The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has issued a public apology after a delay in shipping fresh doses of swine flu vaccine caused long lineups at the city's 12 flu shot clinics on Monday.
Doses of the vaccine were expected to be delivered to the health authority Sunday night. However, they didn't arrive until Monday morning, authority spokeswoman Heidi Graham said in a statement issued just before noon.
The shipping delay caused backlogs as long as four hours at some clinics, people waiting in line told CBC News.
The health authority is transporting the vaccine to clinics in the city, and flu shots will resume this afternoon, Graham said, but it's not known exactly when.
"We apologize for any inconvenience this causes," Graham said.
The province said it expects 43,500 doses of vaccine with adjuvant — an additive that boost the vaccine's effectiveness — will arrive this week, with a similar amount expected next week.
People in the following priority categories are eligible to receive an H1N1 shot:
- Children age six months to 17 years.
- Anyone of aboriginal ancestry (First Nations, Métis or Inuit).
- Disadvantaged individuals, including the homeless.
- People living in remote or isolated areas.
- People under 65 with a chronic medical condition or other risk factor, including obesity, substance abuse or alcoholism.
- Anyone with a weakened immune system or those who live with or care for such individuals.
- Those who live with or care for infants less than six months old.
- Single parents or anyone solely responsible for a dependant.
- Health-care workers and medical first responders.
- Pregnant women.
Clinics resume at Opaskwayak
Elsewhere in Manitoba, a second round of swine flu vaccinations was scheduled to go ahead on the Opaskwayak Cree Nation near the Pas, Man., on Monday.
About 4,000 people live in the First Nations community, located about 600 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
Three days have been set aside for band members to get their flu shots at the Kikiwak Inn in the community.
In the last week of October, about half of the community rolled up their sleeves to get the flu shot. Health officials are hoping the rest will turn out to get their shots this time.
The province said late last week that nearly 200,000 Manitobans have been vaccinated since flu shots began in late October.
By noon Monday, the authority said 1,021 people had received flu shots, bringing the total number of Winnipeggers who have been vaccinated to 126,198.
Less than 1 per cent of vaccine wasted
Monday marked the first time the health authority has offered the public data on how much swine flu vaccine has been wasted since the mass-vaccination clinics began.
Graham said about two doses a day at each of the city's dozen clinics were declared wasted because they couldn't be given to patients prior before the expiry date. She said in total, about 280 doses were discarded.
Graham also said that an inadvertent error at one of the community clinics meant a 1,000-dose shipment had to be discarded. The vaccine was placed in a freezer instead of a refrigerator, she said.
In all, the authority is reporting that 1.02 per cent of all the vaccine they've received from the federal government has been discarded as waste.