AHS in­fluenza im­mu­niza­tion pro­gram be­gins Mon­day

The McLeod River Post - - News -

Spe­cial to the Post

Al­ber­tans have the op­por­tu­nity to pro­tect them­selves and oth­ers against in­fluenza through Al­berta’s an­nual in­fluenza im­mu­niza­tion pro­gram.

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 (AHS) 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,”says Dr. Al­bert de Vil­liers, AHS Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health, North Zone.“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. 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, not to men­tion sig­nif­i­cant down­time from work and leisure ac­tiv­i­ties.

“In­fluenza does not dis­crim­i­nate,” says Dr. de Vil­liers. “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.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing lo­cal clinic sched­ules, visit www.ahs. ca/in­fluenza or call Health Link at 811.

Al­berta Health Ser­vices is the pro­vin­cial health au­thor­ity re­spon­si­ble for plan­ning and de­liv­er­ing health sup­ports and ser­vices for more than four mil­lion adults and chil­dren liv­ing in Al­berta. Its mis­sion is to pro­vide a pa­tient-fo­cused, qual­ity health sys­tem that is ac­ces­si­ble and sus­tain­able for all Al­ber­tans.

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