Albertans will have the opportunity to protect themselves and others against influenza beginning Oct. 23 through Alberta’s annual influenza immunization program.
The program will be held in various locations throughout the province to give as many Albertan’s as possible access to the flu vaccination.
The immunization is offered to all Albertans six months of age and older. It will be available at many Alberta Health Services clinics as through some pharmacists and physician offices around the province.
“We have seen cases and outbreaks of influenza already. You may be healthy now but, without immunization, everyone is at risk. Prevention is your only protection,” Dr. Digby Horne, Medical Officer of Health Central Zone told the Red Deer Express.
Last season more than 1,600 Albertans were hospitalized, and 64 died with influence over a six month period.
Use of the influenza vaccine cut the rick of contracting the illness by more than 40 per cent for Albertans, according to Horne.
“That’s great, but last year’s immunization won’t protect you this season. You need this season’s immunization to be protected this season.”
Immunization is the most effective means of protecting against the influenza virus. Each season different strains of the virus circulate. Because those strains change from season to season, Albertans cannot rely on having been immunized in years past.
Influenza causes more emergency department visits than heart attacks and strokes, not to mention significant downtime from work and leisure activities.
“Influenza does not discriminate. Though some Albertans are at greater risk of severe complications, no one is naturally immune to influenza. Please don’t take the risk. Influenza can be one less thing we battle this winter. For yourself, and your loved ones, get immunized,” said Horne.
With flu clinics starting around the province beginning Oct. 23, it is important to know where and when the nearest clinic to you will be.
Eckville will hold flu a clinic on Oct. 26, from 1-7 p.m. at the Eckville Community Health Centre. This clinic is for drop-in patients to receive their immunization. Nov. 27 from 2-7 p.m. there will be another clinic, in the same location. This clinic is only for pre-booked appointments.
Sylvan Lake will hold its first clinic at the Alliance Church from 1-7 p.m. on Nov. 2. This clinic is for drop-in patients. Nov. 30 will be the last clinic planned for Sylvan Lake. Also being held at the Alliance Church, the flu clinic will be for both drop-in and pre-booked appointments from 1-7 p.m.
Clinics planned for Red Deer at the Golden Circle on Nov. 6 from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Kentwood Alliance Church on Nov. 8 and Nov. 9 from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m.; the First Christian Reformed Church on Nov. 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Dec. 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other times include the Harvest Centre on Oct. 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Oct. 24 from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. Clinics at the Harvest Centre are also planned for Oct. 25 from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m.. Oct. 28th from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Nov. 1 from 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Harvest Centre dates are drop-in or by appointment, whereas the others listed are drop-in only.
For more information, including local clinic schedules, visit www.ahs.ca/influenza or call Health Link at 811.