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Clinics overwhelmed by Winnipeggers seeking H1N1 flu shot

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WINNIPEG - Flu immunization clinics are open in Winnipeg tonight, but so many people are waiting to receive the H1N1 flu shot that officials hope no more people show up at them today. 

All 12 clinics are operating at capacity, WRHA spokeswoman Heidi Graham said late Wednesday afternoon, and lthough the clinics would remain open until 8 p.m., as scheduled, the WRHA is encouraging people to return Thursday rather than going tonight.

More information on Winnipeg immunization clinics is available on the WHRA's website.

Manitoba is seeing an "unprecedented" uptake of the swine flu vaccine, with the immunization of almost 40,000 people across the province in 48 hours, health officials said Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, some 38,400 people across the province had been immunized against the virus - a rate not seen with any other vaccination program.

Gerry Delorme, with Manitoba Health and Healthy Living, called the number of vaccinations "incredible," adding it shows mass immunization clinics are working.

"You are seeing some unprecedented uptake in vaccination," he said. "It's not about logistics. It's not about cost. It's about getting this vaccine into as many Manitobans as possible, as quickly as possible so we can mitigate the outcomes of a second wave."

Joel Kettner, chief public health officer, said the province is already at the beginning of that second wave of the H1N1 pandemic. The province has 19 new cases of H1N1, bringing the total number of lab-confirmed cases to 32.

"I fully expect that we will have hospitalized cases, ICU cases and deaths in wave two," Kettner said, adding the cases so far have not been overly serious.

Manitoba has received 134,000 doses of the vaccine, with two more shipments of 72,000 doses coming later this week and next.

With files from The Canadian Press

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