Nova Scotia expands H1N1 vaccination clinics to include general public

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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HALIFAX - Nova Scotia expanded its swine flu vaccination campaign Friday to include the general public because it would be better to run out of the vaccine and restart clinics than to keep it stored, the province's chief medical officer says.
Dr. Robert Strang said officials felt comfortable in opening up the program because a steady supply of vaccine is expected in the coming weeks.
And although he said he wanted to counter any feeling of complacency in the public by stressing that people should get vaccinated, Strang also warned there is no need to immediately rush out to clinics.
"This will have to be a multi-week campaign," said Strang. "There will be plenty of opportunities over the coming weeks for everybody who wants to get vaccinated to get it."
He said the province currently has about 70,000 available doses and expects to receive 135,000 doses of adjuvanted vaccine early next week.
The increased supply means more vaccine will be distributed to family physicians and the province will also work with private nursing agencies to set up occupational health clinics in workplaces.
He said the move to give more vaccine to physicians was expected to help with the most recent priority group - the more than 100,000 people over the age of 65 who haven't been eligible for the injection.
Still, Strang cautioned that it is possible some districts may temporarily run out of vaccine, depending on demand.
"We're not getting all the vaccine at once," he said. "There are still going to be weekly allotments of vaccine that we have to get and distribute out to a large range of providers."
But Strang said he would prefer to run out and restart clinics as more vaccine comes in than to have it sitting in fridges.
Other provinces including Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia have expanded their inoculation programs to include the general public.
Nova Scotia has received 315,100 doses of the vaccine to date and so far about 20 per cent of the population has been given shots, Strang said.
He said while health officials would like everyone to get vaccinated, the province has set a target of immunizing up to 75 per cent of the population by the time the program is wrapped up.
Strang said his communications team is looking at launching some social marketing strategies that had to be put on hold because of past vaccine shortages.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Ontario British Columbia

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