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Thousands of flu vaccine doses handed to Vancouver-area health professionals

Vancouver Coastal Health launches its seasonal flu vaccine distribution program by handing out more than 400-thousand doses to Vancouver-area doctors and pharmacists.

Wednesday's distribution is at a south Vancouver centre, with medical health officer, Dr. Meena Dawar, predicting the first jabs could be offered at doctor's offices and pharmacies as early as Thursday.

Hospitals, extended health care facilities and other at-risk institutions have already received their allotments, with shots mandatory for staff, students and volunteers at all provincial health authorities.

A release from Coastal Health says this year's shot for adults protects against the H1N1 and H3N2 strains, as well as a new B strain, while vaccines for children also protect against a second B strain.

The shots are considered to be up to 50 per cent effective against the virus, with H3N2 expected to be the culprit for most flu cases this year.

Sufferers may be infectious for up to 24 hours before they have any symptoms and the health authority warns complications can be deadly, especially for seniors or those with weakened immune systems.

The Canadian Press

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