H1N1 vaccine flow to slow, then pick up
OTTAWA — The delivery of H1N1 vaccine to the provinces will slow dramatically next week before ramping up again in each of the following weeks, likely meaning more frustration as people line up for flu shots.
Just over 400,000 doses of the adjuvanted version of the vaccine will flow from the Quebec manufacturer by the end of next week, Dr. David Butler-Jones, the chief public health officer, said Friday.
As well, more than 200,000 doses of the unadjuvanted version will be imported.
“ We have been getting about two million doses a week,” said Butler-Jones.
“ That’s where the six million doses that are currently out there comes from.”
Of that six million, some provinces may still have some left. But those supplies will likely be depleted by the end of next week, said Butler-Jones.
Already, Ontario’s health minister has warned local health units they will receive only a fraction of the doses of H1N1 vaccine they had been expecting.
Calgary’s five swine flu vaccination clinics shut their doors around noon because of overwhelming demand.
Anyone still in line at that time was to get a shot, but clinics then stopped accepting new people, said Alberta Health Services.
The clinics were to reopen Saturday, but provincial officials warned that some clinics could again be temporarily suspended as supplies from the federal government dry up.
The northern territories, where the population is sparse but spread over a large geographical area, already have their full commitment of swine flu vaccine.
After next week, federal health officials expect delivery of vaccines to increase, to roughly one million, and then to nearly 3.5 million weekly.
As the immediate supply is reduced to a trickle, however, health officials urge people who are considered to be at low risk of contracting the H1N1 virus to stay away from vaccination clinics.
Canadian health officials also continued Friday to debate whether parents with young children have to return for a second dose of vaccine after all, because the World Health Organization suggests one dose is sufficient.
Canada currently recommends that children under 10 receive two doses of H1N1 vaccine, given at least 21 days apart.
Ottawa is also still recommending that pregnant women receive the unadjuvanted version of the vaccine, despite a WHO recommendation that pregnant women should feel free to use vaccine containing adjuvant.
People lineup to get their H1N1 vaccination Friday in St. Eustache, Que. Waiting times of seven hours were common as vaccination centres were overwhelmed by the demand.
Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq listens to chief public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones during a news conference to provide an update on the H1N1 flu virus in Ottawa Friday.