It’s officially flu season.
Alberta Health Services has announced that the annual flu shot is now available throughout the province, with Albertans being encouraged to get immunized to protect both themselves and their at-risk neighbours.
Just last year, approximately 1.3 million free doses of the vaccine were administered to Albertans, though that only accounted for 31% of the total population of the province.
The Alberta government has ramped up the offer for this year, with 1.6 million doses being ordered, which is enough to provide the free vaccine to 35% of Albertans, according to a release from the Province of Alberta.
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Even if you are a fit, healthy, young adult, it is recommended that you get the vaccine anyway because it can help to protect the people that may have weaker immune systems.
“Getting your flu shot is one of the best things you can do to protect your own health and that of your community; and it’s never been easier,” said Minister of Health Tyler Shandro in the release.
“I encourage all Albertans to join me in getting immunized this season by visiting their local pharmacy or doctor’s office, or an AHS public clinic.”
The release also states that 7,698 lab-confirmed cases of influenza were reported for Alberta last year alone, and 52 people who were hospitalized with the virus died as a result.
“Over the past 10 years, Alberta pharmacists have become the single largest provider of influenza vaccine to Albertans. As front-line health-care providers, one of our primary roles is to help people stay healthy,” said Darren Erickson, president of Alberta Pharmacists’ Association, in the release.
“Vaccination protects the most vulnerable people in our communities and decreases costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations; it’s another way pharmacists help keep Albertans healthy.”
The free flu shots are offered to all Albertans over the age of four at clinics throughout the province.