Health officials encourage Calgarians to get flu shot

Public health officials are hoping the flu vaccine recall doesn't keep people from rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.

Doctors say despite recall, flu shots are still safe

Public health officials are hoping the flu vaccine recall doesn't keep people from rolling up their sleeves to get the shot.

The vaccine — produced by Novartis — was pulled after the company found tiny clumps of protein floating in some batches.

Ramona Costa has never taken her daughter to get a flu shot, and she doesn't plan to anytime soon.

"Now that I know about it, it's kinda scary," Costa said. "I'm just glad I didn't do it."

The recall comes at a time when immunization rates are dropping and public health officials are trying to get more people vaccinated.

"Whenever there's an issue with healthcare and particularly with vaccines, then there's always a level of suspicion that rises with the public," said Chloe Atkins who teaches communications at the University of Calgary.

Atkins says that could make it more difficult to convince people to get the flu shot.

Microbiologist Dr. Glenn Armstrong says the worst case scenario is that the vaccine may not be as effective.

"So the immunity that they would develop to the vaccine would not protect them from the flu," Armstrong said.

Alberta Health officials say so far there is no indication that is the case. They say clumping is common, and hope the recall doesn't shake people's confidence in a vaccine that can save lives.