More than 100,000 vaccinated against H1N1

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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Health Minister Jerome Kennedy estimates the number of people in the province vaccinated against the H1N1 virus to now be between 115,000 and 120,000.

During a media briefing Tuesday at the Confederation Building, the minister said the uptake of the vaccine has been high in all regions of the province this week.

Minister of Health and Community Services Jerome Kennedy and chief medical officer of health Dr. Faith Stratton provide their daily H1N1 flu virus update during a media briefing Tuesday afternoon at the Confederation Building. - Photo by Joe Gibbons/The T

Health -

Health Minister Jerome Kennedy estimates the number of people in the province vaccinated against the H1N1 virus to now be between 115,000 and 120,000.

During a media briefing Tuesday at the Confederation Building, the minister said the uptake of the vaccine has been high in all regions of the province this week.

"In fact, yesterday the numbers indicate between 9,000 and 10,000 people were immunized," he said.

Dr. Faith Stratton, the province's chief medical officer of health, said the number of people hospitalized in the province with influenza-like illness (ILI) appears to be on a "downswing," but she doesn't want to be too quick to draw conclusions because the numbers could fluctuate upwards again.

In the 24-period from 8 a.m. Monday to 8 a.m. Tuesday, Stratton said, there were 30 new admissions to hospital. Two patients were admitted to intensive care units and one of those patients was put on a ventilator to assist with breathing.

"That brings us to 103 in the province now who are admitted with ILI, and 20 of those are in intensive care units, 14 are on ventilators," Stratton said.

ILI is a term used for flu-related symptoms before lab test results are available to confirm whether each case is H1N1 positive or another respiratory illness.

Stratton said most of the seriously ill patients recently have been hospitalized in the Eastern Health region. However, she said, some of them may be patients who were transferred from other regions to Eastern Health hospitals.

She said her department plans to do a detailed analysis of infection in various age groups and based on regions, but that information isn't yet available.

Kennedy said the immunization of junior high school students will take place this week and a lot of them should be vaccinated in various parts of the province by the end of this week.

In the St. John's region, he said, junior high vaccinations will likely continue into early next week. Eastern Health said Tuesday its junior high vaccination schedule was set to begin today.

Vaccinations for people up to 64 years of age with chronic illnesses are also continuing this week and, as announced Sunday, Kennedy said, these adults will be offered unadjuvanted vaccine when the supply of adjuvanted doses runs out later this week.

The adjuvanted doses contain ingredients to provide a stronger immune system boost in reaction to the antigen, whereas the unadjuvanted doses don't contain these immune-boosting ingredients.

Initially the unadjuvanted vaccine was brought in to vaccinate pregnant women who might be concerned about taking the adjuvanted vaccine. Kennedy said Health Canada has since indicated that the unadjuvanted vaccine is safe and effective for individuals between the ages of 10 and 64, so they will be given the choice to take it or wait until next week when the province receives its next shipment of adjuvanted doses.

"So now the next step, we're waiting for how much vaccine we will get next week and that will determine where we will go with our next criteria groups," Kennedy said, explaining that the criteria will be decided in discussions with the CEOs of each health authority and medical health officers.

Eastern Health CEO Vicki Kaminski, meanwhile, provided further information Tuesday to explain why prisoners at Her Majesty's Penitentiary were vaccinated in late October.

The Telegram reported Nov. 4 that Kennedy and Stratton confirmed inmates and prison employees were vaccinated. At the time, Stratton said, the residential setting prisoners live in and the fact that "penitentiaries tend to have other kinds of personal medical risks" were factors considered.

Kaminski made similar comments Tuesday.

"The inmate population at HMP was identified as an at-risk group that could be accessed quickly and easily during the initial stages of our vaccination program. The vaccination of HMP as a group was taken before we were made aware that we would receive less of the vaccine than originally anticipated."

Kennedy said had Eastern Health known the vaccine supply would be reduced, it probably would have made a different decision. However, he said, the medical reasons at the time "certainly supported" its decision.

dss@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Confederation Building, Health Canada

Geographic location: Eastern Health, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Chuck
    July 02, 2010 - 13:34

    Kennedy said had Eastern Health known the vaccine supply would be reduced, it probably would have made a different decision. However, he said, the medical reasons at the time certainly supported its decision.

    CBC.ca is reporting:

    Newfoundland and Labrador Health Minister Jerome Kennedy says he is considering making senior citizens the next candidates for getting the province's swine flu vaccine, even if it means overruling the advice of medical experts.

    Mr. Kennedy you said the medical reasons supported the decision to vaccinate the prisoners. CBC is reporting that you may GO AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE and vaccinate people over the age of 65 next. Mr. Kennedy you were a great lawyer, and a good politician, but you're no doctor. If you use the medical advice to cover your rear end when it comes to the prisoners, then you should take the same medical advice for all groups. Don't be a hypocrite!

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I've got to say the 'backlash' against Eastern Health over vaccinating inmates at HMP is disheartening. To hear someone say that inmates shouldn't have to right to the vaccine before anyone else seems to me pretty draconian considering that we know that HMP is substandard, crowded and, potentially, an excellent incubator for any viral outbreak. Is that what people want, to have the petty criminals (all incarcerated under 2years) at HMP succumb to an illness that was exacerbated by poor infrastructure? What is this Turkey ca. 1970?

  • Law Abiding
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    What fool made the decision to vacinate inmates over school children? Public schools are just as much a confined space as HMP (I can understand prison guards but inmates???) These scumbags stole from tax paying people ~ hence landing themselves in jail, once in jail ~ taxpayers are paying once again to keep them housed, the government then takes it upon themselves to vacinate these scum bags ~ hence robbing from the law abiding citizens once again. Vacinate our children before our criminals. SERIOUSLY!

  • Nasty
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    Health Minister Jerome Kennedy estimates the number of people in the province vaccinated against the H1N1 virus to now be between 115,000 and 120,000.

    Estimates? He has no freakin idea? Gee, I would love to tell my boss that I think I might know this or that, but not really sure. Did he not think to obtain the numbers before opening his trap? Makes him look like he is further out of his league than he was before hand.

  • Eugene
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    To Law Abiding Citizen,

    P'raps you're missing the point, incarcerated individuals are the full responsibility of the state (meaning their treatment or mistreatment results in direct liability on the state). It's far more inexpensive to innoculate than face the flack (eg. lawsuits, inquiries, et c.) resulting from fatalities in a infrastructually flawed facility.

  • vrp
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Why doesn't this egotist stop running for Danny's job and just shut up and let the professionals do their work. In the last three weeks, I have been traveling across Canada, and I've seen numerous health officials briefing the media, but not a single health minister. The story here, and one that the media needs to look into, is how Jerome Kennedy is politicizing health, grandstanding for Jerome Kennedy. He is looking foolish, self serving, and just a little too self righteous and self important. Success having gone to his head, he now wants to personalize public health policy because his granny might get sick!

  • RP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Prisoners, children, and those with medical conditions that placed them in a priority listing from the start has all come down to the amount of vaccine the province received, and more so, why are we not privy to the amount of vaccine the province ordered. Please hold off on the per capita answer, try basing it on the number of people taking the seasonal flu shot each year put forward by NL.

    NL and Ottawa can share the blame for POOR planning minus any further con games (pun intended).

    Today, 18th November, 2009, Toronto and PEI citizens have access to a real mass vaccination program for the masses. Anyone can turn up to be vaccinated.

    As for Mr. Kennedy suggesting he may change the access rules once again; in his words, How would I feel if my 74 year old g'mother were to die from H1N1.

    The answer is...the same as any relative losing a child, or other family member in the age range of 40 to 64 due to the lack of vaccines. Stick to the program Mr. Kennedy and keep both eyes on the ball, don't let one stray to the demographics of the upcoming byelection in Terra Nova. Of course you wouldn't do that, would you.

  • Chuck
    July 02, 2010 - 13:14

    Kennedy said had Eastern Health known the vaccine supply would be reduced, it probably would have made a different decision. However, he said, the medical reasons at the time certainly supported its decision.

    It's either the prisoners were among the most important people to receive the vaccine, or they weren't? Saying that Eastern Health would probably have made a different decision had they known there would be a vaccine shortage is admitting that the prisoners shouldn't have rolled up their sleeves first.

    I'm glad to see they finally commented on the situation with the prisoners, but I don't think any prisoner should have been vaccinated before HONEST members of the public...ESPECIALLY CHILDREN!

  • James
    July 02, 2010 - 13:08

    'The inmate population at HMP was identified as an at-risk group that could be accessed quickly and easily during the initial stages of our vaccination program.' Sounds like logical reasoning to me. This backlash just illustrates the intellectual cowardice of many here. We might as well ask why are welfare recipients and refugees inoculated? Where is the moral outrage about professional athletes and the wealthy jumping the queue?

  • Chuck
    July 01, 2010 - 20:23

    Kennedy said had Eastern Health known the vaccine supply would be reduced, it probably would have made a different decision. However, he said, the medical reasons at the time certainly supported its decision.

    CBC.ca is reporting:

    Newfoundland and Labrador Health Minister Jerome Kennedy says he is considering making senior citizens the next candidates for getting the province's swine flu vaccine, even if it means overruling the advice of medical experts.

    Mr. Kennedy you said the medical reasons supported the decision to vaccinate the prisoners. CBC is reporting that you may GO AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE and vaccinate people over the age of 65 next. Mr. Kennedy you were a great lawyer, and a good politician, but you're no doctor. If you use the medical advice to cover your rear end when it comes to the prisoners, then you should take the same medical advice for all groups. Don't be a hypocrite!

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I've got to say the 'backlash' against Eastern Health over vaccinating inmates at HMP is disheartening. To hear someone say that inmates shouldn't have to right to the vaccine before anyone else seems to me pretty draconian considering that we know that HMP is substandard, crowded and, potentially, an excellent incubator for any viral outbreak. Is that what people want, to have the petty criminals (all incarcerated under 2years) at HMP succumb to an illness that was exacerbated by poor infrastructure? What is this Turkey ca. 1970?

  • Law Abiding
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    What fool made the decision to vacinate inmates over school children? Public schools are just as much a confined space as HMP (I can understand prison guards but inmates???) These scumbags stole from tax paying people ~ hence landing themselves in jail, once in jail ~ taxpayers are paying once again to keep them housed, the government then takes it upon themselves to vacinate these scum bags ~ hence robbing from the law abiding citizens once again. Vacinate our children before our criminals. SERIOUSLY!

  • Nasty
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    Health Minister Jerome Kennedy estimates the number of people in the province vaccinated against the H1N1 virus to now be between 115,000 and 120,000.

    Estimates? He has no freakin idea? Gee, I would love to tell my boss that I think I might know this or that, but not really sure. Did he not think to obtain the numbers before opening his trap? Makes him look like he is further out of his league than he was before hand.

  • Eugene
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    To Law Abiding Citizen,

    P'raps you're missing the point, incarcerated individuals are the full responsibility of the state (meaning their treatment or mistreatment results in direct liability on the state). It's far more inexpensive to innoculate than face the flack (eg. lawsuits, inquiries, et c.) resulting from fatalities in a infrastructually flawed facility.

  • vrp
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Why doesn't this egotist stop running for Danny's job and just shut up and let the professionals do their work. In the last three weeks, I have been traveling across Canada, and I've seen numerous health officials briefing the media, but not a single health minister. The story here, and one that the media needs to look into, is how Jerome Kennedy is politicizing health, grandstanding for Jerome Kennedy. He is looking foolish, self serving, and just a little too self righteous and self important. Success having gone to his head, he now wants to personalize public health policy because his granny might get sick!

  • RP
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Prisoners, children, and those with medical conditions that placed them in a priority listing from the start has all come down to the amount of vaccine the province received, and more so, why are we not privy to the amount of vaccine the province ordered. Please hold off on the per capita answer, try basing it on the number of people taking the seasonal flu shot each year put forward by NL.

    NL and Ottawa can share the blame for POOR planning minus any further con games (pun intended).

    Today, 18th November, 2009, Toronto and PEI citizens have access to a real mass vaccination program for the masses. Anyone can turn up to be vaccinated.

    As for Mr. Kennedy suggesting he may change the access rules once again; in his words, How would I feel if my 74 year old g'mother were to die from H1N1.

    The answer is...the same as any relative losing a child, or other family member in the age range of 40 to 64 due to the lack of vaccines. Stick to the program Mr. Kennedy and keep both eyes on the ball, don't let one stray to the demographics of the upcoming byelection in Terra Nova. Of course you wouldn't do that, would you.

  • Chuck
    July 01, 2010 - 19:53

    Kennedy said had Eastern Health known the vaccine supply would be reduced, it probably would have made a different decision. However, he said, the medical reasons at the time certainly supported its decision.

    It's either the prisoners were among the most important people to receive the vaccine, or they weren't? Saying that Eastern Health would probably have made a different decision had they known there would be a vaccine shortage is admitting that the prisoners shouldn't have rolled up their sleeves first.

    I'm glad to see they finally commented on the situation with the prisoners, but I don't think any prisoner should have been vaccinated before HONEST members of the public...ESPECIALLY CHILDREN!

  • James
    July 01, 2010 - 19:43

    'The inmate population at HMP was identified as an at-risk group that could be accessed quickly and easily during the initial stages of our vaccination program.' Sounds like logical reasoning to me. This backlash just illustrates the intellectual cowardice of many here. We might as well ask why are welfare recipients and refugees inoculated? Where is the moral outrage about professional athletes and the wealthy jumping the queue?