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As H1N1 clinic wind down, officials look ahead

As H1N1 clinics come to an end, health officials hope they’ve vaccinated enough people to prevent a third wave.

As H1N1 clinics come to an end, health officials hope they’ve vaccinated enough people to prevent a third wave.


Open clinics, a key part to the largest vaccination program in the province’s history, came to an end in the Halifax Regional Municipality yesterday. As of Monday, 62,272 people had been vaccinated at Capital Health clinics. But that’s only a fraction of the overall number.


Counting the shots given out by physicians, hospitals and other outlets there have been 285,342 H1N1 shots distributed. That’s enough for 71 per cent of the population in HRM.


Officials were hoping for 70 to 75 per cent to ward off a third wave of H1N1, but they said yesterday it’s too soon to tell if that will happen.


“We may still have a ways to go before we get to that point where we can be confident about a third wave, which is why we’re still urging people to get immunized,” said Gaynor Watson-Creed, district medical officer for Capital Health.


Shots can still be received at doctors’ offices and walk-in clinics. The amount of actual vaccine used by doctors won’t be known until Capital Health collects all the data, but Watson-Creed said she expects it to be close to the amount given out.


“We are hearing anecdotally from family doctors that we’re using up what we send them,” she said. “So it sounds like the majority of the vaccine is getting used up.”


She said the number of patients at H1N1 clinics has shrank in recent days, from a peak of almost 3,500 people per day to a recent average of 2,000 people per day, adding family doctors could handle that traffic.


In total there were 130 clinics held between Oct. 29 and Dec. 15.

 
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