Measles vaccine in short supply in Nova Scotia
To date there are no reported cases of measles in Nova Scotia, however concerns are heightened amid a growing number of cases in New Brunswick.
These concerns have led to an increase in vaccination requests which is in short supply in Nova Scotia.
As New Brunswick deals with two confirmed cases of measles, the health-care system in Nova Scotia remains on high alert.
“The whole health system has been primed to be on a slightly heightened alert,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Strang says the goal goes beyond being aware, though, it’s about “responding the right way so we limit potential exposure to others while we're diagnosing and treating people with measles,” he said.
The first confirmed measles patient in New Brunswick had accessed services in a Halifax area hospital back in April.
That didn't develop into any cases in Nova Scotia, but it did lead more people to check their vaccinations.
Doctors and pharmacists are reporting they are low on the vaccine or not able to stock.
“Right now, there is a shortage of vaccine; it looks like it's supposed to be rectified by the end of the month,” said pharmacist Curt Chafe.
Strang says it’s a problem with the manufacturer.
“There's been a short-term disruption nationally from problem with one of the manufacturers,” Strang said. “The result of that is that in the last few weeks … when family doctors were looking to public health to refill their orders for a vaccine, we weren't able to give them the full amount.”
In a statement, Health Canada says: “The manufacturer may not be able to meet demand until July, but they say they're working to prioritize supply.”
You can contact your family doctor or public health to check on immunization records, but of particular concern are people who were born between 1970 and 1991. It's more likely you've only had a single dose of the vaccine and Strang says you should get a secondary shot.
Another pressing concern is that many Nova Scotians don't have a family doctor. Strang acknowledges that is a challenge and says you need to contact public health and they can direct you to someone who can provide the vaccine once that vaccine is in stock.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.