More than a week since the city’s mass vaccination clinics reopened, Ottawa Public Health is continuing to see “very brisk interest” in the H1N1 vaccine, the city’s medical officer of health said Wednesday.
Dr. Isra Levy estimates that so far, the city has given 280,000 to 290,000 doses of vaccine, meaning that one in three people in Ottawa “already or will very shortly receive their vaccination.
“We’re pleased with that,” said Levy. “We do expect that our original target of 40 per cent of the residents of Ottawa to have been vaccinated for pandemic influenza before the end of November will be obtained.
“Those who have not been vaccinated should avail yourselves of the opportunity to get vaccinated because it’s a very good and specific protection against a disease that is still present in our community,” he said.
While Levy said the city is seeing indicators of influenza activity in the community go down – “we have far, far fewer schools reporting absenteeism rates and emergency room in terms of volume have returned to normal,” he said – the disease is still present.
Earlier this week, Ottawa Public Health announced that a sixth person has died as a result of flu-related complications. The woman had underlying health conditions.
In addition to the city’s permanent clinics and roving clinics, the city has also had more family physicians register to administer the vaccine.
The city is now supplying vaccines to close to 300 family physicians, Levy said.
Levy said the vaccine will serve to protect people further as the holiday season approaches.
“People who are well can going about their daily business and people who are ill are asked to continue to stay away from large crowds,” he said.