H1N1 flu vaccinations available
Massive immunization clinics open to public next week
Vaccinations against the H1N1 virus get underway Oct. 26. with the immunization of health-care workers at various sites throughout the Trinity Conception region. Mass immunization for the public, in some areas of the province, will begin next week (Nov. 2).
Residents from the Bay Roberts area can receive their shots from Nov. 2 - 28 at the gymnasium of Amalgamated Academy, while another clinic, set for the same date at Carbonear Collegiate, will be available to people in that area.
Clinics for residents from the Upper Trinity South shore, which also includes the Whitbourne and Norman’s Cove area, will be held at Crescent Collegiate in Blaketown Nov. 10 to Dec. 1. Vaccinations for those from the Lower Trinity South shore, (Heart’s Delight to Old Perlican) are set for Nov. 2 to 9 at Baccalieu Collegiate in Old Perlican .
Holyrood residents can receive their shots at Roncalli High from Nov. 10 - 27.
The clinics will be open to the public between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday. People will not have to book appointments. The vaccinations will be done on a large scale and designed to handle a large flow of people.
The H1N1 vaccination is not mandatory, but is recommended for all residents of the province and will be offered free of charge. It could take about a month to complete.
Dr. David Allison, Eastern Health’s Medical Officer of Health, said immunization against H1N1 is a key factor in controlling the spread of the disease and keeping the numbers of those affected as low as possible.
“While immunization is not mandatory, I encourage all staff and residents of our communities to take advantage of this vaccine, provided free of charge, as a prevention against contracting the H1N1 virus,” Dr. Allison told reporters last week.
“Doctors, their office staff and other health-care workers are also encouraged to come to clinics that have been scheduled throughout the next few weeks.”
Meanwhile Health Minister Jerome Kennedy also urges people to get immunized.
“As the Minister of Health and Community Services, I am committed to updating the people of Newfoundland and Labrador on a regular basis about the status of H1N1 in the province, how our government is responding and the latest information available,” said the Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA.
“ We have secured enough H1N1 vaccine for anyone in the province who wants it so that we can protect all of our residents against the pandemic virus.”
High risk first
Twenty eight new cases of H1N1 were reported in the province last week, raising the total number of cases since June to 145. Most of those cases were mild, and there have only been three cases that required hospitalization.
Consistent with all other juris-
dictions, Newfoundland and Labrador will receive the vaccine in stages. The first supply of the H1N1 vaccine contains 28,000 doses and these will be distributed to the health regions by the end of this week.
Immunizations will begin on a limited basis and will expand as more vaccine arrives in the province.
Based on recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada, the vaccine will be offered first to people who will benefit most from it. These groups include individuals under 65 with chronic health conditions, individuals living in remote and isolated settings or communities, children from six months to five years, health-care workers involved in pandemic response or the delivery of essential health care services, pregnant women, caregivers of persons at high risk who cannot be immunized or may not respond to vaccines, and populations otherwise identified as high risk.
Along with immunizing health care workers, this week Eastern Health began offering site-specific immunization programs to more vulnerable populations, such as those at the Native Friendship Centre, the Gathering Place and the Association for New Canadians.
The Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association supports the idea of mass clinics throughout the province.
Dr. Lydia Hatcher says she will be availing of the vaccine and suspects most of her colleagues will as well.
“If doctors had to vaccinate patients at their practices, they would be doing nothing but vaccinating 50 or 60 people per day and not be able to provide regular medical services,” says Hatcher.
The H1N1 vaccine in Canada is an adjuvanted vaccine, which means it contains a substance that provides a more rapid and increased immune response to the virus. The adjuvant in Canada’s H1N1 vaccine is made up of natural ingredients such as water, oil and vitamins.
Daniel MacEachearn/The Compass CLINIC SITE - Carbonear Collegiate is one of several designated sites in the Trinity Conception Bay area where residents can receive a vaccination against the H1N1 virus.