October 12, 2018
EDMONTON – Starting Monday (Oct. 15), Albertans have the opportunity to protect themselves and others against influenza through Alberta’s annual influenza immunization program.
The vaccine will be available free of charge to all Albertans six months of age and older at hundreds of Alberta Health Services (AHS) public influenza immunization clinics, as well as at many pharmacists and physician offices around the province that can provide immunization to Albertans five years of age and older.
“All of us have a role in reducing the spread of influenza,” says Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health. “I encourage all Albertans to do their part and get immunized this season to help protect themselves, their families and communities from influenza.”
“It is important to get immunized early in the season,” adds Dr. Christopher Sikora, Acting Senior Medical Officer of Health for AHS. “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 influenza strains change season to season, Albertans cannot rely on having been immunized in years past.
“Last season, influenza immunization cut Albertans’ risk for influenza by just over 40 per cent,” says Dr. Sikora. “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.”
Last influenza season, more than 3,000 Albertans with influenza were hospitalized and 92 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. Sikora. “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.
For media inquiries, contact: