Clinics immunizing at rate of 300 patients per hour

H1N1 clinics in Central Alberta this week attracted thousands of people.

Hundreds of people line up outside the Crossroads Church west of the city for a flu immunization clinic on Thursday morning. People began lining up for the clinic at about 5 a.m. and by 9 a.m. traffic was reportedly backed up to Taylor Drive along 32nd Street. The clinic also extend their hours to 8 p.m. on Thursday to help get through all those that wanted to receive the seasonal and H1N1 vaccine.

H1N1 clinics in Central Alberta this week attracted thousands of people.

“As of (Thursday) we’ve immunized more than 15,000 in the central zone. In Red Deer alone (Thursday), more than 2,500,” Gerhard Benadé, medical officer of health with the central zone of Alberta Health Services, said Friday.

About 40 nurses staffed the Red Deer clinic held at CrossRoads Church where people waited in line for up to seven hours for vaccinations.

“They usually maintain a rate of 300 patient vaccinations an hour. So that’s a pretty brisk rate.”

Additional staff from a variety of health care settings are being trained to help vaccinate.

While Alberta Health Services remains committed to vaccinating all Albertans who want the vaccine, the priority is to immunize high risk groups first, Benadé said.

High-risk populations include pregnant women, children six months to less than five years of age, people under 65 with chronic health conditions, people living in remote and isolated settings, health care workers involved in pandemic response, and people in households with individuals who are vulnerable and cannot be immunized for whatever reason.

While there will be challenges in the vaccine supply, Benadé said AHS wants to assure Albertans that it is administering the vaccine as fast as it becomes available from Public Health Agency of Canada.

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