Albertans keep H1N1 clinics busy
October 26, 2009
CHRIS SIMNETT and NOREEN REMTULLA
Craig Skrynyk is 38 years old, healthy and hoping to stay that way.
That's why the Chestermere resident was in northeast Calgary to get his Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza immunization, as soon as it was available, from Alberta Health Services (AHS).
"I’ve been pushing everybody at my work to go and get their (H1N1) flu shots as well as their regular flu shots," says Skrynyk while rolling his sleeve down after receiving his H1N1 immunization.
"There are lots of people who tell me they will get sick if they get a shot. I explain to them that it's a dead bug they use in these vaccines. The most that's ever happened to me (after getting an influenza vaccination) is I have a sore arm for a few hours afterwards. That's no big deal. I’d rather have a sore arm than be sick."
The H1N1 vaccine is approved by Health Canada and has undergone rigorous safety testing before being released to the public.
AHS started to roll out public H1N1 immunization clinics in most centres October 26 and long lineups were reported around the province.
About 4,000 doses were administered at four Calgary mass vaccination clinics within the first 6.5 hours.
At an Edmonton clinic, Derek Goberdhan spent three hours to get his H1N1 immunization but says the wait was worth it.
"I expected the wait, especially on the first day," he said. "After hearing all of the stories about H1N1, I thought I'd better be safe than sorry."
Nicole Cowley concurs.
She also visited an Edmonton clinic, along with her two-year-old daughter Mackenzie, to ensure they’re both immunized against H1N1.
"I couldn't live with the fact if (Mackenzie) got sick," said Cowley.
"It was really important to get it done and I just wanted to get it done today. We'd be more protected. The longer you wait, the bigger your chances of (contracting H1N1)."
All Albertans are welcome to receive their H1N1 immunization. However, AHS encourages individuals who are at high risk to get vaccinated as soon as possible. This includes:
- People under 65 with chronic health conditions and their caregivers.
- Pregnant women.
- Children six months to less than five years of age and their caregivers.
- People living in remote and isolated settings or communities.
- Health care workers involved in pandemic response or the delivery of essential health care services.
- Household contacts and care providers of persons at risk who cannot be immunized or may not respond to vaccines.
Albertans are encouraged to be patient and not allow wait times to deter them from getting vaccinated.
For detailed clinic information, including dates, times and locations, visit http://www4.albertahealthservices.ca/Immunization/ or call Health Link Alberta toll-free at 1-866-408-5465, in the Edmonton area at 780-408-5465 or in the Calgary area at 403-943-5465.