Alberta government says its flu vaccine ad contains wrong information

EDMONTON — There’s more confusion in Alberta over who can get the H1N1 flu shot starting Thursday.

EDMONTON — There’s more confusion in Alberta over who can get the H1N1 flu shot starting Thursday.

Alberta Health Services launched a newspaper ad campaign but health officials say it contains incorrect information about who can get the vaccine.

Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services, says the government agency will change the ads to make it more clear.

The ad that ran in Alberta newspapers on Wednesday says children between the ages of six months and five years will get the flu shot.

But Predy says five-year-olds won’t actually be eligible — they must be under five as of Nov. 1.

Liberal Leader David Swann, a former public health officer, says the slip-up is more evidence that Health Minister Ron Liepert cannot manage the vaccine’s delivery.

“If the minister can’t roll out of a pandemic that has been planned for years, how can we have the confidence in his ability to manage a very complex health-care system?” asked Swann.

Liepert says the mistake has been cleared up.

“I believe they have clarified it,” he says. “They have been as clear as they possibly can and so you can focus on the negative if you want but I don’t think there’s a reason why anyone in the media should not know what the parameters are tomorrow.”

While some parents are well aware that their children are within the age limits for the vaccine, some believe the recent confusion may lead to even longer lineups.

“People are going to get there and they’ll be told no,” sid Julie Jackman, who has two young children. “When you have children and you’ve been waiting, it’s not going to make people happy.”

Health officials say there will be security at area clinics and people will be turned away if they do not fit the criteria.

Alberta Health Services says the goal is to get lineup wait times down to one hour.

So far, there are 270,000 doses of the vaccine in the system and that is supposed to last until next week when a new shipment is expected to arrive in Alberta.

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