# Sunday, November 8, 2009
                 
The H1N1 virus is now being held responsible for the death of 31 Ontario residents; last week an apparently health 13 year old boy died within 48 hours of displaying symptoms of the swine flu. An investigation is also currently underway to determine whether or not H1N1 was also responsible for the death of a 12 year old girl from Waterloo. A total of 101 people in Canada have died as a result of this pandemic so far. As a result of the 'second wave' of swine flu in Ontario, people are now lining up to receive the H1N1 vaccine throughout the province, sometimes waiting the whole day to receive the flu shot.

Access to the vaccine is currently being limited to people who qualify as a 'priority status'. This includes all children between the ages of 6 months to less than 5 years, health care workers, pregnant women, and people who live in remote and/or isolated communities.  How the vaccine is distributed depends on the province of residence, as each province decides on how best to serve their citizens. Provincial health cards are not required at flu shot clinics, but proof of residence must be shown in order to prove that the person is indeed a resident of that province.

The H1N1 vaccine is an adjuvanted vaccine, with the exception of pregnant women who should receive a non-adjuvanted vaccine. This does not necessarily mean that the adjuvanted vaccine is harmful to pregnant women, it just simply hasn't been tested for this specific group; if there is no alternative, pregnant women can get the adjuvanted vaccine. An adjuvanted vaccine is a vaccine that includes a substance that boosts the individual's immune system as well as increases their response to the vaccine. The non-adjuvanted vaccine does not have this 'booster' element. Immunity to the H1N1 virus should begin approximately 10 days after the person has been vaccinated.

 Along with vaccinations, some regions in Ontario are also implementing swine flu screening centers in order to relieve the stresses of hospital emergency rooms. Community health units will be opening flu assessment centers; patients can receive medical advice, receive antiviral medications if necessary, and be referred to further medical help if deemed necessary. The majority of people who have already or will contract H1N1 will not need further medical treatment past a prescription, if that. Those with healthy lifestyles and a healthy immune system will simply become ill, but with no life-threatening consequences.

Check your specific region for what is available, and for vaccination centers. The vaccine is currently being distributed to physicians as well; your doctor may be able to book you an appointment for your flu shots.

posted on Sunday, November 8, 2009 3:13:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #   
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