H1N1 flu linked to 2 Nova Scotia deaths
Public health officials renew calls for people to get vaccinated, though some may have to wait
Two Nova Scotians, who had underlying health conditions, have died from the flu, according to the province’s health department.
"Our thoughts are with the families of these patients," said Dr. Frank Atherton, deputy chief public health officer in a release. "Unfortunately, we do see influenza related deaths in Nova Scotia."
Friday, health officials confirmed both deaths are H1N1-related. Both victims had other underlying health problems which made them more vulnerable.
Atherton says on average one to 10 Nova Scotians die from influenza every flu season..
The difference this time is the fact the H1N1 strain is the predominant, meaning younger people may die from it —not just the elderly or frail.
Public Health officials are renewing their calls for people to get the flu shot. This year, the province launched a new program allowing pharmacists to administer flu shots not just doctors.
Pharmacists have already given triple the number flu shots the province anticipated they would.
Phil MacDougall hoped to get vaccinated on Friday.
"Watching the CBC News last night and I seen that young one passed away and I've got two grand-daughters and I just checked out to see if there's any flu vaccine around," he said.
Unfortunately, demand has been so great, that some clinics have run short of vaccine.
Pharmacist Janice Dillman said she didn't expect to run out of vaccine.
"Yes, I am surprised that we’ve run out because last week we were told that there was an ample supply but when we requested some yesterday we were told it wouldn't be here till next week," she said.
For now, instead of giving shots, some pharmacists are taking names on a waiting list.
"Ten to 15 at this store alone as of now and we just ran out yesterday," said Dillman.
Atherton said they’ve provided 435,000 doses of the influenza vaccine this year. The province also said they have 10,900 doses on hold with the manufacturer.
"We're looking to move vaccine from areas of low demand to areas of high demand and we're also looking to bring in more doses of the vaccine next week," he said.
Those high demand areas are the Halifax region and the Pictou area.