Flu clinic target 130,000

About 11,000 Central Albertans have been immunized against influenza by public health officials at long-term care facilities and public clinics.

About 11,000 Central Albertans have been immunized against influenza by public health officials at long-term care facilities and public clinics.

In Red Deer, clinics started a week ago and will continue into November.

The single influenza shot is available free from Alberta Health Services and will protect against both H1N1 influenza that sparked a worldwide pandemic last year, and seasonal influenza strains expected to circulate this year: influenza B and H3N2.

Dr. Digby Horne, one of two medical officers of health for Central Zone of AHS, said the aim is to get one-third of Albertans immunized, which calculates to about 130,000 Central Albertans.

“(Immunization) numbers are a little bit lower than anticipated but there will be still lots of opportunity to be immunized,” Horne said on Tuesday.

“It is important to remember influenza strains drift (or change) over time and immunity only lasts about six to eight months. Even though you were immunized last year with the pandemic strain, we still recommend getting immunized again.”

And the injection will also protect people against two seasonal influenza strains, he said.

Immunization is available free to all Albertans six months of age and older.

Clinics will run at the former Sears location at Parkland Mall:

• Today from 1 to 8 p.m.

• Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Oct. 25, 26 and 27 from 1 to 8 p.m.

• Oct. 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Nov. 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 18, 22 and 23 from 1 to 8 p.m.

• Nov. 6, 15 and 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Nov. 12 from 12 to 3 p.m.

• Nov. 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Clinics will also run in other Central Alberta communities. To check for location and hours of operation, go to www.albertahealthservices.ca or call HEALTHLINK Alberta at toll free at 1-866-408-5465.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com