October 30, 2009

WRHA Announcing Significant Changes to H1N1 Immunization Campaign

This afternoon, the province informed the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority that the amount of vaccine it will receive next week from the Health Canada is going to be even more significantly reduced than originally thought. As such, the amount of vaccine the Winnipeg Health Region will receive from the province will be proportionally reduced.

The region initially received a shipment of about 59,000 doses last week with a second additional shipment of about 30,000 doses this week. Once the final tally is known this evening, it is expected that approximately 12,000 doses will remain.

As a result, starting next week, the Winnipeg Health Authority will be taking a much more targeted approach to the administration of the vaccine with the following steps:

Actively screening all individuals who present at the region's 12 mass immunization clinics on Monday in order to focus on the following groups that are at most high-risk of developing serious complications from H1N1:

  • Children aged six months to under five years old;

  • Anyone of Aboriginal ancestry (First Nations, Metis or Inuit);
  • People under 55 with a severe chronic medical or other risk condition; and

  • Pregnant women

It is expected that the approximately 12,000 doses the region currently has in its inventory will be exhausted by the end of Monday.

Cancelling the mass immunization clinics that had been scheduled for Tuesday through Friday.

Cancelling all Staff Immunization Clinics (also known as Occupational Health Clinics) - those held in hospitals or at community sites for health care workers.

The region is expecting a third - much more reduced - shipment of vaccine later next week. Public health and other regional officials will be evaluating the situation as it progresses in order to determine how best to deliver the shipment to the targeted populations in the most effective and efficient way.

Once those decisions are made, they will be communicated to the public.

Next week, it is also expected the region will receive vaccine that does not have adjuvant. This vaccine is for pregnant women. The region will announce next week how and where it will be administered.

The region will resume its mass immunization clinics along with its staff immunization clinics once the vaccine supply increases and stabilizes.

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