Alberta Health Services has decided to reopen flu clinics in Edmonton and Calgary following a rapid increase in cases of H1N1, including two deaths in Alberta linked to the disease.

There are now 128 confirmed cases of influenza in Edmonton, with the vast majority of cases being of the H1N1 strain. H1N1 was deemed a pandemic in 2009 and is now considered the dominant strain of seasonal influenza this year.

AHS has also reported at least one death in Edmonton and one in Calgary.

Originally, AHS planned to close vaccination clinics over the Christmas break. However, because of the increase in cases, three clinics in Edmonton — Bonnie Doon, Northgate and West Jasper Place — and two clinics in Calgary — Brentwood Village Mall and South Calgary Health Centre — will all offer shots on Dec 27, with some of the clinics open Dec 28 and 30.

Alberta's chief medical health officer, Dr. Gerry Predy, said an unusual number of people are showing up at hospitals with severe respiratory illness.