October 23, 2009
For immediate release
Everyone Encouraged to Get Vaccinated
H1N1 Vaccine Clinics are scheduled to begin on Monday and Chief Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated in the coming weeks to protect themselves and their families.
“Similar to other provinces across the country, we are seeing an increase in Influenza Like Illness (ILI) in Prince Edward Island,” said Dr. Morrison. “During the past week specifically, we have noticed that surveillance data for the province is showing an increase in the amount of ILI activity here in PEI. We know that immunization is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of infectious disease and we’re hoping that people will decide to get vaccinated over the coming weeks.”
As part of ongoing surveillance efforts, the Chief Health Office collects information from various sources across the province to get an overall picture of how much flu activity is happening in the community. This includes collecting information from the provincial laboratory, hospitals, pharmacies, schools and early learning centres, and sentinel physicians and tracking calls to the toll-free information line.
“Based on surveillance information to date, including the number of confirmed H1N1 cases, we have seen a recent increase in influenza-like activity on PEI,” said Dr. Carolyn Sanford, Provincial Epidemiologist for the Department of Health.“The information we collect is analyzed and interpreted to assist in informing health officials as to how much influenza activity is happening locally, nationally and internationally.” Dr. Sanford works in the Epidemiology Unit of the Department of Health, which is primarily responsible for surveillance of both communicable and chronic disease.
In addition, national information is collected through participation in Federal Provincial and Territorial groups and through surveillance programs by the Public Health Agency of Canada, such as Fluwatch, which is a program designed to inform health professionals on how much flu activity is happening on a national level. The Chief Health Office monitors international data on influenza activity as well.
Clinics will begin on Monday for those who would benefit most from the vaccine as well as those who care for them. The program will be rolled out over the next four to six weeks and the schedule is based on the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The vaccine will be delivered by Public Health Nurses and others at no cost, at various sites across the province, including Public Health Nursing clinics, schools, health centres, correctional facilities and healthcare facilities. For a complete list of the times and locations of upcoming clinics, watch the newspaper, visit www.gov.pe.ca/flu or call 1-888-748-5454 for further information.