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Flu season may be over before adequate vaccine supply arrives

It could be well after flu season has passed before everyone in NovaScotia will be able to receive an H1N1 vaccination, Nova Scotia'shealth minister said Tuesday.<br />

It could be well after flu season has passed before everyone in Nova Scotia will be able to receive an H1N1 vaccination, Nova Scotia's health minister said Tuesday.

Maureen MacDonald said based on a steady supply of 50,000 doses a week, it could be February before all of the province's 900,000 residents can get the shot.

“We still have a ways to go,” she told reporters. “This program will continue all of this month and well into December and possibly beyond.”

MacDonald said she hoped to resume deliveries of 50,000 doses of adjuvanted vaccine in the coming weeks, but had no guarantee from the federal government or the manufacturer of when that might happen.

The time to roll out the vaccine far exceeds the six to nine weeks the provincial government initially expected it would take to complete the immunization program.

Officials in Nova Scotia have administered about 140,000 doses so far in the province, representing only about 15 per cent of the population.

Robert Strang, the province's chief public health officer, said the slowdown in the production of the vaccine means they've received only 207,400 doses - a fraction of what they expected.

“Several weeks ago, we were expecting by this time to have received between 350,000 to 450,000 doses,” Strang said. “So we certainly have quite a gap.”

Strang conceded that it could be well after the H1N1 flu pandemic has eased that all people are able to get their shot, depending on the supply of the vaccine.

But he said it's possible there will be a third wave of the flu.

 
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