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article imageSwine Flu Vaccinations for the Canadian Population

By Andrew Moran     Jun 23, 2009 in Health
Mass vaccinations are needed, according to health experts, and the wheels are in motion by the Public Health Agency of Canada to immunize the Canadian population.
The entire Canadian population under 40 years old, as well as First Nations people, are being told to get vaccinated against H1N1 (Swine Flu).
The official plan is to have people between the ages of five and 40 and Aboriginal communities vaccinated against the Swine Flu under the pandemic plan, which would make the majority of the Canadian population immunized.
Although it will be a slow process that could take approximately four to five months, the Public Health Agency of Canada is working on a priority list judging when and where regions should be the first to be vaccinated against the recent pandemic flu established by the World Health Organization.
Canadian health officials say those ages between five and twenty-four should be the first due to the fact that majority of confirmed cases has been for that age group. Earl Brown, executive director of the Emerging Pathogens Research Center at the University of Ottawa, said to the Windsor Star, “Children tend to be hit, and they can be hit harder. By immunizing children first, you get to try to block spread, and protect a vulnerable group."
The elderly are believed to be the ones affected through their grandchildren, so that is why people over the age of 40 would not be required to receive a Swine Flu vaccination.
The process would begin in gymnasiums in elementary and secondary institutions for children however, Dr. Noni MacDonald, a leader in pediatric infectious diseases and a professor of pediatrics Dalhousie University of Halifax, believes the hardest to reach are the eighteen to thirty year olds because, “Some of them are in school, [and] a lot of them are not. They're very much living in the moment and don't necessarily see themselves as being at risk. We need some fast thinking about how to reach those people.” The doctor further added that outside bars for information and immunization would be considered.
Others who will not be vaccinated are babies under six months of age.
The WHO is developing the H1N1 vaccine and will not be completed until autumn but it will be available to Canada by the end of the year. “How can a pandemic strategy succeed, given the speed and accessibility of global travel, unless we vaccinate people in all regions of the world?” Dr. Macdonald questioned and she further added, “It would be in Canada’s “enlightened self-interest” to set aside one-tenth of its vaccine supply for poorer nations.”
The Swine Flu Influenza began in April of 2009 and according to a WHO June update, “seventy-six countries have officially reported 39,620 cases of influenza including 167 deaths.”
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