Northern Health says H1N1 shots begin next week

With H1N1 vaccinations kicking off in some parts of the province on Monday, some residents in the North are wondering when their turn will come.

Several health jurisdictions began immunizations on Monday, offering shots to the those in the highest risk demographics, including pregnant women (in their 2nd trimester), adults over 65 with chronic medical conditions, and persons living in remote and isolated settings or communities.

In a teleconference on Monday afternoon, Northern Health Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. David Bowering said the vaccine should be available to residents in the North, sometime next week.

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Dr. Bowering says it’s a "pipe dream" that the vaccines will be ready everywhere on Monday, but also says he expects everyone at high risk will get one at some point next week.  In a "Reality Check," Dr. Bowering said the delay has been caused by the the organizational challanges arising from dealing with various health jurisdictions in the North (such as the First Nations and Inuit Health), as well as geography and remoteness of some communities.

A recent poll done by Ipsos Reid for Canwest News Service and Global National says 48% of Canadians are not interested in getting the H1N1 vaccine.  Unofficial polls done by several sites, including Energeticcity.ca, are reflecting that number.  Bowering says he hopes that most of those people reconsider their position.

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It was recently announced that several jurisdiction in the United States are running out of the vaccine.  Dr. Bowering says he doesn’t expect that to happen in the Northern Health jurisdiction.

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Northern Health says it will have locations, dates, and times posted on its website (www.northernhealth.ca) later on this week.  Bowering also advises residents to check with their local Health Unit, and areas where the normal seasonal flu shot is offered, for dates and times.

Bowering says he expects that everyone in the province who wants or needs the vaccine, will have the H1N1 shot before Christmas.