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article imageNova Scotia set to begin swine flu immunization

By Kevin Jess     Oct 21, 2009 in Health
Nova Scotia is ready to begin what the province's chief public health officer calls its biggest immunization campaign ever.
Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief public health officer, says the federal government's authorization for H1N1 vaccine means the government of Canada is satisfied the vaccine is safe and effective, says a Nova Scotia government press release.
Dr. Strang said, “I have every confidence that the H1N1 vaccine is safe and effective for Nova Scotians. I urge all Nova Scotians to get the H1N1 vaccine. It is the best way to protect yourself and your community.”
H1N1 immunization is being made available to all Nova Scotians at no charge and will be available through community clinics, some doctor offices and workplace clinics within the next two weeks.
“Every Nova Scotian who wants the H1N1 vaccine will be able to receive it. Our priority is to ensure that all Nova Scotians have the opportunity to receive the vaccine in a timely manner,” Dr. Strang said in the release.
Nova Scotia has ordered 1.4 million doses of the vaccine in total, with the first shipment of 52,000 doses arriving Oct. 19. The total cost of the vaccine is expected to be about $4.5 million.
Health authorities across the province are now organizing immunization clinics but doctors will also have the option of offering the vaccine in their offices.
Nova Scotians should check with their local health care providers for places and times of clinics available in their area.
Those people who are in high-risk groups for seasonal flu will be able to be immunized for both types of flu at the same time.
Dr. Strang said, “In the weeks past, we were recommending that only people above the age of 65 and those in long-term care facilities get the seasonal flu vaccine. Our decision was based on the best information we had available to us at that time. New data indicates that we can offer the vaccines concurrently. In an effort to make it easier for Nova Scotians, both the H1N1 vaccine and seasonal flu vaccine will be offered at the mass immunization clinics.”
Although there has been only one death in the province associated with the virus, there have been 17 reported cases since August 29.
Dr. Strang urges Nova Scotians to make every effort to minimize the spread of the virus by staying home if flu-like symptoms present themselves.
If the symptoms are enough to cause concern, patients are advised to call Healthlink 811, and if symptoms worsen to then see a doctor or go to a walk-in clinic.
More about Nova Scotia, Swine, Flu, Immunization
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