Alberta sets target for big increase in number of people getting flu shots

Alberta is gearing up for the flu season with an ambitious plan to almost double the number of people who get flu shots.

EDMONTON — Alberta is gearing up for the flu season with an ambitious plan to almost double the number of people who get flu shots.

Alberta Health Services says it has ordered more than 2 million doses of vaccine and hopes 45 per cent of people in the province will roll up their sleeves to be immunized.

Last year the province faced a shortage with 1.2 million doses and had an immunization rate of about 27 per cent.

Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical health officer, says when the “Get It Before You Need It” campaign begins Oct. 20, people can get free shots at public health clinics, a larger number of pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

Predy says Alberta also hopes to increase the immunization rate of health-care workers to 80 per cent from about 55 per cent last year.

He says reaching these targets would help already busy hospitals from being overloaded during the flu season.

“It can be a very serious illness and lead to death and hospitalization,” Predy says. “It puts a lot of pressure on our hospitals and emergency departments.

“People can not only protect themselves, but protect others in the community.”

The federal National Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly suggests that health workers get flu shots, saying that refusal to be immunized implies failure in their duty of care to patients.

The committee calls flu shots an essential part of the standard of care for health workers for the protection of their patients.

Predy said Alberta will try to encourage more health workers to get flu shots by promoting the benefits of immunization, including honouring staff who get shots as “flu champions.”

He said if the voluntary approach isn’t successful, Alberta will consider following the British Columbia government’s policy of requiring health workers to either get a flu shot or wear a mask while on the job.

“Part of our messaging to our staff is it is part of their duty of care to patients. We are stressing to our staff our objective is that no patient should get influenza from one of our staff. That is something that is just not acceptable.”

Alberta Health Services says the flu immunization campaign will feature a media blitz this month to encourage people to get protected, not infected.

The province is already running immunization ads on buses and bus stops with a darker message.

Two of the ads make reference to polio and whooping cough epidemics that killed more than 100 Albertans during the 1950s.

The slogan on these ads is: “Keep The Past Where It Belongs.”

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read