The H1N1 adjuvanted vaccine has arrived at the Northwestern Health Unit and immunization clinics began in the district today, Dr. Jim Arthurs, the acting medical officer of health for the health unit, said this morning.
Immunization clinics started this morning in Rainy River, as well as for health unit staff.
The first H1N1 vaccinations will be administered in Fort Frances tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m., with clinics in Emo starting Thursday morning.
The clinics, primary being offered by appointment at the health unit offices, will run through to the second week of November.
“We want to make sure it is done as quickly as possible,” Dr. Arthurs stressed, adding he hopes the district will stay ahead of the game and avoid an H1N1 outbreak altogether.
He also indicated a previous study which suggested people wait several weeks to get the seasonal ’flu vaccine after receiving the H1N1 one has turned out not to be valid.
“In fact, it is safe to give them both at the same time,” Dr. Arthurs said.
“They’ll just have to have one in one arm and one in the other.”
And he recommends everyone get immunized as soon as possible.
“It is absolutely safe,” he reiterated, though adding nothing is 100 percent because people will have allergies and whatnot.
“But the studies done have not been hurried and it has been declared safe across North America.”
Dr. Arthurs clarified the unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccination, which would be best for pregnant women and young children, will be available sometime next week.
However, if an outbreak were to occur, the adjuvanted vaccine still would be safe for them to take.
“We still have to be cautious about supply and demand,” he said, explaining the health unit has not received its full supply of vaccinations, but will get a new shipment each week.
“Therefore, we want to make sure those in the priority group who want the vaccine are able to get them,” he added.
Those in the priority group include those under age 65 with chronic conditions, pregnant women, healthy children aged six months to under five years of age, people living in remote or isolated communities, health-care workers, and household contacts and care providers of persons at high risk who cannot be immunized or who may not respond to vaccines.
For more information, contact your local health unit or the ’flu clinic hotline at 1-866-468-2240.
Information also is available at www.nwhu.on.ca