of taxpayer money. also the risks of gettin sick while your in a third world country on a regular basis are greatly increased. its all just common sense

  • gerard
    July 02, 2010 - 13:23

    Godfodder, the kind of shots Antonio is talking about are not needles.......

  • Antonio
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    I see nothing wrong with giving the Taliban shots. In fact, I would like to help....

  • God father
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Aaauuuuuwww!! Antonio, Antonio, Antonio!!!! Sa, what's the matter you!! You wanna all de Taliban to stay well so they can come put holes in you????? Antonio....you gotta know better, eh?? Whatta you tink you poor Mother say if she heard you say sucha ting...so stupido!!! Antonio!! Capish???

  • Merin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    I keep hearing outraged comments about prisoners getting the vaccine before everyone else. What happens if they all get sick and several need hospitalization? Who takes care of them, where do they go? Imagine the cost of guarding them in hospital - some of whom will likely be faking serious symptoms. People need to think this through.

  • Linda
    July 02, 2010 - 13:12

    This is the TV reality of the now ingrained Survivor mentality. Ethics are out the window. The end justifies the means so Save Me First is the slogan. Trampling the sick, babies, pregnant woman is ok. Epidemoligical evidence showing who is at high risk doesn't matter. And no, it doesn't matter that one third of the H1N1 deaths are from the native population even though they only represent less than 5% of the Canadian population. The Me First crowd can't do math. Not to mention, the rich and connected. They were at the front of the line before there was even a line. Go figure. their connections allowed them a private source of H1N1 vaccine even though tax payers footed the bill. Money money money it's always sunny in a rich man's world. After all, bankers stock brokers celebs and yes even hockey players are all more important than an 11 month old baby. And to make this worse, the fact that consulting firms organized the Provinces pandemic plan as a PR exercise is the way of the world. They say it is a business plan stupid, not a medical plan. Triaging the most vunerable and at high risk doesn't matter as long as we do our supper time surveys that everyone jokingly loves to answer honestly. And of course PR firms concluded more advertising was need to get the dumb masses to line up for shots. It is the nature of PR firms to create more PR to get more contracts. That is what they do. They create surveys designed to produce more business for themselves. Could somebody dig up the bill for that PR Pandemic plan? Do we get our money back for the massive failure of their Plan? Can the families of the dead sue these firms? Well people, what we need is a leader. Someone who can set the principles of moral conduct for all of us. Someone to remind us of right and wrong and to show us our duty is to protect the weak sick young and future generations.

  • Tom
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    Why did we as members of Canada's Armed Forces get the H1N1 shot first you ask? The answer is simple. If worse comes to worse, and there is a pandemic, WE are the ones who will be called up to serve.
    Why our tax dollars were used to give the enemy the shot I don't know.

  • Glenn
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Geneva Conventions my a$$. The legal opinion is garbage and embarassing. The military is shooting itself in the foot. Toss those Taliban SOB's a blanket and that's it!

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:13

    To anyone who doesnt think the Canadian Forces should get the vaccine first i simply say untill you have the balls to take the risks they do and are willing to make the incredible sacrifices they make everyday keep your mouth shut. not to mention the logic involved, if it does manage to turn bad they will be the ones cleaning up the mess, that along with the fact that a bunch of sick soldiers are combat ineffective and thus an even greater waste of taxpayer money. also the risks of gettin sick while your in a third world country on a regular basis are greatly increased. its all just common sense

  • gerard
    July 01, 2010 - 20:08

    Godfodder, the kind of shots Antonio is talking about are not needles.......

  • Antonio
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    I see nothing wrong with giving the Taliban shots. In fact, I would like to help....

  • God father
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Aaauuuuuwww!! Antonio, Antonio, Antonio!!!! Sa, what's the matter you!! You wanna all de Taliban to stay well so they can come put holes in you????? Antonio....you gotta know better, eh?? Whatta you tink you poor Mother say if she heard you say sucha ting...so stupido!!! Antonio!! Capish???

  • Merin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:50

    I keep hearing outraged comments about prisoners getting the vaccine before everyone else. What happens if they all get sick and several need hospitalization? Who takes care of them, where do they go? Imagine the cost of guarding them in hospital - some of whom will likely be faking serious symptoms. People need to think this through.

  • Linda
    July 01, 2010 - 19:49

    This is the TV reality of the now ingrained Survivor mentality. Ethics are out the window. The end justifies the means so Save Me First is the slogan. Trampling the sick, babies, pregnant woman is ok. Epidemoligical evidence showing who is at high risk doesn't matter. And no, it doesn't matter that one third of the H1N1 deaths are from the native population even though they only represent less than 5% of the Canadian population. The Me First crowd can't do math. Not to mention, the rich and connected. They were at the front of the line before there was even a line. Go figure. their connections allowed them a private source of H1N1 vaccine even though tax payers footed the bill. Money money money it's always sunny in a rich man's world. After all, bankers stock brokers celebs and yes even hockey players are all more important than an 11 month old baby. And to make this worse, the fact that consulting firms organized the Provinces pandemic plan as a PR exercise is the way of the world. They say it is a business plan stupid, not a medical plan. Triaging the most vunerable and at high risk doesn't matter as long as we do our supper time surveys that everyone jokingly loves to answer honestly. And of course PR firms concluded more advertising was need to get the dumb masses to line up for shots. It is the nature of PR firms to create more PR to get more contracts. That is what they do. They create surveys designed to produce more business for themselves. Could somebody dig up the bill for that PR Pandemic plan? Do we get our money back for the massive failure of their Plan? Can the families of the dead sue these firms? Well people, what we need is a leader. Someone who can set the principles of moral conduct for all of us. Someone to remind us of right and wrong and to show us our duty is to protect the weak sick young and future generations.

  • Tom
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    Why did we as members of Canada's Armed Forces get the H1N1 shot first you ask? The answer is simple. If worse comes to worse, and there is a pandemic, WE are the ones who will be called up to serve.
    Why our tax dollars were used to give the enemy the shot I don't know.