Provincial flu vaccination program expands with latest shipment

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The provincial government said today it has received its next shipment of 16,000 influenza vaccines and is in the process of distributing them to regional health authorities.


Health Minister Susan Sullivan. File photo

A news release says that starting on Tuesday, FluMist, which is a widely-used influenza vaccine, will be available for generally healthy individuals between the ages two to 59. 

Individuals with existing health conditions should contact the provincial HealthLine at 1-888-709-2929 to confirm whether they qualify to receive FluMist. This expands on the previous target group of children under five years old and pregnant women.

 “The provincial government has secured more than 80,000 additional doses of vaccine which will be distributed by the four regional health authorities over the coming weeks," said Health Minister Susan Sullivan.

"We are now expanding our target groups to include generally healthy individuals aged two to 59 years. The additional vaccine that we have obtained will further complement the more than 130,000 doses already administered throughout Newfoundland and Labrador.”

FluMist which is being used throughout North America and Europe to protect individuals against seasonal influenza. FluMist is described as an effective vaccine that is delivered through a nasal spray as opposed to a needle. 

Public health nurses have been trained to deliver the product.

Additional vaccine deliveries are expected within the next two weeks at which time the target groups will again be expanded. 

If individuals have already had their seasonal influenza vaccine earlier this year, they have protection from the three strains of flu circulating, including H1N1.

The release also notes that, as of Friday, there have been 161 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza. The majority are influenza A and of those subtyped, all are H1N1. There have been 36 hospitalizations, and 12 admissions to intensive care, and one confirmed death. 

In comparison, there were 408 cases of influenza, 138 hospitalizations, 16 admissions to intensive care, and nine deaths at the same time last year.


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