Starting on Friday, families with children under 18 can get vaccinated for H1N1 and the general public could be eligible a few days later.
On Friday, vaccination expands to include all children under 18 as of Nov. 1, their immediate family members and caregivers living in the same household.
“We plan to open our clinics to the general public sometime early next week based on the uptake and our capacity to deliver the vaccine,” said Dr. André Corriveau, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, on Wednesday.
“We’re also expecting a sharp increase in the delivery of vaccine next week so that would allow us to start discussion with other potential providers such as physicians, pharmacists and perhaps even employers who are used to offering clinics.”
Corriveau said with close to 500,000 doses, families don’t have to rush out on Friday to get the vaccine.
“People can hopefully can decide when it’s a more convenient time to come and get vaccinated instead of standing in long line ups before the clinics open on Friday morning or Saturday.” He said Alberta Health Services is starting to see a reduction in the spread of H1N1 in the community.
Since Tuesday, another 75 people have been hospitalized with H1N1, but there is a lag between the infection rate and hospitalizations.
As of Wednesday, 959 people have been hospitalized and 43 people have died.
Alberta Health Services wants as many Albertans as possible to get immunized before Christmas to reduce the third wave of the virus in mid winter.
“Even between wave one and two, the virus never disappeared. All through the summer we had people admitted to ICU and hospital but it was at a lower level,” Corriveau said.
“This is what we expect between wave two and wave three. Things will decrease over the next few weeks. But it won’t go away. The virus will just bide its time. There is always a third wave.”
And although the virus has been very stable, it could become resistant to the antiviral Tamiflu used to fight the duration of H1N1 illness and complications.
Today immunization expands to include those 65 years and older, as of Nov. 1, and their spouses or partners.
Previously announced groups continue to be eligible.
Central Alberta clinics will be held at the following locations:
• Red Deer, CrossRoads Church, Hwy 2 & 32nd St., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Castor, Evangelical Missionary Church, 5314-50 St., 1 to 7 p.m.
• Olds, Royal Canadian Legion, 5241-46th St., 1 to 7 p.m.
• Rimbey Legion, 5019-50th St., 1 to 7 p.m.
• Red Deer, Festival Hall Memorial Centre, 4214-58th St., 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• Innisfail Alliance Church, #25, 4804-42nd Ave., 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
• Sundre Community Centre, #3-310 Centre N., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Red Deer, Kentwood Alliance Church, 4 Kennedy Dr., 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For more details on vaccine eligibility or clinic locations and dates go online to www.albertahealthservices.ca