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Second wave of H1N1 takes hold in Manitoba

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WINNIPEG - The second wave of H1N1 influenza has taken hold in Manitoba, with an additional 225 lab-confirmed cases in the province over the last week, health officials said Thursday.

That brings to 291 the number of confirmed H1N1 cases in Manitoba since Oct. 6. The number of "lab-confirmed cases" does not reflect the actual number of people who have or have had the illness, officials noted.

Nine individuals were hospitalized in intensive care units with severe respiratory illnesses as of Wednesday, five of them on ventilators. Two have been confirmed to have the H1N1 flu. The individuals who are in intensive care have the same risk factors that caused severe illness in the spring during the first wave of the pandemic flu, officials said.

The H1N1 vaccine was made available to all school aged children in Manitoba today for the first time, but there were few big lineups reported at the city’s 12 clinics early in the day. That was expected to change once school let out this afternoon.

The province announced today that Manitoba will follow new federal vaccine dosage recommendations for children. According to the recommendations:

  • Children between six months of age and under three years of age should receive two half-doses of adjuvanted H1N1 flu vaccine at least 21 days a part.
  • Children with chronic health conditions who are between three and nine years old should receive their first half dose of H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible. They should also receive a second half dose of the vaccine after 21 days or more.
  • Healthy children between three and nine years of age should only receive a single half dose of H1N1 vaccine and do not need to return for a second vaccination — at least for now. This recommendation may be updated as more information becomes available, health officials said.

The province has received 36,500 doses of vaccine with adjuvant this week. This vaccine has been distributed to the regional health authorities (RHAs).  A further 39,900 doses of Canadian-made vaccine without an adjuvant -- for pregnant women -- will be shipped to RHAs today. Once that vaccine is licensed, the province will review information from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on how it can be used to provide further direction to regional health authorities.

Manitoba has been advised that it will receive 43,500 does of adjuvanted vaccine next week.

At the end of the day Tuesday, nearly 200,000 shots had been given to Manitobans.

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