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Two-for-one deal on flu shots

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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  • Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced
that vaccines for both seasonal and H1N1 flu would be available at upcoming

    Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced that vaccines for both seasonal and H1N1 flu would be available at upcoming

Written by Greg Beneteau

The University of Guelph is offering two jabs for the price of one.

Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced that vaccines for both seasonal and H1N1 flu would be available at upcoming clinics on campus and in the city.

On select days starting November 2, students in high-risk categories can receive both vaccines free of charge on the second floor of the J. T. Powell Building on campus,  according to press release sent out by the Health Unit. Clinics would also be opened throughout Guelph in the coming weeks.

Students would be able to receive both vaccines at the same time, according to Dr. Arlene King, Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

Despite preliminary reports, adults would only have to receive one shot of the H1N1 vaccine in order to protect themselves, she told thecannon.

Largest vaccination campaign in Canadian history

Last week communities across Canada began immunizing people in high-risk groups from H1N1, including adults 65 and under with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, healthy children six months to five years old, health-care workers and people in remote or isolated communities.

A nationwide vaccination campaign began on Monday. Canada has ordered 50.4 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine, produced by GlaxoSmithKline. Ontario received an order of 788,000 doses earlier in the week.

Public health officials have been working overtime to address ambivalence about vaccination, as recent reports suggest the public isn’t sold on the idea of protecting themselves from H1N1.

This week a survey, conducted by Strategic Counsel for The Globe and Mail newspaper and CTV, found that only 49 per cent of 1000 respondents said they intended to get the H1N1 vaccine.

A similar survey in July showed 62 percent saying they planned to get a swine flu shot.

No margin of error was provided because the survey was conducted by volunteers online.

Pollster Tim Woolstencroft told the Globe that people had become jaded by repeated warning,s or reconned that the dangers of vaccination were worse than the possibility of falling ill.

"There has been a real drop-off in the desire to have the vaccination shot," he said, due mostly to safety concerns and the view that health officials "have been crying wolf too many times" about the threat posed.

The swine flu has so far contributed to 86 deaths in Canada, more than 1,500 hospitalizations and close to 300 critical care ward admissions, according to Health Canada.

Even so, 59 percent of respondents said they believe the swine flu is no more dangerous than the common cold. Only seven percent thought it could be life-threatening.

In response, the provincial government has been circulating print, radio and TV ads urging people to get vaccinated. The Public Health Agency of Canada has also posted answers to frequently asked questions about the vaccine, in the hopes of debunking common myths and misconceptions about the shot.

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