Albertans can now book their free influenza immunization appointments online.
Starting Monday, people can use https://bookvaccine.alberta.ca/vaccine/s/ to book a free flu vaccination appointment. If appointments are not available online in your area Albertans can phone their local pharmacy or doctor’s office to find out when influenza vaccinations will be available. You can also contact Health Link at 811 to book appointments. Pharmacies will be welcoming drop-ins starting Monday, Oct. 18.
Albertans aged 65 and older are eligible to receive a high-dose flu vaccine while those aged six months to 64 years will receive the regular dose. Both formulations protect people from four common strains of the influenza virus.
In a Friday news release minister of health, Jason Copping says getting immunized has never been more important because Alberta hospitals are at capacity and straining to provide care for very sick people, including those with COVID-19.
“We must do all that we can to protect ourselves, our families and our neighbours from COVID-19,” copping says. “Getting immunized will help stop the spread of influenza, reduce flu-related visits to the emergency ward and help our health system provide care to those in need.”
Recent studies and reviews have confirmed it is safe for people to receive a flu shot at the same time as their COVID-19 vaccine. Last year 37 per cent of Albertans were immunized compared to 33 per cent the year before. Alberta reported no lab-confirmed influenza cases and no flu-related deaths during the 2020/21 flu season. That compares to 8,470 confirmed cases of the virus in 2019-2020 and 41 deaths.
Chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw is encouraging Albertans to do even better than last year.
“Let’s do even better than last year when we came forward in record numbers to get our flu vaccine, washed our hands regularly, covered our sneezes and stayed home when we were sick,” she says in the news release. “And, if you haven’t already done so, consider also getting the COVID-19 vaccine. This is something each of us can do to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our healthcare system that we all rely on.
President and CEO of Alberta Health Services, Dr. Verna Yiu says that after more than 19 months into the pandemic response, they are encouraging Albertans to roll up their sleeves again to get immunized against influenza.
“By keeping the number of influenza cases low, we can help protect at-risk Albertans and reduce the pressure on our healthcare system,” says Yiu in the news release. “Now more than ever before we need to work together to protect each other and our health-care system.”
The Alberta government has ordered 2.1 million doses of influenza vaccine to help protect the health of Albertans.