H1N1 vaccination updates

Everyone is encouraged to wash hands frequently to prevent the spread of illness.

More information is available on the Nova Scotia government website: http://www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/h1n1/.

On November 16 Dr. Robert Strang, chief public health officer, announced how Nova Scotia will implement new guidelines from the Public Health Agency of Canada about second doses of H1N1 vaccine for children today.

Dr. Strang also announced additional groups for whom unadjuvanted vaccine will be used.

Healthy children age three to nine will need only one dose.

Children six months old to less than three years and children age three to nine, who are immunocompromised, will need a second dose a minimum of 21 days after the first dose.

Children age three to nine, with a chronic medical condition but not immunocompromised, will need a second dose. However it is safe for them to receive it after other at-risk groups.

The province has also received federal licensing to provide 23,500 doses of unadjuvanted vaccine for pregnant women. It can now be used for those with chronic conditions age 10 to less than 64, who are not immunocompromised.

The province will also offer vaccine to additional groups, based on risk, as soon as supply allows.

People in the following groups are still eligible to be immunized:

-pregnant women, and women up to four weeks postpartum and their partner.

-women who have just given birth, and their partner.

-children aged six months to younger than five.

-children 19 or younger with chronic medical conditions for which they receive regular medical attention, including morbid obesity.

-people living on First Nations communities.

-health-care workers in district health authorities, long-term care facilities and home-care agencies who provide direct care to patients. This includes family physicians, family practice nurses, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.

-people younger than 65 with chronic medical conditions.

-people living with, or providing care in the home for, infants less than six months of age, people living with those at high-risk who cannot be immunized (for example, those with anaphylaxis or severe egg allergies), and those who are immunocompromised and may not respond to vaccine.

-people who work in residential-care facilities, community-based option and small-option homes, group homes and developmental residences.

For more information (including clinic locations) and the latest updates visit www.gov.ns.ca and www.cdha.nshealth.ca.

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