News

October 22, 2009

WRHA Mass H1N1 Influenza Immunization Clinics Start
Next Week

Public asked to cooperate to ensure groups at highest risk vaccinated first

Mass public immunization clinics for the H1N1 virus will begin next Monday, 26 October 2009 at 12 locations throughout the city.

Because of the anticipated high demand for the vaccine and the limited quantity that initially will be available, the Winnipeg Health Region is asking the public's cooperation in order to ensure those at highest risk for serious illness get vaccinated first."We're asking that only those individuals who are most at risk of serious illness from H1N1, attend one of the clinics during the first couple of weeks of the H1N1 immunization campaign," Dr. Sande Harlos, WRHA Medical Officer of Health, said.

"We want to be sure that those who are most in need of protection get the vaccine as quickly as possible," WRHA Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sande Harlos said. "The campaign is expected to last about six weeks and there will be enough vaccine for whoever wants it, so those at lower risk will have time to be immunized later in the campaign."

The vaccine is expected to arrive weekly in batches. The region will announce when it is ready to start immunizing other members of the public, who are at less risk of serious infection.

Individuals who are invited to the WRHA H1N1 mass immunization clinics this week include:

  • children aged six months to under five years old

  • anyone of Aboriginal ancestry (First Nations, Métis or Inuit)

  • disadvantaged individuals (for example, the homeless)

  • people living in remote or isolated areas

  • people under 65 with a chronic medical condition or other risks
    including severe obesity, substance abuse or alcoholism

  • anyone with a weakened immune system or those who live with
    or care for them

  • those who live with or care for infants under six months old

  • single parents or anyone solely responsible for a dependent

  • health-care workers and medical first responders

  • pregnant women (see note)

Note: It is recommended that women who are pregnant receive an unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine. This vaccine will be available at a later date. Please watch this space for more information.

In November, an unadjuvanted shot recommended for pregnant women will be available. Women who are pregnant should wait until that shot arrives. However, if H1N1 flu rates are high or increasing before unadjuvanted vaccine arrives, women more than 20 weeks pregnant can be offered adjuvanated vaccine.

Health care workers and medical first responder will be offered vaccine at their workplaces, but can also attend the mass clinics in the community if it is more convenient for them. Outreach to disadvantaged people who may not attend a mass clinic is also occurring.

The region's schedule is attached, available through HealthLinks - Info Sante (788-8200) and is posted on the WRHA website at www.wrha.mb.ca. Other information and updates will also be posted on the site throughout the campaign.

The region also reiterated its call for nurses who are willing to work at one of the mass immunization clinics.

WRHA Vice President Human Resources Gloria O'Rourke said the call includes both those already working for the region and those who may not be.

"These nurses may be working part-time for us and so are willing and able to pick up extra shifts, they may be working in important, but non-essential roles during a time like this- staff education as an example - and so could be redeployed to assist with this major undertaking. Or they could be retired or working part-time somewhere else," she said.

"We just want them all to know that we would appreciate and value their assistance."

Any nurse or nurse practitioner interested in working at one at the clinics should contact the region at hraction@wrha.mb.ca or call 926-6089.

No appointment necessary.

Please remember to bring your Manitoba Health card.

View H1N1 Influenza Immunization Clinic Schedule

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