With about 50,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine “expected to last three or four days” still in the fridge and more doses expected to arrive this week, Ottawa’s associate medical officer of health anticipates Ottawa “will be able to run our clinics this week.”
“Although we know there will be enough vaccines for every Canadian that wants it, we received news from the federal government that vaccine supply will be temporarily limited in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Vera Etches.
“We’re told this is a temporary period of maybe one to two weeks when we’re going to be delivered less supply than initially anticipated,” said Etches, who added that the shortage is due to the manufacturing process.
Because of the shortage, “we strongly remind anyone who is not on a priority list that they should not be seeking a vaccine at this time.”
Since vaccination clinics kicked off a week ago, Ottawa Public Health has distributed more than 80,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine — the same number of vaccines they usually do during an entire influenza season.
The number of doses expected later this week is still unknown.
“At this point, we’re taking all that the province can send us,” Etches said.
Since Sept. 1, there have been 172 lab-confirmed cases in Ottawa and 96 of 348 local schools have reported absentee rates greater than 10 per cent.
While most cases in Ottawa are mild, family physicians and hospitals have seen increased volumes of patients, and hospitals have sectioned off an area of their emergency departments for flu patients, said Thomas Hayes, chairman of the emergency preparedness committee at the Ottawa Hospital.