Vaccine supply too low to help

Canada is unlikely to dip into its limited supply of H1N1 vaccine to help meet Afghanistan’s plea for help to deal with a pandemic that has already claimed 11 lives in the country.

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Canada is unlikely to dip into its limited supply of H1N1 vaccine to help meet Afghanistan’s plea for help to deal with a pandemic that has already claimed 11 lives in the country.

Both civilian and military officials have indicated that Canada’s stockpiles of the vaccine are too low to make doses available to Afghan civilians.

There have been 779 confirmed cases of swine flu in Afghanistan since July, when the virus is believed to have spread from a group of four American soldiers at Bagram Air Base.

Of those cases, 320 were identified among foreign troops.

“So far we don’t have any preventive vaccines,” said Dr Ahmad Farid Raaid, a spokesperson for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health.

The ministry is expecting to receive a shipment of 550,000 doses of H1N1 vaccine from World Health Organization donors by next week. It has already shut schools across the country for a three-week period in an effort to stop the virus from spreading.

Most of the cases have been concentrated in Kabul, where an outbreak was recently detected at an Afghan National Army recruiting centre. But cases have also been identified in Parwan, Kandahar and Herat.

“If the situation deteriorates, we may need more medicine,” said Raaid.

But Canada won’t be contributing to the shipment, even though the Afghan government sent a request to the embassy for support over the weekend.

“We will try to help them… but it may be difficult to respond to the request for vaccine given the shortages in Canada,” Ambassador Bill Crosbie told The Canadian Press.

The Canadian military, which started vaccinating soldiers and affiliated civilians last week, acknowledged its own supplies were too low to provide vaccinations to locals.

“It’s not something we have the mandate to do at present,” said Task Force Surgeon Cmdr. Rob Briggs.

“And at this point the vaccine is in such sort supply that that’s likely not going to be forthcoming.”

Various Canadian government departments are in the process of determining other ways to respond to Kabul’s request, including the possibility of sending medical supplies.

“There will be a consultation with our own public health officials about what we can provide given the circumstances,” said Crosbie.

So far, more than 2,000 of the 2,800 Canadian soldiers in Kandahar have been vaccinated. Consular staff in Kabul have also received their shots.

There are, however, no firm numbers indicating how many Canadian soldiers have actually contracted the virus because the military lacks the required lab equipment.

Just Posted

Forest fire smoke alert for Central Alberta

Poor air quality and reduced visibility

Ponoka liquor store robbed

One suspect charged so far

Women’s Outreach looking for school supplies for low income Central Albertans

With the back-to-school season upon us, Women’s Outreach is looking to the… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Turning on Trump doesn’t buy credibility for black Americans

WASHINGTON — For years, Omarosa Manigault Newman stood at Donald Trump’s side,… Continue reading

Senior Chinese monk accused of sexual misconduct quits post

BEIJING — One of China’s most high-profile Buddhist monks has resigned from… Continue reading

Priests molested 1,000 children in Pennsylvania, report says

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A priest raped a 7-year-old girl while he was… Continue reading

Death toll hits 39 in Italy bridge collapse; blame begins

GENOA, Italy — Italian emergency workers pulled two more bodies out of… Continue reading

Constellation Brands spending $5 billion to increase stake in Canopy Growth

SMITH FALLS, Ont. — Constellation Brands has signed a deal to invest… Continue reading

Women-owned businesses generate $68,000 less revenue than men’s: survey

TORONTO — When Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her… Continue reading

Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

TORONTO — The case of Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard, who faces three… Continue reading

Fredericton woman recounts terrifying moments after gunshots rang out

FREDERICTON — She awoke to the crack of gunfire, the shots fired… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month