Above: Minister Tyler Shandro and Dr. Deena Hinshaw receive the flu shot in this GOA photo
by Stephen Dafoe
The Government of Alberta announced Tuesday that flu shots are available free of charge across the province at pharmacies and doctors’ offices. Additionally, immunization appointments for those under five years old and those in their household are available through Alberta Health Services (AHS).
The government has ordered a 1.96 million doses of vaccine this year, enough for 45 per cent of Alberta’s population. Thirty-three per cent of Albertans got the vaccine in 2019, an increase of three per cent from the year before.
“The flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce your chances of getting sick with influenza and spreading it to others,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of health, in a media rleease Tuesday. “While getting immunized helps, it’s also crucial to wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes and stay home when sick. If you have flu symptoms, book a test for COVID-19 as symptoms are similar. Let’s all do our part to keep one another safe.”
In an effort to limit COVID-19 spread, the government has shifted its approach this year from large public clinics to direct support by appointment through AHS, pharmacies and doctors’ offices. Albertans are encouraged to call ahead to physicians and pharmacies to see if appointments are available. Residents 65 and older in provincially funded long-term care facilities can receive a high-dose influenza vaccine.
Last year there were 41 deaths among hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza, compared with 52 deaths in 2018-19.
As of Monday, Morinville has eight active COVID-19 cases, down one from Friday, and Sturgeon County has 11, an increase of two from Friday. Provincially, there are 117 in hospital (3.72% of active cases) and 18 in intensive care (.5% of active cases).