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Ottawa expecting 1.8 million doses <br/>of flu vaccine next week Add to ...

Ottawa is expecting to get at least 1.8 million new doses of H1N1 vaccine next week, boosting the total to more than eight million.

The Harper government has come under attack for the confusion in the administration of the vaccines across the country, but federal officials said the new deliveries from GlaxoSmithKline Inc. show "there is no shortage."

The new doses will include one million with adjuvant, and 800,000 without the additive to be used for pregnant women.

The federal government is responsible for ordering the vaccines, while the provinces are the ones in charge of the actual vaccination campaign.



The Globe on H1N1

The Ontario government has distributed 2.2 million doses of the vaccine to the province's 36 local health units. But progress in getting needles into the arms of the 3.4 million high-risk people at the front of the line has been slow and uneven across the province.

Arlene King, Ontario's chief medical officer of health, told reporters Wednesday she is aiming to use all 2.2 million doses by the end of this week. Only "several hundred thousand" people have been inoculated so far, Dr. King said, blaming the slow progress on a shortage of vaccine.

But opposition members blamed the government, saying the province has a delivery problem, not a supply problem, and questioned whether 2.2 million people can be vacinated by the end of the week.

"This rollout has been horrendous," said New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath.

Dr. King said she does not have exact figures because collecting statistics is not a top priority for health care workers on the front lines.

"We want them to focus on getting that vaccine out of fridges and into arms," she said.

GSK president Paul Lucas defended his firm's handling of the vaccine production, saying his plant in Quebec City is running 24/7.

"We cannot afford to compromise on the quality of this product, and we will not," he told reporters in Ottawa.

Another four people in Ontario died this week from the H1N1 virus, bringing the toll to 37 since last April, when the first wave hit the province. Another 108 people are in hospital, including 65 in intensive care.

Dr. King said children from ages 5 to 18 are next in line for the vaccine but it won't be extended to them until the province receives more vaccine. She learned from reporters on Wednesday that Ottawa will distribute another 1.8 million doses to the provinces and territories next week.

"It's difficult to plan when you don't know from week to week how much product you're going to get," she said. "I don't know why we are not hearing sooner about what we're expecting to get."

With a report from Karen Howlett in Toronto

 

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