Waiting for third wave; continuing to vaccinate

Saskatoon Health Region employees continue to receive their H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccines through occupational health and safety offices throughout the Region. The Health Region has achieved an outstanding staff and physician immunization rate of 80 per cent.

Residents are also still rolling up their sleeves with more than 145,000 people or 48.5 per cent of Health Region residents getting vaccinated against H1N1.
The Health Region ended drop-in mass immunization clinics on December 18, 2009 and since then, residents have been invited to make an appointment or to use sporadic drop-in clinics around the Region. The vaccine is also available at various physician offices. For a full schedule of clinics, please visit www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca.

Although demand for the vaccine waned somewhat in recent weeks, Dr. Cory Neudorf, Chief Medical Health Officer for the Region says, “The H1N1 virus is still out there, but positive lab reports and influenza-like-illness surveillance would suggest that it is back down to a low level across Canada. We continue to watch for the emergence of a third wave of H1N1 or seasonal influenza, and we do not know whether the level of immunization we have reached so far will be sufficient to prevent the third wave.” Neudorf believes the level of vaccination should take the edge off a third wave. However he warns there is a chance the Region might see more disease in young adults who still have a lower vaccine coverage rate than other population groups.

“We encourage those who have not been immunized to do so now while there is a lull in vaccination activity in the Region,” he adds.