BELLEVILLE - A former chief medical officer of health for Ontario is blasting the province's influenza vaccination program, saying generally healthy people who aren't at serious risk of flu complications probably don't need the vaccine.
“It's here if you want it … but I'm not actively promoting it for the general population,” Dr. Richard Schabas said Wednesday at a meeting of the Hastings and Prince Edward Counties Board of Health in Belleville, where he's the counties' medical officer of health.
He said there are signs this year's vaccine may be a “poor match” against the strain expected to be prevalent this year.
“Last year they got it wrong and this year there are indications they may have gotten it wrong this year,” he said. Schabas noted a mismatch this year may not be to the degree of that seen last year, when the United States' Centers for Disease Control estimated effectiveness at 23 per cent.
Because of last year's mismatch, he said, “We immunized five million people (in Ontario) at a cost of about $100 million for no net benefit.