Provincial health officials say the unprecedented demand for flu vaccine this year has led to 1.4 million vaccinations so far.

H1N1 flu death count misleading: officials

Five official B.C. fatalities but more probable; extra vaccine ordered

Public health officials say more B.C. residents have likely died of H1N1 flu this month than the official count of five lab-confirmed deaths so far.

Four of the confirmed H1N1 deaths were on Vancouver Island, while the fifth was in the Interior and there are none officially listed in the Lower Mainland.

According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, there are 49 patients hospitalized in intensive care units with severe influenza as of Jan. 17.

Sixteen of them are in the Fraser Health region and 10 are on Vancouver Island.

But officials say those numbers of deaths understate the true scope of the H1N1 flu fatalities because patients hospitalized with flu-like symptoms – even those who die – are not generally lab tested for a final confirmation of influenza type.

“Most deaths from influenza will probably not have influenza identified,” said Dr. Reka Gustafson, a medical health officer with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

As a result, she said it’s “not a meaningful exercise” to focus on the number of deaths or hospitalizations as that can give a false impression that influenza is less severe.

Based on national averages, the CDC estimates there are up to 520 influenza-related hospital deaths in B.C. in a normal flu season each year.

H1N1 makes up more than 80 per cent of flu cases in B.C. so far this year.

Many pharmacies have run out of vaccine after a late scramble to get immunized.

The province says nearly 1.4 million British Columbians have been vaccinated so far and the “unprecedented demand” has led to temporary gaps in supply.

More vaccine is on order and will be distributed across the province – 5,000 more doses are to arrive during the week of Jan. 21, another 3,000 are expected the week after and the province has requested a further 13,000 doses.

“We’re getting near the end of the influenza immunization campaign, so we won’t have vaccine in every location,” Gustafson said.

She said flu season can continue through March, so late season vaccinations can still help ward off serious illness.

 

 

H1N1 flu this month | Infographics

Just Posted

ELECTION DAY: Polls are now closed

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. have completed voting for mayor, council, school board and more

LIVE BLOG: Alan Harrison Salmon Arm’s new mayor

Results for Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Chase councils, Salmon Arm school trustees, CSRD directors.

CSRD selects electoral area directors

Directors Demenok, Cathcart, Talbot and board chair Rhona Martin will be returning to the CSRD board

Chase mayor wins by 11 votes over incumbent councillor

Results still unofficial, Rod Crowe defeats incumbent mayor Rick Berrigan

Salmon Arm polling stations reporting good turnout on election day

Early morning rush leaves polling staff feeling democracy is alive and well

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Book capture’s baby boomer’s joy of being a grandmother

Author Pauline Daniel launches novel at Salmon Arm library Monday, Oct. 22

Letter: Treasuring kindness

This letter writer wants to celebrate the kindness she received at the hospital and seniors centre

Letter: Made in Canada proportional representation system preferred

Later this month, British Columbians will be receiving their voting package in… Continue reading

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

Most Read