Influenza immunization to begin October 12
October 1, 2010
Albertans to be offered one shot
EDMONTON – On October 12, Alberta will launch its annual influenza immunization program, offering influenza vaccine, free of charge, to all Albertans six months of age and older. This year, a single influenza shot will protect Albertans against both seasonal influenza and H1N1. The influenza vaccine will be made available through influenza immunization clinics, after Thanksgiving.
“Influenza immunization is key to reducing the transmission of influenza amongst Albertans this year," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. André Corriveau. “It is our single best defence against influenza infection and illness. I recommend all Albertans get immunized over the coming months.”
Alberta has already received large shipments of influenza vaccine, and will continue to receive more vaccine throughout the influenza season.
“While we strongly encourage those at higher risk of influenza-related health complications to get immunized early in the influenza season, all Albertans will benefit from the vaccine,” said Alberta Health Services Medical Officer of Health Dr. Marcia Johnson.
Individuals at higher risk for complications and/or severe infection as a result of influenza include: young children six to 23 months old, seniors 65 years and older, long-term care residents, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and anyone with a chronic medical condition. Individuals in these groups are encouraged to get the influenza vaccine early in the influenza season.
Influenza is an infection of the respiratory tract (nose, throat and lungs) that is caused by a virus. It spreads easily from person to person through sneezing and coughing, and sometimes through objects that have been sneezed or coughed upon. The term influenza (or flu) is often mistakenly used to describe other illnesses like colds or stomach flu.
Influenza vaccine is developed annually to protect against the three strains of influenza expected to circulate during the influenza season. This season, H1N1 (A/California), H3N2 (A/Victoria) and Influenza B/Brisbane are expected to be the circulating influenza strains; this year’s influenza vaccine protects against all three of these strains.
For complete clinic schedules and local details visit: www.albertahealthservices.ca, or call HealthLink Alberta toll-free at 1.866.408.LINK (5465); in the Edmonton-area call 780.408.LINK (5465); in the Calgary-area call 403.943.LINK (5465). Vaccine will also be available through some physicians and pharmacies beginning mid-October.
Please see attached backgrounder for additional information on influenza.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than 3.7 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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