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Ontario children get double-dose flu shot Add to ...

A Brampton, Ont., man is questioning why the nurse who gave his young daughter and almost a dozen other children double the recommended dose of the H1N1 flu vaccine is still giving out the swine flu shot.

It's just the latest problem to surface in Ontario's bumpy rollout of the swine flu vaccine.

That rollout has included vaccine shortages, days-long lineups for vaccinations at public clinics and board members at about a dozen Toronto hospitals and several players and staff from the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA's Toronto Raptors being allowed to jump the queue in getting their flu shot ahead of the general public.

Ted Hedrich said in an interview from his home in Brampton on Sunday that he was told that his 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Selena, was one of 11 children who were given the higher dose by a nurse working at the Indell Lane clinic last Monday afternoon.

But he wasn't called by a Peel Public Health supervisor until Thursday when he was told of the error, he said.

Health officials have recommended young children only get half the adult dose initially - which would be 0.25 ml for children - and then get the other half several weeks later. But Mr. Hedrich said his daughter was given 0.5 ml.

Mr. Hedrich said he was told the nurse now has been retrained on the proper procedure.

"I was absolutely shocked," he said, that the nurse was still giving flu shots.

He said he thinks the nurse should lose her licence, noting someone who accidentally shoots someone with a gun would likely go to jail.





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A second Peel Public Health supervisor called him on Friday to express sympathy and ask how his daughter was doing, but didn't give him a formal apology, he said.

He took Selena to their family physician on Friday and was told to take his daughter for X-rays because she had a "slight rasp" in her chest, he said, adding she hasn't felt well since getting the vaccine.

"She's got the sore throat, runny nose, dysentery. There's been no fever and no aches and pains, which we're just praying that none of those pop up," he said.

However Peel Public Health officials and the family doctor wouldn't say if the symptoms were related to the flu shot, he said.

Mr. Hedrich said he regrets allowing his daughter to get the flu shot, but at the time, he and his wife Lisa were swayed by news of the deaths last month of 13-year-old Toronto hockey player Evan Frustaglio and Vanetia Warner, a 10-year-old girl from Cornwall.

"We weren't sure if we were going to take my daughter in for the shot. The two healthy kids dying kind of sealed it," he said.

He didn't want to take any chances, so his wife and daughter waited a couple of hours in line to get the inoculation. He said his wife got her flu shot first, then his daughter.

Mr. Hedrich, who is a project engineer manager, said he won't be getting a flu shot when the vaccine is available to the general public.

He said he has sent e-mails to people he knows, advising them to be cautious when getting a needle, and check the dose themselves.

"Do not take for granted that just because somebody says they are a nurse or whatever, they're going to give you a shot, you ask about their qualifications and then you demand to see that the shot is the proper dose," he said.

Unfortunately a lot of people put medical personnel on a pedestal, he said.

His family has been calling him to check that his daughter is all right and his neighbours have provided support. Even his pharmacist has called him to check on Selena, he said.

Mr. Hedrich remains worried about what long-term effect the double dose of vaccine could have on his daughter.

He said he has consulted with his lawyer, but would not elaborate on whether he is considering any legal action.

Peel Region's associate medical officer of health, Kathleen Dooling, said in a statement there are no significant ill effects found for children at that dosage level.

Peel Region is investigating how the error occurred and taking steps to ensure it is not repeated, she said.

Ontario is expected to get 770,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine this week for those considered at high risk, but it's still unclear when it will arrive, Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, said on Friday.

There's still no firm date on when it will be available to the general public.

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