With another 100,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine expected to arrive in the city this week, Ottawa public health expects to have enough doses to reopen vaccination clinics Wednesday.

 

“I’m pleased to report to you today that Ottawa public health is planning on reopening the clinics on Wednesday with the promise of a more steady supply of vaccine,” said Coun. Diane Deans during a briefing to council Monday.

 

The clinics were suspended here last Thursday after the city ran out of vaccines.

 

“We have asked for at least 100,000 doses to come in throughout the week and we do expect that this request will be met,” she said.

 

In accordance with provincial direction, Ottawa public health is also extending the priority group to include elementary school-aged children and those over 65 years of age with chronic medical conditions, Deans said.

“We are looking towards a sustained and steady supply of sufficient vaccine to be able to do this, as well as keep our alternative delivery agent approach going,” said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Isra Levy.

The vaccines – the next shipment of which is expected to number at least 30,500 adjuvanted doses – were expected to arrive as early as last night or this morning, Levy said.

When clinics resume Wednesday, Levy said he expects things will run more smoothly than when the vaccine first came out.

Although public health is constantly looking for new ways to improve vaccine delivery, there are no plans to deliver pandemic vaccinations in schools, he said.

In the meantime, interest in the vaccine remains strong, he said.

Although public health expected to vaccinate 40 per cent of the population, Levy said he intends on vaccinating “more than that if we can,” and that vaccines may become available to the general population sooner than a few weeks’ time.

“There are good reasons why people should get the vaccine as soon as it’s available,” Levy said. “The current level of community activity seems to be decreasing, but pandemic influenza strain is certainly going to be circulating in our community for the balance of this influenza season and will be back probably next influenza season.”

Although the city may have seen the peak of the virus for this surge, “we will only know that a few weeks from now with any degree of surety,” he said. “We continue to see a lot of busyness within the hospitals and I do expect we will be seeing more severe disease and unfortunately, I expect we will be reporting more deaths.”