The H1N1 virus has claimed a second victim in Nova Scotia.
The province’s chief medical officer, Dr. Robert Strang, confirmed yesterday that a woman in her 50s died Friday after being hospitalized in an intensive care unit for several days.
Strang said the woman lived in the Guysborough-Antigonish-Strait health district, but would not release any further details about her identity.
“She had underlying chronic conditions which were exacerbated by H1N1, and that unfortunately led to her death,” Strang said. “I have said many times that H1N1 and seasonal influenza are serious diseases and unfortunately, we expect to see more deaths from H1N1 as this pandemic plays out.”
Annette Sampson of Richmond County was the first Nova Scotian casualty of the virus back in July. While Sampson was also in her 50s, Strang maintained that the province’s decision to so far vaccinate only young children, pregnant women, health care workers and First Nations was the right call.
“We have to look at the epidemiology across the country,” he explained. “We could actually make the wrong decisions based on one or two cases.”
Strang acknowledged that people under 65 with chronic health conditions are considered a high-risk group, but said that the sheer number of Nova Scotians falling into that category meant it was impossible to make the shot available to them over the past two weeks.
“If we had more vaccine, then absolutely we’d open it up to those adults,” he said. “They’re among the next groups that we want to get in to be immunized.”
Strang said his team would meet to determine when the vaccine set to arrive this week will go out to clinics across the province, and when more groups can be added to the list of those eligible for the shot.