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H1N1 Immunization Plan Released

Sun Country Health Region announces its plan to immunize residents against the H1N1 influenza virus over the next few weeks.

Janice Giroux, Vice President Community Health for Sun Country Health Region, says all the immunization plans are subject to change – depending on the availability of vaccine that arrives from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health.

“Sun Country Health Region will follow the Ministry of Health directives and guidelines for allocation of the H1N1 vaccine.”

H1N1 vaccine was authorized by Health Canada on October 21, 2009. It is coming to all provinces in small shipments at this time, as it becomes available from the vaccine manufacturer.

“The Public Health Agency of Canada tells us that delivery of H1N1 vaccine to the provinces will slow a bit over the next couple of weeks because the manufacturer was asked to make special batches of the product for pregnant women,” said Mrs. Giroux.

Sufficient vaccine will be available to immunize everyone in Sun Country Health Region over six months of age who needs and wants the vaccine but delivery of the vaccine will be based on priority/risk groups and will not be available immediately to everyone at this time.

“The Public Health Agency continues to assure us that sufficient vaccine will be available for everyone in Canada who wants to be immunized,” says Mrs. Giroux.

The required consent form for H1N1 immunization is attached below.

As directed by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, the week of October 26 was set aside to immunize health care workers first, so they will remain well and capable of caring for members of the public.

SCHR Immunization Plans for the Week of November 2 to November 6

 1. During the week of November 2 to November 6, we will immunize:

  • · Children aged 6 months up to 5 years of age (not including children who have had their 5th birthday).
  • · Pregnant women in their 20th week of pregnancy, and later.
  • · Pregnant women less than 20 weeks gestation who have high risk health conditions (for example - obesity, asthma, heart and lung diseases, diabetes, and compromised immune systems, etc.).
  • · Post partum women who have delivered within the past four weeks.

Sun Country Health Region will also continue to immunize health care workers next week.

The clinics will be advertised throughout the Region in newspapers and on posters in local communities. (Please look under H1N1 update on this page for clinic times and locations).

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health is advising that healthy women (with no high risk medical conditions) who are less than 20 weeks into their pregnancy wait until November 9, when supplies of vaccine without adjuvant are expected to be available.

Sun Country Health Region encourages all residents to be immunized against the H1N1 influenza virus.

Dr. Shauna Hudson, Medical Health Officer for Sun Country Health Region, says the purpose of the immunization is to help lesson the impact of influenza on individuals, their families, friends and communities.

“Immunization is one of the most effective ways to reduce the impact of the disease,” she says. Hand hygiene, cough etiquette and staying home when you are ill with influenza-like illness is also important.

She adds that careful research into the safety of any vaccine is done prior to its widespread use in Canada.  “There are a lot of myths circulating about this vaccine but people need to remember that the risks of serious side effects from the flu are far greater than the risk of experiencing an adverse event after receiving the flu shot.”

For more information, see the Vaccine Myths document by the Public Health Agency of Canada - http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/alert-alerte/h1n1/vacc/myth-mythe-eng.php.

“The requirements for vaccines approved for sale in Canada are stringent. Every vaccine lot is safety-tested by the manufacturer and by the Biologics and Genetics Therapies Directorate at Health Canada,” she says.

Please note: The previously scheduled immunization clinics for SEASONAL influenza vaccine will be suspended when the mass H1N1 vaccine clinics begin later in November.

More information is available about H1N1, the vaccine, and vaccine myths from www.suncountry.sk.ca , the Ministry of Health at http://www.health.gov.sk.ca, and the Public Health Agency of Canada at  http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/index-eng.php .

People with mild influenza-like symptoms should stay home and call Healthline at 1-877-800-0002 or go online to www.healthlineonline.com/.  Please do not visit the emergency department of the local health centre if you have mild symptoms unless you are pregnant or have a serious chronic condition.

Released October 30.  

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