Eastern Ontario Health Unit Adds Extra H1N1 Clinic Date
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has been receiving hundreds of calls regarding interest in the H1N1 clinics. In response to this demand, the Health Unit has added a clinic this Sunday from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at all clinic locations.
“We are still targeting the people on the priority list to attend the October clinics. In addition, we are expanding our program to immunize all children 18 years of age and under at our first clinics. This is assuming we have adequate vaccine to cover this additional group. As of November, the clinics will be open to the rest of the population”, explains Dr. Paul Roumeliotis. “We support the Ministry’s position that when we have enough vaccine, we will broaden our immunization program to the rest of our residents starting in November.
School outbreaks are another point of interest. Despite that fact that children are more susceptible to this flu, the Health Unit is not recommending school closures for several reasons. First, H1N1 flu is a community-acquired disease. School absenteeism is used as surveillance to identify influenza activity in the community. Second, school closures have not been shown to be effective. Third, young people tend to congregate in groups outside of school anyway and the risk of transmission would remain high.
To assist the schools in managing absenteeism, the Health Unit has just announced the release of their handwashing video series aimed at children and youth in Kindergarten to Grade 12. To watch these videos, visit the main page of the Health Unit’s website and click on the “Hand Hygiene Videos” button.
“We want to invite people to read the H1N1 Activity Report on our website. The report contains information on the school, daycare and institution outbreaks in our area. The report will be regularly updated” says Dr. Paul. “I also want to remind parents that a sick child should stay home until 24 hours after all symptoms other than a mild cough have resolved. This post-viral cough can last a week or more, but during this time the child is not contagious and can return to school”, adds Dr. Paul Roumeliotis.
The Health Unit is advising those over 65 to come to the later clinics in November. When asked why people 65 and over aren’t in the priority group, Dr. Paul explains that the main reasons for this are that people age 65 and older are least likely to get sick with this virus and that there will be limited amounts of vaccine available during the first clinics which are intended for those who would benefit most.
For more information about H1N1 clinic dates, time and locations visit eohu.ca or call 613-933-1375 or 1 800 267-7120.
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