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Vaccination eligibility expanded

All children and teens, seniors with chronic health conditions, firstresponders, and health-care workers are now eligible to be vaccinatedagainst the H1N1 flu in British Columbia.

All children and teens, seniors with chronic health conditions, first responders, and health-care workers are now eligible to be vaccinated against the H1N1 flu in British Columbia.

The Ministry of Health expanded eligibility today to include the four new groups with the arrival of 258,000 doses of the vaccine. High-risk patients, like pregnant women and aboriginal people, are still eligible.

“The number of people in these new eligible groups is significantly greater than the amount of vaccine we currently have in B.C., so not everyone will be able to get immunized next week,” said provincial health officer Dr. Perry Kendall.

The vaccination program has been marred by shortages that kept patients in long lines outside clinics while others were turned away.

But Kendall said the vaccine is expected to go further now, thanks to new recommendations that children only need the shot once, and expanded use of the unajuvanted vaccine to healthy people between 10 and 64.