Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Clinics running low on one vaccine type

Admissions to ICUs down this past week

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Winnipeg flu clinics are expected to run out of vaccine containing an adjuvant to boost its effect early today. However, vaccine without adjuvant will still be available for pregnant women and anyone aged 10 to 64 without a compromised immune system.

The province should receive more vaccine with adjuvant early next week.

Manitoba reported its second H1N1 death of the season on Thursday -- and another large increase in confirmed cases of the virus -- but there was also some good news.

The province released no information about the person who died, other than to say he or she was between 18 and 65 years old and had no known underlying health conditions.

It also said the number of lab-confirmed cases Nov. 10 to 16 had risen by 251, raising the total since Oct. 6 to 543. However, on the bright side, only five patients suspected or confirmed to have H1N1 were admitted to provincial intensive care units in the past week compared with 11 the week before. And as of Thursday, there were only seven H1N1 patients altogether in ICUs.

Health Minister Theresa Oswald Thursday referred to the number of ICU patients as one of the most significant indicators -- more important than the number of confirmed cases.

Dr. Joel Kettner, Manitoba's chief public health officer, said while it's too early to detect a trend from the past week's decline in ICU patients, at least the situation is not getting worse.

"It is an indication that at least compared to the previous week we don't have rising rates (of Manitobans becoming extremely ill from H1N1)," he told reporters Thursday.

In another development Thursday, the province announced manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline had asked provinces to temporarily discontinue vaccinating Canadians from a specific batch of vaccine shipped in October.

The reason is that there has been a higher ratio of severe adverse reactions to the vaccine among Canadians than from other lots.

However, most of the vaccine Manitoba received from the suspect shipment had already been used by the time the province received the alert on Wednesday. Of the 63,000 doses shipped, only 630 remained unused by the four regional health authorities in Manitoba that received them, including Winnipeg's.

Kettner said the suspect lot produced serious and immediate anaphylactic reactions in 1 out of 20,000 vaccinations, compared with 1 out of 100,000 in other shipments.

As of Nov. 16, there have been 88 adverse reactions in Manitoba to H1N1 vaccine, of which seven were considered serious. Five of those have been confirmed as anaphylactic reactions.

Kettner said no one in Manitoba has suffered any prolonged adverse effects from the H1N1 vaccine.

Meanwhile, the city's 12 mass H1N1 immunization clinics reported a bump up in numbers Wednesday and Thursday, the first days they were open to all Winnipeggers, according to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

About 10,000 were immunized Wednesday and 10,500 Thursday, compared to 7,000 to 8,000 in the days leading up to the removal of restrictions on who could be immunized.

Most Winnipeggers interviewed at clinics at Grant Park, St. Mary's Road and in St. James late Thursday morning said it took an hour or less from the time they arrived to the time they left.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

 

Information released

on nine who have died

The province provided specific information for the first time Thursday on the nine Manitobans who have died from H1N1 so far this year. Here are some of the facts:

"ö Two of the nine people were from Winnipeg, with the other seven from regional health authorities outside of the city, including Burntwood/Churchill (2), Central (2), Interlake (1) and NorMan (1).

"ö None of the nine people who died was a senior. Eight were 18-64 years old and one was under 18.

"ö Five were female and four were male.

"ö Three of the nine who died had no underlying risk factors, which include having a chronic disease or an immune disorder, being an alcoholic or having a substance abuse, obesity or being pregnant. One person had one of these underlying conditions, one had two such conditions and four had three or more underlying conditions.

"ö Four of the people who died were aboriginal, while three were Caucasian. The ethnicity of one was unknown, while one was listed as "other."

 

Breakdown of H1N1

cases across province

 

Manitoba also provided statistical breakdowns on lab-confirmed cases of H1N1 for both the first (pre-Oct. 6) and second (since Oct. 6) waves of the illness in Manitoba.

"ö A smaller proportion of confirmed H1N1 cases are occurring in the north during the current wave than in the first wave.

-- Since Oct. 6, 274 of 543 confirmed cases have come from Winnipeg, with the next highest total from the Central regional health authority at 78. There were 50 cases in South Eastman, 38 in Assiniboine, 34 in Interlake, 21 in Brandon, 20 in North Eastman, 16 in Burntwood/Churchill and six in each of the Parkland and Nor Man RHAs.

"ö In the first wave, 399 of the 892 confirmed cases were reported by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, while 189 were reported in Burntwood/Churchill, 58 in Nor-Man, 56 in North Eastman, 54 in Interlake, 47 in Brandon, 29 in Assiniboine, 27 in Central, 17 in South Eastman and 16 in Parkland regional health authority.

"ö In the current wave, 48 per cent of confirmed cases have been people under 18 years old, while 50 per cent have been 18-64 years old and two per cent have been 65 or older. In the first wave, 53 per cent were under 18, 45 per cent were 18-64 and two per cent were 65-plus.

"ö Men have made up 46 per cent of confirmed cases in the second wave, while women have made up 54 per cent. In the first wave, men made up 48 per cent of the cases to 52 per cent for women.

 

Police issue warning

about fake vaccines

 

VANCOUVER -- Steer clear of counterfeit H1N1 vaccine and look out for fake Tamiflu, say RCMP.

The Mounties cautioned consumers Thursday about online ads offering H1N1 treatments and other cheap drugs, saying the products are most likely phoney and could be dangerous to your health.

And they warned it's illegal to import prescription drugs into Canada and to distribute fake ones.

RCMP say counterfeit H1N1 vaccine and Tamiflu, which is used to treat the pandemic virus, are reportedly being sold on the Internet as concerns about catching the potentially deadly virus spreads worldwide.

 

Vancouver Canucks

jumped flu shot queue

 

VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s provincial health officer says the Vancouver Canucks definitely jumped the queue when the players and the team's support staff were given the H1N1 vaccine earlier this week.

"They were out of sequence," Dr. Perry Kendall said in a phone interview Wednesday.

But Canuck general manager Mike Gillis says the team did not act until after federal health officials announced on Friday doses of the H1N1 vaccine were now approved for general use and no longer limited to specific groups.

Most of the players, coaching staff and some support staff members received the vaccine on Sunday and Monday of this week. Kendall said they should not have because they don't meet the existing criteria.

 

-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2009 A7

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