H1N1 Vaccine to be Limited to Risk Groups Next Week

first_img Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after a sneeze or cough. When soap and water are not handy, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an acceptable alternative. Cough and sneeze into elbow or sleeve. If using tissues, dispose of them appropriately and wash hands. Limit touching eyes, nose and mouth. Do not share drinking glasses, water bottles, mouth guards, cosmetics or eating utensils. Those with flu-like symptoms who are younger than five, pregnant, or younger than 65 with a chronic medical condition for which they receive regular medical care, should go to a family physician’s office, walk-in clinic or flu assessment centre. People with severe flu-like symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, severe vomiting, high fever for more than three days, and confusion, should call 911 or go immediately to the local emergency room. People with flu-like symptoms who are otherwise healthy should stay home until they are feeling well. If their condition worsens, they should seek medical care. Because of national vaccine supply issues, Nova Scotia is changing its immunization strategy. Starting Monday, Nov. 2, H1N1 vaccine will be limited to those most at risk from the virus. These are: Pregnant women Children younger than five (from six months to 59 months) People living in First Nations communities Health-care workers in district health authorities, long-term care facilities and home-care agencies who provide direct care to patients. This includes family physicians, family practice nurses, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.center_img People who do not belong to one of these groups will not receive vaccine at this time. The province will re-assess its vaccine supply on an ongoing basis, and will offer immunization later to other groups, based on risk, as vaccine supply allows. “Today, because of the changing supply of vaccine, we’re adjusting our strategy to protect the most vulnerable Nova Scotians first,” said Dr. Robert Strang, the province’s chief public health officer. “I know people are concerned and have questions. I ask for Nova Scotians’ patience, calm and understanding as we work through these challenges.” Physicians’ offices will not receive H1N1 vaccine until further notice. Physicians who have received vaccine will be asked to only immunize people in the groups listed. Workplace immunization clinics for H1N1 will be postponed until further notice. Nova Scotians should watch for advertisements in their community, or visit www.gov.ns.ca/h1n1, for the most up-to-date information on community immunization clinics. As of today, Oct. 30, Nova Scotia has received 160,000 doses of adjuvanted H1N1 vaccine. The province expects to receive 12,500 doses of adjuvanted vaccine and 5,400 of unadjuvanted next week, significantly less than expected. Vaccine is being delivered to the provinces and territories weekly by the Public Health Agency of Canada, after each batch is quality tested. The supply each province receives is based on population. Dr. Strang said those not immunized right away should still take precautions to avoid illness:last_img