Tuesday 22 November 2016

Immunization Challenges

I've been trying to arrange for Alex to receive his upcoming vaccinations through his family doctor instead of through the school.  He doesn't deal well with needles and crowds so getting jabbed in a gymnasium is not going to go well.  Sounds simple, right?

First, I tried calling my doctor's office and was told: no, we can't give him those vaccinations, you'll have to go through Ottawa Public Health.

Called Ottawa Public Health.  Left a message.

Got a call back 2 days later.  I wasn't in, so I missed it.  Had to call them back.

2 days later, they called back again.  This time I got it.  I had to speak to three different people, all of whom seemed to have trouble understanding what I was asking.  Including one gentleman who gave me a stern lecture on the need to vaccinate my child and how there was no link between vaccines and autism.  (For the record, I agree.  And for the rest of the record, I'm bloody well trying to get my child vaccinated!)  At the end of the call, I was told someone would call me back within the week with a date for a clinic I could bring Alex to.

Four days after that, I got a call from a woman who said she was going over my request and wondered if it wouldn't be easier if they simply released the vaccines to Alex's family doctor so that he could get them in a familiar environment.  I heartily agreed and she said they would send over the vaccines and my doctor should have them within a week or two.  I called my family doctor to alert them.  They said they'd call when the vaccines arrived and set up an appointment.

A month later, no word.  I call the doctor.  They haven't received anything from Public Health.  I go through another round of multi-day call backs and finally get told that due to the backlog of sending out flu vaccines and doing the vaccinations at the school, Alex's request has been shelved.  They'll probably be sent to the doctor sometime in December, maybe January.

And then, as a nice little final insult to injury, I receive a letter from Public Health threatening to suspend Nathan since they don't have a record of his vaccinations.  I've send the records in twice and received confirmation, but obviously the system can't be bothered to actually record that.

This is the sort of garbage that eats up time and energy which frankly, I could be using elsewhere.  Despite having begun this process in September, so as to avoid being caught up in the late fall/early winter backlog, I'm being told in no uncertain terms that my child is not a priority.  Given the challenges and public perception of a link between autism and vaccines, you would think that Public Health would be a little more active in helping families with autism who want to get their children vaccinated.  If I was less determined, this would fall by the wayside and just not happen, leaving a gap that could potentially allow serious diseases to return the way measles has.

It's frustrating to have to make five or six steps where one or two should be sufficient.

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