On­tario to re­ceive frac­tion of vac­cine doses ex­pected

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Canada -

TORONTO — On­tario’s top health of­fi­cer is warn­ing healthy peo­ple to stay away from H1N1 clin­ics be­cause health units will re­ceive just a frac­tion of the doses of the vac­cine they had been ex­pect­ing from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.

Dr. Ar­lene King says the prov­ince will re­ceive about 170,000 doses of the ad­ju­vented vac­cine and 86,800 doses of the un­ad­ju­vented vac­cine for preg­nant women from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment next week — a frac­tion of the 722,000 doses re­ceived in prior weeks.

The an­nounce­ment came as lo­cal health units scram­bled to im­ple­ment sys­tems to make clin­ics more ef­fi­cient when they were set to open to the gen­eral pub­lic on Mon­day.

But King says clin­ics across the prov­ince and coun­try-wide will re­main open only to mem­bers of six pri­or­ity groups.

King says peo­ple wait­ing in queue will be ques­tioned about why they are there to weed out mem­bers of the gen­eral pub­lic who are jump­ing in line.

She added that in a few weeks the prov­ince will have enough vac­cine to im­mu­nize every­one who wants and needs it.

“If you are not in a pri­or­ity group please be pa­tient and re­spect the se­quenc­ing. We will not be im­mu­niz­ing peo­ple who do not fall un­der the six pri­or­ity groups. Wait to get your vac­cine once those who will ben­e­fit most have re­ceived it.”

“Ob­vi­ously, it would be de­sir- able to con­tinue to have the sup­ply we had, but I think the strat­egy we agreed on is the best way right now to mit­i­gate se­ri­ous ill­ness and death as re­sult of in­fec­tion of H1N1.”

“For next week we will re­ceive a lower sup­ply of the vac­cine than had been orig­i­nally an­tic­i­pated due to re­duced pro­duc­tion by the vac­cine’s sup­plier,” she said.

“For this rea­son we will fo­cus our im­mu­niza­tion ef­forts ex­clu­sively on the pri­or­ity groups, those peo­ple who are most vul­ner­a­ble to se­ri­ous out­comes from this flu and those around them.

The vac­cine is be­ing shipped to the prov­inces in stages as it is man­u­fac­tured, she said, adding that the prov­ince never ex­pected to re­ceive its al­lot­ment all at once.

King says the roll-out of the vac­cine is still weeks ahead of the orig­i­nal sched­ule.

On­tario Health Min­is­ter Deb Matthews — who abruptly left the Lib­eral party’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Wind­sor, Ont., to­day — is fly­ing back to Toronto to speak with King about how the prov­ince will deal with the short­age.

King says On­tario’s al­lot­ment is ex­pected to in­crease again “within sev­eral weeks,” adding that she be­lieved every­one who wants to be im­mu­nized in the prov­ince can ex­pect to re­ceive the vac­cine by Christ­mas.

Clin­ics are be­ing lim­ited to pri­or­ity groups only all across Canada, as all prov­inces deal with the dwin­dling sup­ply is­sue, King told a news con­fer­ence in Toronto Fri­day.

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