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Influenza immunization clinic in Fort Macleod on Oct. 30

Alberta’s annual influenza immunization program got under way on Monday.
The first free clinic in Fort Macleod is Monday, Oct. 30 from 1-6 p.m. at Holy Cross Hall.
Other clinics are Tuesday, Nov. 21 from 2-6 p.m. at Holy Cross Hall and Tuesday, Dec. 12 from 1-4 p.m. at Fort Macleod Community Health.
Offering influenza immunization, free of charge, to all Albertans six months of age and older, the vaccine will be available at hundreds of Alberta Health Services public influenza immunization clinics, as well as at many pharmacists and physician offices around the province.
“We have seen cases and outbreaks of influenza already,” south zone medical officer of health Dr. Lena Derie-Gillespie said. “You may be healthy now but, without immunization, everyone is at risk. Prevention is your only protection.”
Immunization is the most effective means of protecting against the strains of influenza virus circulating each season.
Because those strains change from season to season, Albertans are reminded they cannot rely on having been immunized in years past.
“Last season, influenza immunization cut Albertans’ risk for influenza by just more than 40 per cent,” Derie-Gillespie said. “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.”
Over a six-month period last season, more than 1,600 Albertans were hospitalized and 64 Albertans died with influenza.
Influenza causes more emergency department visits than heart attacks and strokes.
“Influenza does not discriminate,” Derie-Gillespie said. “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.”

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