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Fewer Winnipeggers line up for flu shots this weekend

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WINNIPEG — Winnipeggers weren’t exactly lining up for the H1N1 flu vaccine Saturday.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority reports that only 837 people were vaccinated at the two clinics open this Saturday, one at the University of Manitoba, the other at the Holy Eucharist Parish Hall on Munroe Avenue.

That's compared to more than 2,400 who were vaccinated last Saturday at two open clinics - again at the U of M, with the other at the Philippine Centre on Keewatin.  About 10,000 people per day were immunized at a dozen city clinics open on the the last few weekdays, the first days the flu shots were available to all Winnipeggers. 

WRHA spokeswoman Heidi Graham said turnout on Saturday was low, noted some families may be waiting until the provinces receives a large shipment of adjuvanted doses early next week.

The province ran out of the adjuvanted vaccine this week, and was only offering the non-adjuvanted form this weekend.

The unadjuvanted vaccine is approved for pregnant women and for people between the ages of 10 and 65 who have a healthy immune system.  But it isn't to be used for people over age 65, people with impaired immune systems or children under 10.

An adjuvant is a substance added to a vaccine to improve the immune response. A dose of vaccine with adjuvant uses one-quarter of the amount of antigen (the material that induces an immune response) used in a shot made without such a boosting additive.

The unadjuvanted vaccine is recommended for pregnant women since adjuvanted vaccine has not been tested in this group. It has a similar formula to the seasonal flu vaccine, which has long been recommended for pregnant women.

To date, 170,115 people have been vaccinated in Winnipeg, Graham said.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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