Image copyright AFP Image caption The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario’s chief of paediatrics and nephrology Gregory Sasack warned that only a quarter of children born in Canada in the past month have been vaccinated
Health officials in Toronto are preparing to administer a 1-in-6-million-chance vaccine for the flu to children aged five to 11.
Experts have warned that some strains of the virus this year are particularly dangerous, and that a vaccine is more effective when administered when a child is of a given age.
The health department is asking parents to get their kids vaccinated if they haven’t had the shot.
The new vaccine has been available since the middle of February, but had to be given extra warning before children were chosen for the pilot project because they are less likely to get sick.
The maximum infection rate could be 5% of all households, the Toronto Public Health says.
Image copyright The United Nations Spokesperson’s Office Image caption The World Health Organization advises that nasal spray is best for flu vaccination
On Monday, the manufacturer said it was on track to meet its target of producing 5 million doses of the FluMist product for the whole of Canada, including Ontario.
The initiative comes amid a larger push by the WHO to more than double the number of young people who are vaccinated every year.
Andres Duarte, vice-president of sales for California-based Agenus, said: “We believe the pilot project in Toronto will help the flu vaccine become one of the most frequently and readily available flu vaccines that is not directed at seniors.”
The vaccine consists of live but weakened influenza virus vaccine at room temperature but without the toxins, delivering only the “live” component for the moment, and disappearing after exposure to the immune system.
Other crucial components include:
There is an adjuvant: an additive that boosts the immune response and which includes substances like insulin.
A delivery device: a large spoon-shaped device that is used as a storage vial for cold and high temperatures.
But some experts worry that the vaccine is only 10% effective in the age group because it does not contain the cold virus that causes most flu infections.
The World Health Organization advises that nasal spray is best for getting a flu vaccination, and child care centres can administer it.
Image copyright AFP Image caption The Pilot Project will also introduce a Tamiflu nasal spray product to get rid of all other drug offers, although this is mostly to help deal with drug interactions with drugs like aspirin
The Toronto Public Health’s plan is also to introduce a Tamiflu nasal spray product to get rid of all other drug offers, although this is mostly to help deal with drug interactions with drugs like aspirin.
At its busiest time last year, the health department received 5,800 lab-confirmed cases of influenza.
Flu usually peaks in the fall and the new vaccine will be released in June, but the pilot project will start earlier.
Children between 5 and 11 who normally sit on their parents’ health-care plans should be kept up to date with the latest data.
Any healthy child who has never been vaccinated will be allocated a number of vaccine doses according to family size.
The details of the vaccine are online in Toronto’s health bulletin.