November 11, 2009
Media Release

The Regional Municipality of York expands eligibility for H1N1 flu shot

First responders, people 65 years of age and older living in long-term care facilities and hospitals now eligible to receive H1N1 flu vaccine
NEWMARKET –The Regional Municipality of York has expanded the eligibility criteria for the H1N1 flu vaccine.  Effective immediately, emergency responders and people age 65 years of age and older living in a long-term care facility or hospital are now eligible to receive their H1N1 flu vaccine.
“We are satisfied that most York Region residents listed in the first sequence have been immunized at a community clinic or by a local physician,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health.  “We will follow the province’s lead and will begin to immunize people in these expanded categories who will benefit from the vaccine immediately.”
Those who are now eligible to receive their H1N1 flu shot in York Region are:
• First responders – Police officers, Emergency Medical Services paramedics, firefighters and front-line institutional workers (correctional officers)
• People over age 65 living in a long-term care facility or hospital
• People under age 65 with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, cancer or a condition that affects the heart, liver, lung, or immune system
• Pregnant women
• People living in remote and isolated settings or communities
• Health care workers
• Household contacts and care providers of infants under six months or persons who may not respond to vaccines
For maximum effectiveness, children under the age of 10 will require two half doses of the H1N1 flu vaccine.  A minimum 21-day waiting period is required between each immunization.  Individuals 10 years of age and older will receive one dose of the vaccine.
“We will continue to examine more efficient ways to make the vaccine available to people who need and want it,” added Dr. Kurji.  “By immunizing more York Region residents, we will lessen the impact of the H1N1 flu virus in our community.”
Late last week, York Region received its first shipment of unadjuvanted vaccine from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.  Unadjuvanted vaccine is recommended only for pregnant women and will be available at community immunization clinics. 
Both adjuvanted and unadjvanted H1N1 flu vaccines may also be available from some participating family doctors. 
Similar to the seasonal influenza vaccination program, York Region public health will continue to distribute the H1N1 flu vaccine to hospitals and long-term care facilities.  Staff at each of these facilities is responsible for administering the immunizations to their residents and employees.
Influenza-like illnesses, like seasonal flu viruses and the H1N1 flu virus, are caused by viruses that are easy to catch and easy to spread.  Symptoms include a headache, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, fever, fatigue and weakness. 
The H1N1 flu virus vaccine is being provided to York Region residents at no cost.  For electronic tracking purposes only, residents attending the H1N1 flu virus clinics are encouraged to bring their health card and/or driver’s license.  Vaccine will be offered to residents who attend a clinic without their health card.  
For up-to-date information as the flu season evolves, please visit regularly for information about clinics, symptoms, facts sheets and resources. 
Clinic dates and locations may be subject to change.  Before going to a clinic, residents are encouraged to confirm clinic locations, dates and times on the website by calling York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653. 
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Media Contact:    Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
                          Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Patrick Casey, Director, Corporate Communications, York Region
                     Phone: 905 830-4444, ext. 1235 or Cell: 905 715-8211

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