With the second wave of H1N1 upon us, the most effective protection Canadians have will be the widespread dispensing of the vaccine, the Canada research chair in public health policy at the University of Ottawa said yesterday.
An associate professor in the faculty of medicine, Dr. Kumanan Wilson was one of seven experts making up a panel for a discussion on H1N1 influenza at uOttawa Thursday.
Although the vaccine is crucial, “I worry that people won’t be keen to receive it,” said Wilson, who fears challenges in vaccinating health-care workers and school-aged children — the latter being a key population as far as the virus is concerned — if their parents don’t want to have them vaccinated.
“The next wave is already here,” said Dr. Paul Hébert, a critical care physician at the Ottawa Hospital and a senior scientist at the Ottawa Health Research Institute.
Most of the epidemic has been relatively mild but for the odd very few, it affects them very severely, Hébert said.
The next wave raises the question of whether there is enough ventilators, to handle the virus.
“This is not a public health emergency, but is likely to become an ICU problem,” Hébert said.
The federal and provincial governments need to work together on this issue, said Amir Attaran, an associate professor at the University of Ottawa.