Influenza vaccine is arriving in pharmacies and doctors’ offices across the province this week.
“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. 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.”Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health
“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. 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.”Darren Erickson, president, Alberta Pharmacists’ Association
Influenza immunization is free to all Albertans over five years of age at pharmacies, and to Albertan six months or older at public clinics and some doctors’ offices.
Large influenza immunization clinics will begin in the week of Oct. 21.
To find out when influenza immunization will be available in your area, check with your doctor’s office or community pharmacy, call Health Link at 811, or for AHS immunization clinics, visit www.ahs.ca/influenza.
- Influenza is a respiratory virus that can cause serious illness and death, particularly in vulnerable groups like seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions.
- There are many strains of influenza. The vaccine is formulated each year to protect against the strains expected to cause the most illness in Canada, based on advice from the World Health Organization about which strains are circulating elsewhere in the world.
- Alberta offers a four-strain (quadrivalent) injectable influenza vaccine produced by two manufacturers (Fluzone and FluLaval Tetra). It will be offered to eligible Albertans six months of age and older.
- For the 2019-20 season, enough vaccine has been ordered to immunize 35 per cent of the population at a cost of approximately $12.5 million.
- Stats for the 2018-19 flu season:
- The immunization rate was 31 per cent (1,317,659 doses of vaccine administered), compared to 29 per cent in 2017-18.
- Approximately 55 per cent of all influenza immunizations were administered by Alberta pharmacies.
- There were 7,698 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in Alberta, compared to 9,609 cases in 2017-18.
- There were 52 deaths among hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza, compared to 92 deaths in 2017-18.