lime green polo Lines long as Canadians swamp H1N1 clinics
Lines containing hundreds of people snaked through shopping malls, local arenas and community centres, as mothers and fathers pushing strollers, seniors, pregnant women, and other Canadians believed to be most at risk of serious flu complications lined up before clinics opened.An Ottawa clinic had to turn away prospective patients after it became clear by mid afternoon that the wait time was about four hours, and nurses would not be able to immunize everyone by closing time.”I’ve been in a high risk category for several years now, and I’ve been told if I get pneumonia one more time, it could be my last,” said Bruce Chute, as he waited at a clinic in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.In Calgary, people began lining up before dawn for their shots at all four of the city’s clinics, with as many as 800 people crowded outside one shopping mall venue when the doors opened. local time for a clinic that opened three hours later at a city mall.The welder, 50, said he was heading on Monday afternoon to Fort McMurray, Alta., where he lives in a camp with 2,000 men.”I would say a good third of them are already showing flu symptoms sneezing, coughing, that kind of thing,” said Mr. Garbe. “I need to protect myself.”Montrealers, however, were left in limbo as health department officials scrambled to distribute 155,000 doses of the vaccine that were delivered to the city over the weekend. That means workers at most Montreal hospitals, who were expected to start receiving their shots Monday, will not get their jabs until next week.Most provinces are first vaccinating Canadians who are believed to be most at risk of developing flu related complications, such as those with chronic medical conditions, children between the ages of six months and five years, pregnant woman and health care workers. The general public is being asked to hold off on going for their shots until priority groups have received theirs.Canada, meanwhile, is spending more than $2 million to buy H1N1 vaccine from Australia, so that pregnant woman can get their recommended shot “on a timely basis,” the federal government announced Monday.Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said she signed a special order to allow for the purchase of 200,000 doses of the unadjuvanted version of the vaccine from an Australian manufacturer called CSL.Canada is awaiting the production and approval of 1.8 million doses from its own manufacturer,
GlaxoSmithKline. The vaccine offered to most Canadians contains an adjuvant, a substance added to the vaccine to make it more effective. There are no clinical data on flu vaccines with adjuvants in pregnant women, so the government ordered a different version for them as a precaution, although it maintains both versions are safe for pregnant women.Ms. Aglukkaq said the additional supply of unadjuvanted vaccine was secured because of the rising rates of H1N1 cases in Canada.In Saskatchewan, for example, the spread of the H1N1 virus has closed six schools and is affecting a large number of teenagers in 13 communities.”We have 48 lab confirmed cases,” said Dr. Shauna Hudson, the region’s medical health officer in an interview on Monday. “They’ve all been mild to moderate. We’ve had three in patients but they’re all doing well.”The average age of those with lab confirmed cases of H1N1 is 17.9 years.”Twenty seven of them are under the age of 15,” Ms. Hudson said. “We have 11 towns and two cities that have cases now. We have six schools closed (Monday) with absenteeism related to illness.””While the order being produced by GSK in Canada is still on target for delivery in early November, we felt that, given the increase in cases of H1N1 flu virus across the country, it was prudent to offer pregnant women earlier access to the unadjuvanted vaccine,” Ms. Aglukkaq said about the Australian vaccine.The price tag for the order is $2,550,000.Pregnant women are not more likely to get sick, but they’re more at risk of developing complications if they do fall ill.”Let me emphasize, it is crucial that pregnant women consider the benefits of getting vaccinated,” Aglukkaq said.The vaccine ordered from Australia has been approved for use in that country and in the United States, and it has been administered to about 200,000 Australians. The Australian vaccine will be distributed to all provinces and territories, and is scheduled to arrive the first week of November, barring any delivery problems.That means it likely will arrive only days ahead of GlaxoSmithKline’s order, according to the company’s president and chief executive officer, Paul Lucas.”I think we are going to end up with a couple of sources of the unadjuvanted vaccine but, again, I think it’s a good insurance policy for Canadians,” Mr. Lucas told reporters after an appearance before the House of Commons health committee Monday. He said the unadjuvanted vaccine has been made, and is going through a quality assurance process before it can be released, and he anticipates all the necessary steps to be completed the first week of November.Chief Public Health Officer Dr. David Butler Jones said the additional shipment from Australia alone “should be sufficient to cover the majority of pregnant women” in Canada.There has been growing debate among pregnant women over whether they should get the H1N1 shot, and, if so, which one.The Public Health Agency of Canada advises each pregnant woman to take the unadjuvanted vaccine if it’s available. If it isn’t, and if there is widespread H1N1 in the woman’s community, she should take the adjuvanted vaccine.