Ottawa Public Health has opened its H1N1 vaccination clinics to the general public.
The city currently has 60,000 doses in the fridge and was expecting another 20,000 doses as early as Wednesday night, associate medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said Wednesday. Another delivery of about 30,000 doses is expected at the end of this week, she said.
“We’re in a situation now where we’re more confident in the ongoing supply of the vaccine,” said Etches. “It’s sufficient for us to open up the priority group.”
"After more than three weeks of concentrating on priority populations, we now have the supply and the capacity to begin offering vaccine to the general public," said medical officer of health Dr. Isra Levy. "The H1N1 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against the flu this year and I encourage all residents to get vaccinated.”
Then decision to make the vaccine available to the general population over six months of age was at the direction of the provincial government.
While the city has distributed 190,000 doses of vaccine to Ottawa residents – or 20 per cent of the population – OPH is hopeful the city will surpass the 40 per cent mark.
Both the adjuvanted and the unadjuvanted vaccine will be available at the clinics. The limited supply of unadjuvanted vaccine will be primarily offered to pregnant women and healthy people between age 10 and 64 years of age.
The wristband system continues to be used to reduce wait times.
Public health is looking into opening more clinics.
While the regular clinics run seven days a week, plans are underway to open a one-day clinic at the Cyrville Community Centre this Saturday, as well as another vaccination clinic site in Barrhaven and at the Ottawa Hospital. Clinic locations, schedules and wait times are available at ottawa.ca/health.
Etches said Ottawa Public Health is confident the vaccines won’t run out, resulting in a temporary suspension of clinics like last week.
“In some ways, we would be pleased to see the demand, but we’re confident the supply is more secure and we don’t anticipate running out,” she said.