H1N1 vaccine rollout continues

October 29, 2009

Priority is to immunize high risk groups first

Edmonton… In the first three days of Alberta’s pandemic H1N1 2009 influenza immunization campaign, the vaccine has been administered to well over 150,000 people provincewide. This exceeds the start of any other immunization program in Alberta history.Alberta Health and Wellness and Alberta Health Services are working to address the challenges of delivering a public health initiative of this scale – the largest of its kind ever seen in the province or in Canada.

Immunization wait times continue to be a concern. Albertans who are not among those at greatest risk for severe illness related to H1N1 influenza are reminded to delay their immunization to ensure those with the greatest need are protected.

As announced by public health officials on October 22, in order to make the best use of the vaccine supply on hand in the province, Alberta aims to protect those most at risk for severe illness due to H1N1 influenza first. The following groups are encouraged to be immunized as soon as possible:

• pregnant women;
• children six months to less than five years of age;
• people under 65 with chronic health conditions;
• people living in remote and isolated settings or communities;
• health care workers involved in pandemic response or the delivery of essential health care services; and
• household contacts and care providers of people at high risk but who cannot be immunized or may not respond to vaccines.

There are constraints to how quickly the campaign can proceed, including vaccine supply. Alberta and other provinces are receiving regular shipments from the manufacturer. Alberta will have received roughly 600,000 doses of vaccine by October 30. Starting the week of November 2, deliveries of adjuvanted vaccine to provinces will slow down while the vaccine manufacturer temporarily shifts its focus to producing enough non-adjuvanted vaccine to meet Canadian demand. Non-adjuvanted vaccine is provided to accommodate personal choice for pregnant women.

For more information on H1N1, visit www.health.alberta.ca


Media inquiries may be directed to:

John Tuckwell (north of Red Deer)
Alberta Health and Wellness

Howard May (Red Deer and South)
Alberta Health and Wellness

Don Stewart
Alberta Health Services

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