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Feds goal: Everybody vaccinated by Christmas

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WINNIPEG — Canada is still on target to roll out the H1N1 flu vaccine in the first week of November, and Ottawa's goal is to have everyone get their shot by Christmas.

David Butler-Jones, Canada's chief public health officer, said it will take some time for everyone in large Canadian centres to get the H1N1 shot.

"What we're aiming for, what my hope is, is that before Christmas, before we're in the season of sharing, not just good things but viruses as well, that everybody who wishes to be immunized will have the opportunity," he told reporters today at Winnipeg's National Microbiology Laboratory.

Butler-Jones, along with federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and several local Conservative MPs, toured sections of the lab this morning that will be involved in monitoring the H1N1 virus in Canada.

Aglukkaq also announced $2.4 million in federal funding for five Canadian H1N1 research projects, including one headed by the University of Manitoba.

The federal minister also repeatedly encouraged Canadians at a press conference with Butler-Jones to get the H1N1 flu shot when it is available.

"My goal is to have 100 per cent of Canadians (vaccinated)," she said.

"It's available to every Canadian. Other jurisdictions don't have that capacity. We're very fortunate as Canadians to be able to have that choice. So if it is available I would encourage Canadians to get the vaccine."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

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