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Officials urge immunization at Fort Macleod clinic

Albertans have the opportunity to get protected — and not infected — with the launch this week of Alberta’s annual influenza immunization program.
The first flu clinic of the season in Fort Macleod is Thursday, Oct. 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
Albertans aged six months and over are eligible to receive the influenza immunization free of charge. People are asked to bring their Alberta Health Care Card and wear a short-sleeved shirt.
The second clinic in Fort Macleod is from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 at the community hall.
“Influenza arrives every year. The good news is, influenza vaccines get here first,” said Dr. Vivien Suttorp, south zone medical officer of health. “This year, we strongly encourage Albertans to take advantage and get immunized before influenza arrives.”
Offering influenza immunization free of charge to Albertans six months of age and older, the program will make both injectible and nasal spray vaccine easily available.
Influenza has not yet arrived in Alberta but it is imminent.
Because it takes about two weeks after immunization to be fully protected, Alberta Health Services is encouraging all Albertans to get it before they need it.
“It’s pretty simple,” Suttorp said. “To be protected this season, you need to be immunized this season. Without immunization, you are at risk.”
Immunization is the single most effective means of protection against the strains of influenza virus expected to circulate this season.
Because those strains change from season to season, Albertans are reminded they cannot rely on having been immunized in previous years.
The risk of influenza is not something to be underestimated.
Last season, more than 1,200 Albertans were hospitalized — and 30 died — due to influenza.
Thousands more suffered from the illness and put those around them at risk of contracting influenza as well.
“Albertans should think of influenza immunization as their armour against an invading enemy,” Suttorp said. “Be battle ready: arm yourself against influenza by getting immunized before it arrives.”

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