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BC wants 18,000 more flu vaccine doses

A number of provinces and territories have asked for more influenza vaccine in an attempt to meet this season's unusually high demand for flu shots.

Chief medical officers of health met Wednesday by conference call to take stock of tight supplies and continued high demand.

"Most of the jurisdictions have ordered more," Dr. Perry Kendall, BC chief medical officer, said in an interview after the call.

British Columbia has asked for an additional 18,000 doses to augment the 1.4 million doses the province had thought it would need for this year, Kendall said.

Newfoundland and Labrador has ordered another 40,000 doses, Susan Sullivan, the province's minister of health and community services, said in a release.

Newfoundland has already distributed nearly 130,000 doses, which is more than the province has used in previous years, said Dr. Faith Stratton, chief medical officer of health. As the province waits for the additional supply, it is focusing vaccination efforts on children under five and pregnant women.

And the Northwest Territories, which was down to its last 700 doses last Friday, got an additional 590 doses on Wednesday and expects 810 more on Friday, said Damien Healy, communications manager for the department of health and social services.

Healy said the territory asked for more vaccine still, but would not give a firm number until it was clear whether the order would be filled.

To date 36 per cent of NWT residents have been vaccinated against the flu, he said, adding that an historic high for the territory — except for 2009, during the H1N1 pandemic, when 62 per cent of people were vaccinated. Normally the territory vaccinates about 20 per cent of its residents against influenza.

In Kelowna, a woman is in hospital in an induced coma after getting H1N1 in Las Vegas.

The Canadian Press

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