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H1N1 Restrictions Lifted In Some Health Units Across Ontario

More people in Ontario can now get the H1N1 vaccine and Toronto will expand its program on Wednesday.

Several local public health units have opened up their swine flu vaccination programs, including Niagara, Hamilton, Kingston, Algoma, Haldimand-Norfolk, Simcoe Muskoka, Timmins and Cornwall.

“We’re ready for this, we’ve got the amount of vaccines on hand that we need and we’ve got the clinic capacities and injectors and nurses …everything’s ready to go,” outlined Dr. Chris Mackie of Hamilton Public Health.

Peel Region will begin vaccinating the general public on Thursday.

In Toronto and Ottawa, only priority groups were vaccinated on Tuesday.

“I think it’s important to remember that there are varying capacities throughout the province to actually deliver this program,” outlined Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer.

“With our supply and capacity to deliver, we will expand accordingly … I don’t want to pre-judge the scope to which we are going to expand later this week but there will be a significant expansion,” Dr. Arlene King added.

The Ministry of Health says there is no set date yet for opening up swine flu shots to those not in the priority groups. However, there will be an announcement of the official expansion plan on Thursday.

In Ontario, 61 people have died from the flu since April. Across Canada, 161 people have died.

The country’s chief public health officer says few Canadians have suffered serious side effects from the swine-flu shot.

Dr. David Butler-Jones says that of the 6.5 million people who have received the H1N1 vaccine, only 36 have had serious adverse reactions.

“With any vaccination campaign, we expect to see some cases of serious adverse events,” he said. “They are very rare, but they are part of all mass-vaccination campaigns and we expect to see a small number of them.”

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With files from The Canadian Press.