Nurse testifies she vaccinated people after H1N1 clinics closed

The inquiry into queue-jumping in Alberta's health-care system wrapped up Thursday after hearing from several nurses who immunized people after public clinics closed due to a shortage of the H1N1 vaccine.

Christine Westerlund, an AHS regional manager, was in charge of one of the mass vaccination clinics in Edmonton.

She told the inquiry she knew nurses were vaccinating family members during their breaks at the clinics.

She says at the time, there was no policy against the process.

Within days, the province shut down the clinics because of shortages.

Earlier Thursday, Susan Smith testified.

She was in charge of one of eight public H1N1 flu clinics in Edmonton and was responsible for making sure the supply was used appropriately at her clinic.

The clinical development nurse said she was concerned about wasting the vaccine, which she called a precious resource with a short, 24-hour shelf life.

The day after a shortage of the vaccine forced the closure of the mass vaccine clinics across the province in October 2009, Smith went to a closed clinic in Edmonton, letting in and vaccinating about 15 people.

Smith said she felt she had the authorization to do it.

When asked who approved it, she said she couldn’t recall. Asked if the people who received the vaccine were acquaintances or family, again she said she couldn’t recall.

Smith said she would do it again, that immunizing people was more important than having the vaccine go to waste.

The inquiry was expected to wrap up this week but more allegations of queue-jumping have been sent to the inquiry’s staff who will investigate the allegations and potentially call more witnesses.

[ [ [['xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx', 11]], '27013743', '0' ], [ [['keyword', 9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999]], 'videoID', '1', 'overwrite-pre-description', 'overwrite-link-string', 'overwrite-link-url' ] ]