With fall comes the flu. That means starting late next month, Albertans will be able to get a free flu shot that will help prevent the spread of the virus.
“When people get immunized, they protect not only themselves but also the more vulnerable people around them who are at greater risk of getting very sick and hospitalized,” says Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw. “Beginning on October 23rd, all Albertans aged six months and over will be able to get immunized free of charge. We strongly encourage Albertans to immunized as soon as possible when the clinics open.”
This year’s vaccine protects against four different strains of the influenza virus. The nasal spray vaccine for children, FluMist will no longer be offered as part of the program as Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization no longer recommends it. The vaccine designed for seniors, Fluad will now also only be available for free to those living in Long Term Care Facilities. Both FluMist and Fluad are still on the market, but Albertans will have to pay for them instead of the free injection.
Last year about 27 percent of Albertans were immunized, which is roughly the same as the year before. The 2014-15 flu season was one of the deadliest in Albertan history, with more than 100 deaths linked to the disease.