Update 12 November: Some 46,000 flu vaccines arrived in the Canaries today and Sanidad says that the flu vaccination campaign will resume on Thursday once the supplies have been distributed to health centres.
Update 2 November: Sanidad could authorize the use of the vaccines stored in the Canaries after Canada and Switzerland have lifted their temporary halt and started to use their own. It seems that checks carried out show that the particles do not present any health risks. The director general de Salud Pública del Gobierno de Canarias, José Díaz Flores, said that the situation is changing day to day, and if the go-ahead is given, there will be 250,000 vaccines here for immediate use, to which will be added tens of thousands being sent from other autonomous regions. One way or another, he said, there will be vaccines next week.
Update 25 October 6pm: The flu jab campaign has been suspended because of a “pharmaceutical alert” which was raised because white floating protein particles were discovered in some batches of the vaccine. Delivery of the batches has been halted, with the vaccine kept in optimum conditions so that the campaign can be resumed if the particles are found to be harmless. Sanidad stressed that of those who have already been vaccinated, no adverse reaction has been noted. If the campaign has to be definitively stopped, Sanidad says that some eight autonomous regions will be left without vaccine cover. In such a case, a flu epidemic cannot be ruled out. The Canarian Government is working with the Ministerio de Sanidad and the Agencia del Medicamento to acquire other doses from alternative laboratories, and if these can be acquired, those at particular risk will be prioritized.
Update 25 October: The flu vaccination campaign has been suspended for the moment after the Agencia Española de Medicamentos y Productos Sanitarios stopped a series of batches of the vaccine, as a “preventative measure”. The Consejería de Sanidad made the announcement this morning, and said that the director of the Servicio Canario de la Salud (SCS), Juana María Reyes Melián, and the head of the Public Health’s Servicio de Epidemiología y Prevención, Domingo Núñez will give a press conference at 5pm to explain further.
Update 18 October: The 2012-2013 flu vaccination campaign is now underway and injections will be available from next Monday, 22 October: patients just need to ring 012 to make an appointment. Sanidad stresses that those in groups considered to be at special risk of complications from flu should make early appointments: supplies are available for 250,000 vaccinations. Groups considered at particular risk are health workers, over-65s, chronically ill (e.g. asthmatics, diabetics, those with heart conditions or immune system problems), pregnant women, and the morbidly obese (with a body mass index over 40). For more information, Sanidad refers to the World Health Organization HERE.
Original post 1 October: The winter flu vaccination campaign will start a bit later this year because of delays in supplies. Sanidad said that the Canaries is not the only autonomous region affected, and that the delay shouldn’t have a noticeable effect on the public because flu outbreaks here always run behind those on the mainland, namely between the end of December and the middle of March. Sanidad hopes to be able to give the definitive dates for the flu vaccination campaign in the next few days.