Alberta says more people need to get flu shots — 66 cases so far in the province

Alberta health officials say not enough people are rolling up their sleeves for a free flu shot.

EDMONTON — Alberta health officials say not enough people are rolling up their sleeves for a free flu shot.

Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical officer of health, said so far this season more than 950,000 doses of flu vaccine have been administered.

He said that’s a good start, but thousands of people remain without protection.

As of last Saturday, the province has reported 66 cases of influenza, including 19 people who had to be hospitalized.

Flu activity in Alberta is listed as sporadic with most cases in the southern half of the province.

Dr. Martin Lavoie, Alberta’s acting chief medical officer, said some people could be complacent about getting immunized because the vaccine last year was not very effective in preventing the most prevalent strain of the flu at the time.

He said such thinking would be a mistake.

“If you don’t get the vaccine, you don’t get protected,” he said Thursday. “This year, all indications are that the vaccine will be effective.”

The unseasonably warm weather this fall could also be a factor, he added.

Lavoie said the number of flu cases could increase and peak in the coming weeks.

The Alberta government hopes 40 per cent of people will get immunized this season.

Only about 30 per cent of people had the shot during the previous flu season. Last year, 101 people died in the province of flu-related causes.

The latest Public Health Agency of Canada report says flu activity across Canada in the last week of November was significantly lower than previous seasons.

The agency says most cases involve people who are older than 65.

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