AHS influenza immunization program begins Monday
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.