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 Canada: More inoculations mean safer public: MDs 
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Post Canada: More inoculations mean safer public: MDs
More inoculations mean safer public: MDs
Virus 'circulating everywhere'
By KEVIN DOUGHERTY, Montreal GazetteNovember 27, 2009
http://www.montrealgazette.com/health/M ... story.html

It's "halftime" in the H1N1 pandemic, provincial health authorities said yesterday, and with about 30 per cent of Quebecers vaccinated against the virus, the more people who get inoculated in the coming days and weeks, the better the general public will be protected.

Quebec had 26 deaths in the first wave of H1N1 swine flu, which hit in the spring, and so far in the second wave 57 deaths related to H1N1 have been confirmed here.

About 800 patients, including 49 pregnant women, have required intensive care.

The seasonal flu is more dangerous for seniors, noted Dr. Horacio Arruda of Quebec's public health service. The H1N1 virus is different.

"The virus is attacking very young people," Arruda said, noting there have been five times as many cases of swine flu as in the first wave.

But so far, 71 per cent of Quebecers under age 5 have been vaccinated, he added.

Also vulnerable are pregnant women and people with chronic diseases, like asthma.

Arruda said the virus is spread person-to-person and one person carrying H1N1 to a family get-together during the holiday season can spread it to others.

"The virus is circulating," he said. "It is circulating everywhere."

A third wave of the swine flu is expected in January and February, and authorities are urging all Quebecers to get vaccinated, now that more doses are available and everyone who wants one can be vaccinated.

Yesterday, an estimated 130,000 Quebecers were vaccinated.

Public health authorities expected H1N1 to displace of the seasonal flu, and this has been largely true, Arruda said, explaining that 90 per cent of influenza cases reported in Quebec have been H1N1.

But public health authorities in this province are consulting with their counterparts across Canada and in other countries about a possible second round of vaccinations for the seasonal flu.

Yolaine Galarneau, a specialist in front line care at the provincial Health Department, said that after the third wave, the virus will still be around, so people should be vaccinated.

"Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those close to you," Health Minister Yves Bolduc said, adding that everyone could be vaccinated by Christmas.

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