Health officials continue to urge Quebecers to get flu shot
Published Wednesday, November 25, 2009 7:31PM EST
As members of all ages and priority groups flocked to vaccination centres Wednesday, the Quebec government confirmed there will be enough H1N1 vaccine to go around -- with the province expected to receive a shipment of 1.3 million doses next week.
Wednesday was the first day that swine flu vaccinations were available to the general population in Montreal and many other regions.
Health officials say they're expanding the eligibility list because of shorter-than-expected lineups and the availability of additional doses.
The Montreal public health agency says people aren't showing up in the same numbers these days, unlike the long lineups seen when the vaccination campaign began last month.
Officials have vaccinated 25 per cent of the Montreal population and the goal is to inoculate 1.5 million Montrealers by Dec. 19.
Fewer than half of pregnant women have received vaccines and less than half of the chronically ill have been inoculated.
Public health director David Levine told a news conference that health-care workers got vaccinated at much higher rates than others. He says 89 per cent of Montreal health-care staff received their swine-flu shots compared with 30 to 50 per cent for the general population.
"I think the important factor here is that workers in health care see consequences of the illness, see the people in the intensive care unit, see the people on the floors in the hospital and what the flu can do," said Levine.
Officials said swine flu infections appear to be leveling off and the strain appears to be mild but that people should still get vaccinated.