first of all, unlike the hockey players and hospital board members in Toronto, Regional Councillors have NOT been given the H1N1 vaccine. (and some of us have the flu to prove it!) We are supposed to have the “show clinic” on November 17. This is the media event where we get the shot each year to show the public its safe. With the shortage of vaccine, I don’t know whether this will even happen this year.
The lack of vaccine is caused by a shortage. In fact the vaccine has been developed and tested in record time, but it takes time to manufacture. More vaccine is due next week.
Although doctors are getting 85% of the vaccine, the high number of GPs mean, for instance, that my doctor only got 50 doses last week. Hopefully there will suddenly be a large supply.
Here is the latest update from public health:
· There continues to be increased influenza activity in Waterloo Region:
o Since Sept 1, 171 cases of influenza A, at varying stages of confirmation of strain – expecting vast majority, if not all, to be H1N1.
o Forty-five cases have been hospitalized as of Sept. 1. Most have been discharged. Confirmed cases are skewed towards hospitalized and/or severely ill patients. Most cases of H1N1 overall are still mild to moderate.
o No H1N1-confirmed deaths to date in Waterloo Region.
o Schools absenteeism rates slightly lower than the previous week.
o Emergency room visits for influenza-like illness have started to decrease in the last couple of days.
· Approximately 85% of family doctors are providing the H1N1 flu vaccine to their patients. We are asking the public to call their doctor first to find out if they can get their H1N1 flu shot from them.
· Pregnant women are invited to call the health unit at 519-883-2272 to make an appointment to receive their vaccine at the Public Health office in Waterloo or Cambridge.
· Public Health recently announced an additional H1N1 immunization clinic for Saturday, November 7. The clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. David’s Secondary School (4 High St.) in Waterloo. Due to the limited supply of vaccine, at this time, Public Health H1N1 immunization clinics are for priority targets only.
· At the public health clinics, people will be required to verify that they and/or their family members are in a priority group before being immunized. Priority targets who are eligible to receive the vaccine are:
o People under 65 years of age with chronic conditions (e.g. diabetes, cancer, asthma, etc.)
o Children 6 months to under 5 years of age
o Pregnant women
o Health care workers (health care workers involved with the pandemic response or delivery of essential health services)
o House contacts and care providers of persons at higher risk who cannot be immunized (e.g. children under 6 months) or who may not respond to vaccines (e.g. those who are immune-compromised)
· Region of Waterloo Public Health released a “H1N1 and Breastfeeding Questions and Answers” Information Sheet – http://www.waterlooregionpandemic.ca/en/
Note: the number of confirmed cases will sem low because only those hospitalized are tested for H1N1. Dr. Wang says, “If you have the flu it is likely swine flu.”