H1N1 flu virus update (09/10/15)
Oct. 15, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following update on the H1N1 flu virus was issued by
the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health for New Brunswick on Thursday,
- The H1N1 vaccine may be available earlier than the beginning of November.
- Plans are in place to deliver the H1N1 vaccine whenever it becomes available. Operational decisions were made so that New Brunswick would have the capacity to offer both the
seasonal and H1N1 vaccines.
- Preparations are underway to hold vaccination clinics throughout the province.
- A public awareness campaign will be launched to give New Brunswickers the specifics on where, how and when they may obtain the H1N1 vaccine.
- At-risk groups should receive the H1N1 vaccine as soon as it becomes available. Those groups include pregnant women, people with underlying medical conditions such as
diabetes, or those with compromised immune systems.
- The provincial government has invested $17.1 million to provide the H1N1 flu vaccine free to all New Brunswickers who choose to be immunized.
- There have been reports and public speculation about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine. The contents of the H1N1 vaccine will protect against contracting H1N1. The included
additives and preservatives are there to help the vaccine work, and are not cause for alarm.
- As a multi-dose vaccine, the H1N1 influenza vaccine will contain a mercury-based preservative, called thimerosal, to prevent contamination of the vaccine by serious infectious
agents from the growth of bacteria. Thimerosal also has a stabilizing effect on the vaccine, ensuring its effectiveness.
- The seasonal flu vaccine and most hepatitis B vaccines are also multi-dose vaccines, and thimerosal is added during the manufacturing process to maintain sterility of the vaccine.
- There is no safety reason to avoid using vaccines containing thimerosal. The best available scientific evidence to date shows no link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and
any adverse health condition, including neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism.
- The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has reviewed the safety of thimerosal, and concluded that, "There is no legitimate safety reason to avoid the use of
thimerosal-containing products for children or older individuals, including pregnant women."
- International bodies such as the World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration share this opinion.
- Most of the H1N1 vaccine available in New Brunswick will also contain an adjuvant. An adjuvant is a substance that is added to a vaccine in order to boost the individual's
immune response. It also means that less of the virus, or antigen, is needed to make a dose of the vaccine. Unadjuvanted vaccine has no booster element, and more antigen is
needed to create this kind of vaccine.
- By developing an adjuvanted vaccine, Canada has used less of the virus material (antigen), allowing us to immunize more people in a timely manner.
- Adjuvants are not new. Many commonly used vaccines in Canada contain an adjuvant. Adjuvants have been used for several decades to boost immune response to vaccines.
However, adjuvants have not previously been used with influenza vaccines in Canada.
- All evidence suggests that adjuvanted vaccines are just as safe as unadjuvanted vaccines; however, there is no safety data for the use of adjuvanted vaccine in pregnant women.
- The Government of Canada has purchased a small quantity of unadjuvanted H1N1 vaccine (about 1.2 million doses) as part of its total order of 50.4 million doses.
- There is a possibility that the unadjuvanted vaccine may not arrive until the H1N1 vaccine campaign is in its second or third week.
- The Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health recommends that pregnant women and new mothers receive the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible.
- This recommendation follows the advice of the World Health Organization when vaccinating pregnant women against the H1N1 flu virus.
- New Brunswickers should continue to protect themselves and those around them by washing their hands thoroughly and often, coughing or sneezing into sleeves, staying home if
sick, and keeping common surfaces clean.
- Persons at high risk of complications from influenza-like illness should seek medical attention promptly.
- Persons with influenza-like symptoms should stay home and minimize contact with family members as much as possible. If symptoms worsen, they should visit their physician or
nurse-practitioner, a walk-in clinic, or the nearest hospital emergency department.
- It is recommended that persons with influenza-like symptoms limit contact with other people, including other household members until they are free of symptoms and are feeling
- Those experiencing influenza-like illness should consider ending self-isolation when they are able to participate fully in all of their normal daily activities.
- It is important for New Brunswickers to understand that if they do not have influenza-like symptoms it is safe to go to work and school, to participate in activities and to
More information on the H1N1 flu virus may be found online or by calling the 24-hour H1N1 line, 1-800-580-0038.
MEDIA CONTACT: email@example.com; Nichole Bowman, media relations, H1N1 Pandemic, Department of Health, 506-444-3785.