Calgary

Nearly 600,000 Albertans have been immunized for the flu

Albertans have been administered more than 597,000 doses of the flu shot so far this year, an increase of more than 50,000 when compared to the same time period last year.

Health officials said that's an increase of more than 50,000 doses over this time last year

Flu vaccines are now available across Alberta. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Albertans have been administered more than 597,000 doses of the flu shot so far this year, an increase of more than 50,000 when compared to the same time period last year.

"Thank you for doing your part to help stop the spread of influenza, and helping our health system stay focused on the pandemic response," Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, said Thursday at a news conference.

Health officials have said this year it is more important than ever to get the flu shot because of the pandemic. 

Hinshaw has said that the province is trying to avoid more COVID-19 tests due to influenza symptoms, considering both influenza and COVID-19 are respiratory infections and may have similar symptoms.

"The flu shot won't prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce your chances of getting influenza and spreading it to others," she said Thursday.

The flu shot is available in doctor's offices and pharmacies across the province. 

All Albertans aged six months of age and older can be immunized free of charge, but pharmacists and physicians are working to provide the flu shot to different ages and demographics as per AHS direction.

Last year, 1.4 million Albertans were immunized and the province ordered 1.96 million doses of the vaccine this year, which is a record.

The province aims to provide the vaccination to 80 per cent of children, seniors, people who are high risk, and health-care workers.

"Getting immunized is an act of kindness, to yourself, and to the community that we all belong in," Hinshaw said.

With files from Sarah Rieger

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