Alberta flu expert concerned about lack of immunization

Alberta saw more flu deaths last season than it had in more than 20 years and a Calgary flu researcher worries the province's low immunization rate could lead to more vulnerable people getting sick this year.

Fewer than a third of Albertans got the shot last flu season, while more than 100 people died

A flu researcher at the University of Calgary hopes more people will get the flu vaccine this year. (Chuck Stoody/Canadian Press)

After a particularly deadly season last year, a flu expert in Alberta is worried too few people will get vaccinated this season — especially healthy and young people.

Dr. James Dickinson, who studies influenza at the University of Calgary, says young adults mostly recover when they get the flu but can carry the virus and spread it to others more vulnerable.

"We'd like to get more of those [young] people vaccinated," Dickinson said.

Record high for flu deaths

More than 100 Albertans died from flu-related illnesses in the last flu season — a record high for the past two decades. Most of those deaths were of seniors.

Fewer than a third of Albertans got the flu shot last year, missing Alberta Health Services' target immunization rate of 45 per cent.

This season, the province hopes to get 40 per cent of people vaccinated.

Flu clinics will open across Alberta on Oct. 20.


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