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COVID-19 vaccination lesson from Canada’s largest mass vaccination effort

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Toronto-In the fall of 2009, Canada launched its largest vaccination campaign to date to prevent the outbreak of influenza A (H1N1), but with varying degrees of success. Production delays, supply shortages, and difficulty in administering new vaccines.

According to Statistics CanadaBy April 2010, the majority of Canadians (59% or 16.5 million) had not been vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, also known as “swine flu.”

According to government agencies 428 Canadians died of H1N1 And thousands more were infected. Worldwide, there were more than 18,000 deaths from the virus.

There were several reasons for the delay in vaccine deployment in Canada as the H1N1 virus spread in the spring of 2009 and was not ready for the vaccine until the fall months later. Timing is important. When a healthcare provider is trying to vaccinate against seasonal flu.

Earl Brown, a virologist and former member of the Canadian H1N1 pandemic vaccine task group, was also crazy about creating the vaccine when manufacturers were suddenly forced to pay attention to the bird flu H5N1, or “bird flu.” I added that it is. Outbreak of new swine flu.

In a telephone interview from Ottawa, he told CTVNews.ca, “I was really in a hurry because the pandemic started in the spring and then vaccinated in the fall because I wanted the winter vaccine they got.” It was. Thursday.

Canada’s ambitious vaccination program for H1N1 may have had some problems along the way, but this experience is the administration of future vaccines, such as those already in the works to fight COVID-19. May provide some valuable lessons to.

Manufacturing

During the H1N1 pandemic, the federal government was criticized for relying solely on the domestic vaccine supplier GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for vaccine production.

Mr Brown said countries often prefer to produce their own vaccines domestically, in case of border closures or what he calls “vaccine nationalism.” However, relying on only one supplier carries its own risks, as production line interruptions and interruptions can impair supply across the country.

In the case of GSK, Mr Brown said it was difficult to bottle the vaccine at the Quebec plant, which caused a delay.

Internal review Health Canada’s response to the Public Health Agency of Canada and the H1N1 pandemic addressed the government’s use of the only vaccine supplier. According to the review, at the time, only one manufacturer was “interested in establishing sufficient domestic production capacity to produce enough vaccine to inoculate the entire population in the event of an influenza pandemic.” did.

According to Brown, Canada’s vaccine production capacity is actually quite limited.

“We really don’t have a vaccine company that works here in Canada, we could do some of it, but then you’re limiting yourself about that too.” He said. “We need a somewhat international company.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown has already signed contracts to distribute products with at least four vaccine manufacturers in the United States after the Canadian government has taken a proactive approach and has been developed and approved by Health Canada. Said.

“Resources are what they are and you really don’t want to limit yourself to just one Canadian resource, you have to reach out more, that’s just the fact of the matter,” he said. Said.

distribution

With the introduction of the H1N1 vaccine in the fall of 2009, there were no problems. In some states and territories, people have been waiting for vaccination for a long time, or people have been unable to get vaccinated due to lack of staff in the medical department.

In Internal review In a government response, they said the launch of the vaccine campaign was delayed due to several factors.

They included Canada’s limited vaccine production capacity. This meant that the seasonal flu vaccine had to be completed first before starting work on the H1N1 vaccine. The review also said production was temporarily suspended as GSK had to develop another vaccine for pregnant women in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidance.

Production delays have forced states and territories to face early shortages and prioritize vaccination of the most at-risk populations, including healthcare workers, the elderly, pregnant women, children, and vulnerable people I did. complications. According to reviews, it caused some confusion.

In preparation for the coronavirus vaccine, Mr Brown said the Canadian government had already pre-ordered consumables such as vials and syringes and is working on logistics to store and transport the vaccine when ready. ..

“You must be ready to get, store and distribute the vaccine. It is a public health initiative and they must be ready to achieve it.” He said.

Mr Brown said it was a significant effort for Canada’s population of more than 35 million.

“Not everyone wants a vaccine and not everyone gets it, but often they need 35 or 20 million vaccines, and if they need two doses. That’s twice that, “he said.

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