Windsor-Essex Health Officials Still Waiting for Flu Vaccine


Health officials across Windsor-Essex are still waiting for the public supply of the flu vaccine.

The Public Health Agency of Canada co-ordinates purchases by the provinces. It says 55 per cent of the total order is currently available to be distributed across the country.

The delay is being blamed on a shortage at the manufacturing level.

The agency aims to have 90 per cent of the supply by the end of the month.

Vice-President of Critical Care, Regional Stroke, Cardiology, Trauma, and Clinical Support Services at Windsor Regional Hospital, Karen Riddell says the flu season is expected to arrive early because Australia was hit hard and early this year.

"We do know that it's a type of flu that does impact the young and the very old and they are obviously the highest risk for a poor outcome from getting the flu, either developing pneumonia requiring hospitalization," she says.

As of a result of the vaccine manufacturing issues, Riddell says one form of vaccine will not be made available this flu season.

"I know that one thing that we won't have this year is the nasal vaccine, so that was something you could get for children," she says.  "I have heard that will not be available this year so,  unfortunately, kids are going to have to get the needle vaccine. We know that's always a little less pleasant than the nasal drops."    

Riddell says the public needs to take care of themselves during flu  and cold season.

"Even if you don't have the flu, it is cold season, so good cough etiquette, good sneeze etiquette, make sure you wash your hands. If you are sick please stay home so you're not transmitting germs around to other people," she says.

Last winter, the flu numbers were down in Windsor-Essex.

As of March 1, 2019, there had been 109 confirmed cases compared to 120 in the 2017/2018 season.

Riddell says as of now, the hospital has not had any confirmed cases of influenza for the 2019-2020 flu season.