Parents of sick children will get a break from the three-month wait to get a vaccination from the Ontario government as it announces that Ottawa-area clinics will open across the province on Thursday to help vaccinate the young.
The Ontario government is increasing its commitment to vaccinate all parents in the region with at least one child under 14, potentially releasing the backlog of vaccinated children.
The provinces in Canada have been eager to get a handle on the magnitude of the initial wave of cases of adenovirus, a strain of respiratory illness that has been linked to 122 deaths across the United States. It may also be contributing to deaths in Toronto, a new cluster of several dozen cases, including at least one pediatric death.
To meet public health requirements, all parents, guardians, members of domestic households and anyone who lived in the same home as the child between Nov. 11 and Dec. 16, and as of Dec. 15, are encouraged to present themselves at any of the nine Calgary clinics to get their child vaccinated.
According to a timeline provided by public health officials in Alberta and Ontario, two weeks ago, 75-80 percent of the vaccines in local vaccine reserve had been delivered to local clinics in the province. Vaccines were still being distributed because funding is based on how many seats are filled at each location.
On Dec. 11, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in California, the first such emergency declaration for a flu outbreak since 2009. Immunization recommendations are routine for all Californians, but the usual procedures require caregivers to look at paperwork before they get a flu shot. Not everyone who received a shot got a second one, so a “flu contingency plan” was put in place for those who had not gotten vaccinated.
Alberta and Ontario offered longer notice this year, and chose to increase vaccine capacity on top of typical flu seasons.
The influenza season here typically runs through January and even March. There have been no major hospitalizations or deaths linked to adenovirus in the Washington area since early December. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said there have been no reported cases or fatalities linked to adenovirus, either.
Adenovirus usually lasts a week or more. But the strongest strain of influenza, H3N2, spreads most quickly through sneezing and coughing, and can last longer. This year’s vaccine protects against both strains, but the H3N2 vaccine seems to have outperformed the H1N1 vaccine.