Half of Sask. has received H1N1 shots
2 more have died after contracting the virus
About half the people in Saskatchewan are now vaccinated for H1N1 swine flu — but the goal is still for many more to get shots, provincial health officials say.
Before late October, when the province's mass immunization program began, polls showed that only 30 per cent of people planned to get it.
It turned out the actual number rolling up their sleeves was much higher, although the province would still like to see 60 to 70 per cent of the population immunized.
"Those who have not been vaccinated, it is still important to protect yourself," said Moira McKinnon, the province's chief medical officer.
The 50 per cent vaccination rate puts Saskatchewan among the leading provinces, she said.
McKinnon reported Thursday that two more people have died after contracting H1N1 — a man and a woman, both over 50 years old.
That brings the total number of H1N1- associated deaths in Saskatchewan to 14, with all of the people having underlying health conditions.
However, the number of people getting sick is going down, with four to five cases a week exhibiting serious symptoms, McKinnon said.
"The pressure on intensive care and hospital beds is also decreasing," she said. "Having said that, it's still the only influenza virus around and we are still seeing cases."
To those thinking the worst is over or that they don't need to get their shot, McKinnon cautioned that this pandemics could had a third wave in the spring.
"Often the third wave is quite a stinging, what we call the sting in the tail," she said. "The vaccination will impact on that and hopefully it will stop it from happening."
Over the next few weeks, mass clinics around the province will be winding down. The vaccine will continue to be available at public health clinics into the spring and summer on a by-appointment basis.