As public health officials, intensive care specialists, and medical experts from Canada and abroad gathered in Winnipeg today to discuss how to treat severe cases of H1N1 flu virus, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq reinforced the important work the Government is doing to prepare for a major H1N1 vaccination campaign this fall. The Government of Canada will ensure that all Canadians who need and want the H1N1 vaccine will get it. We have an accelerated approval process in place to ensure that we have a safe, effective vaccine available as quickly as possible.
Minister Aglukkaq reiterated that the Canadian decision to use an adjuvanted vaccine, as recommended by the World Health Organization, will not result in any delay for Canadians who want to receive the vaccine. Current timelines indicate that the vaccine will be approved for use in Canada in November 2009.
"In Canada, we are lucky that the issue is not whether we will have enough vaccine for everyone who needs it, but how quickly we can immunize everyone," said Dr. Butler-Jones, Canada's Chief Public Health Officer. "Those who need it most will receive the vaccine first."
The Government of Canada is working with provinces, territories and experts in the medical and ethics fields to finalize guidance to identify those people who should receive the vaccine first. This work, in addition to clinical trial data on safety and efficacy, will help provinces and territories in rolling out their H1N1 immunization programs.
Minister Aglukkaq and Dr. Butler-Jones provided this latest update from the PHAC-hosted conference Severe H1N1 Disease: Preventing Cases, Reducing Mortality. This international meeting will help strengthen important linkages between health care professionals dealing with severe cases of H1N1 flu infection and public health experts engaged in planning for the possible second wave of H1N1 in the fall.