The influenza vaccine will be provided, free of charge, to Albertans six months of age and older at locations around the province, beginning in two weeks on October 15, 2018.
Alberta’s influenza immunization program has also expanded for the 2018-19 flu season:
- Pharmacists can offer the flu shot to people aged five and up. Previously, pharmacists were only able to offer immunization to individuals nine years of age and older.
- Other immunization providers, such as pharmacists and some physicians, will now be able to offer influenza immunization to residents and staff in supportive living facilities.
- Influenza is a virus that primarily affects the respiratory system and can cause serious illness and death, particularly in vulnerable groups like seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions.
- There are multiple strains of influenza “A” and “B.” Experts from the World Health Organization predict which strains will circulate every year and vaccines are manufactured based on the evidence.
- For the 2018-19 season, Alberta is offering one kind of flu vaccine. A four-strain injectable influenza vaccine produced by two manufacturers (vaccine names Fluzone and Flulaval Tetra) will be offered to Albertans six months of age and older.
- For the 2018-19 flu season, 1.6 million doses of vaccine were ordered at a cost of $12.6 million, enough vaccine to immunize 35 per cent of the population.
Preliminary AHS stats for the 2017-18 flu season:
- The immunization rate was 29 per cent (1,229,350 doses of vaccine administered), compared to 27 per cent the previous year.
- There were 9,609 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in Alberta last year.
There were 92 deaths among hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza.