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H1N1 Pandemic

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H1N1 PANDEMIC

What's happening across Canada

"ö Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews said residents eligible for the H1N1 shot are experiencing shorter lineups. The number of clinics across Ontario has doubled from 50 to 100, and Matthews said she hopes up to 2.2 million people can be immunized by week's end.

 

"ö In Alberta, Health Minister Ron Liepert was called to an emergency meeting with Premier Ed Stelmach and the province's chief health officer. Liepert has been the target of fierce criticism after Alberta was forced to suspend its immunization clinics over the weekend due to a shortage of vaccine.

 

"ö Clinics continued to operate in Nova Scotia, but Health Minister Maureen MacDonald said there are not enough doses to immunize everyone who needs them. The province has already administered half the doses it received from national suppliers and is only expecting 12,500 this week, MacDonald said.

 

"ö Canada's MPs held an emergency debate Monday night about H1N1 flu in the House of Commons. Permission for the unusual measure was granted by House Speaker Peter Milliken after pressure from opposition Liberals and New Democrats, who accuse the Conservative government of botching Canada's national immunization program. They cite a significant shortage of vaccine, long lineups at crowded clinics and confusion about the overall strategy.

 

"ö Yukon officials say a young girl has become the first resident of the territory to die of H1N1 flu. Medical health officer Dr. Brendan Hanley said the school-aged girl died Sunday in a Vancouver hospital. She was first treated in Whitehorse when she fell ill earlier in the week.

 

"ö About 900 mourners crowded into a Toronto church Monday for the funeral of a teen whose name has become inextricably linked with the national H1N1 flu outbreak. Evan Frustaglio was an otherwise healthy 13-year-old who died of the virus Oct. 26 after falling ill at a hockey tournament. His sudden death galvanized public concern about the virus and caused a spike in demand for the vaccine.

 

What's happening around the world

United States

U.S. officials said there would be 40 million flu vaccine doses available by the end of October, but as of Oct. 28, fewer than 17 million vaccine doses had been shipped. The Centers for Disease Control's priority list for vaccinations includes people between six months and 24 years old, pregnant women, front-line health workers and people with chronic health conditions. The CDC estimates more than 5.7 million Americans have been infected so far with H1N1 flu, with at least 1,300 deaths. Of those, 114 were children.

 

Great Britain

The British department of health last week noted a sharp uptick in cases of H1N1. Britain's vaccination program has not yet started.

The British government has listed people with heart disease, cancer, asthma and diabetes, pregnant women and front-line health staff as their priorities for vaccination. They are not recommending the vaccine for children under five years old.

 

Europe

"ö Officials in Ukraine closed schools across the country to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu and urged nightclubs, cinemas and food markets in parts of the country to follow suit.

"ö By Oct. 28, an estimated one million people had been vaccinated already in Sweden, where the vaccination program began Oct. 12.

"ö In Germany, vaccinations began Oct. 26. They were offered first to emergency workers, including police and firefighters and medical staff.

"ö Russia recorded its first H1N1 deaths last week, with plans to begin vaccinations this month.

"ö Italy began inoculating doctors and nurses in mid-October. A wider vaccination program for priority groups will begin Nov. 15. The country has thus far had one of the highest infection rates in Europe.

 

China

China was the first country to begin vaccinating and had inoculated an estimated 3.8 million people as of Oct. 31. More than 100 million doses are expected in China by January. The program is vaccinating army personnel, police, medical staff, teachers, students, public servants and patients with chronic lung or heart disease. The government says it will not be possible to vaccinate everyone in China because of vaccine-production capacity.

China has reported a total of seven deaths since Oct. 2.

 

-- From the news services

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2009 A3

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