It's up to each health district to decide how to roll out its H1N1 vaccination program. ((CBC))

The rollout of the H1N1 vaccine for the general public in Nova Scotia begins this week, starting in Truro and Elmsdale.

The first 52,000 doses were distributed around the province shortly after they arrived on Oct. 19. But it's up to each health district to set up vaccination times.

"They have to do that in terms of their own resources as well as the given amount of vaccine they're going to get, especially in the first couple of weeks," said Dr. Robert Strang, the province's chief public health officer.

Strang said some districts have decided to inoculate all of their hospital staff first before moving on to the general public, which could take a few days.

The Colchester East Hants Health Authority will hold immunization clinics in Truro and Elmsdale on Tuesday, while the Cape Breton District Health Authority begins its program Wednesday in Baddeck.

For people in the Halifax region, the Capital District Health Authority will begin its immunization program on Nov. 2.

Nova Scotians can call the free 811 HealthLink line to find out when the vaccine is available in their neighbourhood.

Public health officials are encouraging people to get immunized. They said the vaccine is strongly recommended in the beginning for:

  • Health-care workers.
  • People younger than 65 with chronic health conditions.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Healthy children between six months and five years of age.
  • People in contact with children less than six months old.
  • People with compromised immune systems.

Meanwhile, the provincial Department of Health Promotion and Protection is scaling back some of its services, such as pre-natal classes, as the H1N1 vaccination program is rolled out.

"We're focusing our public health work on high-risk families and high-risk infants and letting some of the other community supports fill in the lower-risk families," said Strang.