One million and counting
December 4, 2009
Vaccination campaign reaches milestone, much more work to be done
In just under six weeks, Alberta Health Services has vaccinated one million Albertans against the Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza virus.
The one millionth vaccination came on Dec. 3, meaning nearly one third of people in the province are protected against Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment in a very short period of time," said Dr. Gerry Predy, Senior Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services. "In an average seasonal influenza vaccination campaign we will see close to 600,000 Albertans immunized between late September and March, so we have really achieved a lot since the start of the H1N1 campaign on Oct. 26."
Dr. Stephen Duckett, CEO of Alberta Health Services, credits the hard work of AHS staff for the milestone.
"This challenge throughout the health system has been met with dedication and professionalism," he says. "It has been nothing less than remarkable. Within our still-new organization, people have pulled together to meet the needs of our patients – and their colleagues – compassionately and competently.
"In essence, our staff and physicians came together as a team in a thousand different ways to help Albertans and each other through this challenge."
While the one millionth vaccination is an important milestone and source of pride, everyone in AHS realizes that more than two million people still require their shot and that there is a lot more work to do.
Mass vaccination clinics continue to operate around the province to give Albertans many opportunities to protect themselves. As well, with the national vaccine shortage ended, H1N1 vaccine is now being made available to family physicians and other groups in an effort to reach as many Albertans as possible.
"It is extremely important that Albertans continue to come forward and be vaccinated. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself, your family and your community from the H1N1 virus," adds Dr. Predy. "By having more people vaccinated we reduce the potential impact of the third wave of the virus. Please do your part and get vaccinated."