Vaccines to be given to immuno-compromised people

Jodi
Jodi Schellenberg
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With flu vaccines coming from other provinces, more people will be able to get their flu shot this season.

Flu clinics in PAPHR will be appointment only due to lack of vaccine.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health has received 12,000 nasal spray doses from Quebec and 9,000 injectable doses from Ontario and the Department of National Defence and will now be able to provide the vaccine to immuno-compromised people.

“They are severely immune-compromised so with the additional vaccine that the ministry has been able to access, they have decided to add those people who are most at risk because of complications,” Prince Albert Parkland Health Region communications officer Doug Dahl said.

Dr. Denise Werker, the deputy chief medical health officer, said during a press conference on Monday it will be on a case-by-case basis and the health regions will have the right to decide who will receive it.

“There's a broad spectrum of persons with underlying medical conditions that we are not able to address at this point with our vaccine supplies," she said.

PAPHR said transplant recipients, dialysis patients and people currently receiving cancer treatment will be able to receive the vaccine in addition to children under five years, women who have given birth in the last four weeks and pregnant women.

The additional doses were to arrive in the region Tuesday morning. 

Although they have received nasal spray doses from Quebec, they cannot be used on pregnant women, children under two or people whose immune systems are already compromised since it is a live attenuated influenza vaccine, Werker said.

“The flu mist is, in fact, the preferred vaccine for children under nine,” Werker said. “There have been studies that demonstrate that the amount of immunity that may be gained from this vaccine is a little bit better than you would get as compared to the inactivated vaccine.”

There have been seven reported flu-related deaths in the province, as well as 32 people in intensive care and 618 lab-confirmed cases and Werker said the numbers have not yet peaked.

"In terms of whether, as a province as a whole, it's going up or down, we know that it's still not stable,” Werker said. “I expect that the numbers on Friday are going to go up in terms of the number of laboratory-confirmed cases and ICU admissions and deaths. What I don't know is whether the slope of the curve is not as steep.”

Since there has been a panic to get the flu shot this January, Werker hopes people think about getting vaccinated in the fall next flu season.

"We are really hoping that next year people will get vaccinated before the flu season hits," Werker said.

Since PAPHR now has more vaccine, additional appointment-only clinics have been scheduled for those eligible to be vaccinated.

In Prince Albert, there will be a clinic Wednesday morning and afternoon at the McIntosh Building, Thursday afternoon at the South Hill Mall, Friday afternoon at the McIntosh Building and Saturday morning and early afternoon at the South Hill Mall.

People are asked to call 306-765-6510 to schedule an appointment and visit PAPHR’s website to watch for any additional information at www.princealbertparklandhealth.com.

Those in Spiritwood, Shellbrook and Big River can phone their local Public Health Office for appointments.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, Department of National Defence, McIntosh Building Public Health Office

Geographic location: Quebec, Ontario, Spiritwood Shellbrook Big River

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  • MelodyRN
    January 22, 2014 - 09:55

    Ensuring that the immunocompromised have access to vaccines is an important step in protecting from vaccine-preventable diseases such as influenza. Hopefully they receive the immunizations soon, it can take up to 2 weeks to provide protection!