N.L. running low on flu vaccines

Newfoundland and Labrador's health department says the number of flu cases in lower this year, but it is running low on flu vaccines.

Newfoundland and Labrador's flu numbers lower than last year, but vaccine demand up

A health official administers a flu vaccine. (CBC)

Newfoundland and Labrador's health department says the number of flu cases is lower this year, but it is running low on flu vaccines. 

So far, health officials said there have been 86 confirmed cases of influenza in the province, with the predominant strain being H1N1. 

"We've had lower numbers than we had last year," said Dr. Faith Stratton, the province's chief medical officer of health. "We're seeing a bit an increase in the severity of the illness, and that's typical for the virus we're having this year."

During this flu season, Stratton said 14 people have been hospitalized, and six people were sent to intensive care, but so far there have been no deaths. Last year, five people died from influenza. 

Close to 130,000 vaccinations have been administered in the province.

Province searching for more vaccine

Health Minister Susan Sullivan said the province is in the process of securing additional vaccine because of increased interest.

"We're working with our counterparts across the country to ensure that we have an adequate supply here in this province," said Sullivan.

Health officials said they are banking on some residual immunity from the H1N1 vaccine that was given in the province during the pandemic five years ago.   
They cautioned that young adults and children have seemed to be the most susceptible to this season's virus.


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