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Albertans urged to immunize against influenza

Influenza vaccine is available free of charge to Fort Macleod and district residents.

Albertans are encouraged to get influenza immunization to stay healthy, protect others and reduce pressure on Alberta’s health care system.

People can book free appointments at bookvaccine.alberta.ca.

“Getting immunized has never been more important as Alberta hospitals are at capacity, strained to provide care for very sick people, including those with COVID-19,” Health Minister Jason Copping said Friday.

“We must do all that we can to protect ourselves, our families and our neighbours from COVID-19 as well as the flu.”

Copping said getting immunized will help stop the spread of influenza, reduce flu-related visits to the emergency ward and help the health system provide care to those in need.

Recent studies and reviews have confirmed it is safe for people to get their influenza vaccine at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccine, so there is no need to delay either of the immunizations.

During last year’s influenza season, a record 37 per cent of Albertans were immunized compared to 33 per cent the year before. Alberta had no lab-confirmed influenza cases and no flu-related deaths in the 2020-’21 influenza season.

“Let’s do even better than last year when we came forward in record numbers to get our flu vaccine, washed our hands regularly, covered our sneezes and stayed home when we were sick,” chief medical officer of health for Alberta Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.

“And, if you haven’t already done so, consider also getting the COVID-19 vaccine. This is something each of us can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our health-care system that we all rely on.”

This year, Albertans aged 65 years and older are eligible to receive a high-dose flu vaccine, while those aged six months to 64 years will receive the regular dose.

Both formulations protect people from four common strains of the influenza virus.

Influenza is a respiratory virus that can cause serious illness and death, particularly in vulnerable groups like seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions.

The government ordered 2.1-million doses of influenza vaccine

In the 2020-’21 influenza season, Alberta had no lab-confirmed seasonal flu cases and no flu-related deaths.

That compares to 8,470 confirmed cases of the virus in 2019-2020, and 41 deaths.

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