Influenza clinics will be open to the community at large beginning October 15th.
Dr. Judy MacDonald AHS, Medical Officer of Health for the Calgary Zone, shares in less than two weeks anyone who is six months of age or over, lives, works or goes to school in Alberta is able to receive the influenza vaccine free of charge. "It is certainly recommended for people, to protect them against influenza. When you get immunized against influenza you're not only protecting yourself but those other people you are in contact with on a daily basis."
While it is always difficult to predict how bad influenza will hit the Calgary Zone, the one guarantee is that it will come. This year the vaccine will protect against four different strains of influenza. "The vaccine has two different Influenza A strains; one that is an H3 like we saw last year and also Influenza H1 and we might be in store for that this year. There is also protection against two Influenza B strains, influenza B typically shows up at some point every year during the influenza season."
For the 2017/18 influenza season, 3047 people in Alberta were hospitalized due to influenza in comparison to 1700 the prior year with over 1100 of those occurring in the Calgary zone. When it comes to laboratory-confirmed cases the numbers were much greater at 9069 cases throughout Alberta, with 3300 confirmed within the Calgary area.
Dr. MacDonald says the consequences of influenza can, unfortunately, be deadly. "We had 92 deaths throughout Alberta and it is a reminder that influenza can be that severe."
While Dr. MacDonald encourages all those over six months of age to be vaccinated, there are some demographics she particularly stresses. "The very young, especially under two years of age but even under 5, elderly 65 and over, pregnant women...they're not necessarily more susceptible to influenza, but if they get it the consequences can be much more severe, plus anyone who has any underlining medical conditions...heart disease, lung disease or diabetes. They are the ones we really encourage to get influenza vaccine just to try to prevent them from having a really severe outcome from influenza."
Every year the World Health Organization is responsible for recommending what needs to be in the upcoming season's vaccine."They take advantage of information that is collected by laboratories from around the world about influenza viruses they are seeing. So they consider all that information and come up with a recipe for influenza vaccine and then make that recommendation in February and then manufacturers spend the next five or six months preparing the vaccine so that it is ready for us in fall."
You can get your vaccinations at the following centres and all vaccines are injectable.
Cochrane Community Health Centre- Public Health Clinic drop-in will occur on October 17, 24, and November 12 from 11 am-6:30 pm, as well as November 2 form 9:30 am-5 pm.
Sunset Ridge Pharmacy- Over 5 years of age, drop-in availability.
Two Pharmacy- Over 5 years of age available on the following days/hrs as drop-in Monday 9am-8pm, Tuesday 9-6, Wednesday 9-8, Thursday 9-8, Friday 9-8, Saturday 9-5, Sunday 12-5.
Shoppers Drug Mart- No appointment necessary.
Rexall- No appointment necessary.
Safeway- No appointment necessary.
Save On Foods- No appointment necessary.