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Influenza immunization program under way in south zone

Alberta’s annual influenza immunization program got under way Monday.
The first clinic in Fort Macleod is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27 at Holy Cross Hall.
The second clinic is 2-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, also at Holy Cross Hall.
Free flu shots are also available at the pharmacy at Extra Foods in Fort Macleod.
“We are already seeing cases of influenza in Alberta,” said Dr. Karin Goodison, medical officer of health for the south zone. “You may be healthy now, but without immunization, everyone is at risk. Prevention is your only protection.”
Influenza immunization is available free of charge to all Albertans six months of age and older.
Immunization is the most effective means of protecting against the strains of influenza virus circulating this season.
Because those strains change from season to season, Albertans are reminded that they cannot rely on having been immunized in years past.
“Last season, influenza immunization cut Albertans’ risk for influenza in half,” Goodison said. “That’s great, but last year’s immunization won’t protect you this season. You need this season’s immunization to be protected.
In six months alone last season, more than 1,600 Albertans were hospitalized with influenza and 62 Albertans died.
Influenza causes more emergency department visits than heart attacks and strokes, and hospitalizes more children than poisonings.
“Influenza does not discriminate,” Goodison said. “Though some Albertans are at greater risk of severe complications, no one is immune to its potentially severe impact. Please don’t take that risk.”
“For yourself, and your loved ones, get immunized.”

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