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Health care worker fired over Flames flu shot fiasco

Flu shot seekers wait in the H1N1 immunization line up at Bonnie Doon Mall in Edmonotn, on October 31, 2009. Alberta's Opposition Liberals want the health minister to resign after a decision to temporarily suspend all swine flu vaccination clinics, the party's leader said Sunday.A national shortage of vaccine has left Alberta and other provinces scrambling to rejig their vaccination programs amid an outpouring of public anger. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Edmonton Sun-Jordan Verlage

Jordan Verlage/The Canadian Press

An unidentified Alberta health care worker who allowed the Calgary Flames hockey team and players' families to privately receive H1N1 vaccinations last week has been fired and more disciplinary action against other staff members may follow, Alberta Health Services announced this afternoon.

"The decision to allow preferential access to the Flames and their families was a serious error in judgment on the part of the staff involved," Stephen Duckett, who is president and chief executive officer of the board that governs health delivery in the province, said in a statement.

In issuing the short statement this afternoon, Dr. Duckett said distribution of the vaccine is supposed to be equitable to all Albertans.

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"The special treatment for the Flames and their families is unacceptable to us and contrary to all of our existing protocols and processes. I apologize for this breach of our duty to Albertans," he said.

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The National Hockey League franchise faced major backlash when it was revealed this week the team jumped the queue for the flu vaccine last Friday. That was a day before the province said it was closing down all public flu vaccination clinics due to a national shortage of the vaccine.

Ken Hughes, board chairman for Alberta Health Services, said he was "deeply offended" by what happened and pledged that it would not be repeated.

"We wanted to make sure that Alberta Health Services got to the bottom of it," Alberta Health Minister Ron Liepert told reporters, "They did and they did very quickly. I'm sure if they could rewind the clock that all of them would think differently."

Gerry Predy, Alberta's senior medical officer of health, said he is "reasonably certain" that no other groups besides the hockey club received special treatment.

"But again, nothing is 100 per cent,' he added.

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A Calgary Flames spokesman declined comment.



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Dawn Walton

Dawn Walton has been based in Calgary for The Globe and Mail since 2000. Before leaving Toronto to head West, she won a National Newspaper Award and was twice nominated for the Michener Award for her work with the Report on Business. More

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Allan Maki is a national news reporter and sports writer based in Calgary. More

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