Alberta H1N1 flu shots will be extended to general public starting with seniors

Alberta will phase in H1N1 vaccinations to the general public this week starting with seniors.

EDMONTON — Alberta will phase in H1N1 vaccinations to include the general public this week, starting with some seniors.

The first group in this latest round of swine flu shots will include Albertans over 75 and their spouses or partners, Health Minister Ron Liepert told the legislature Monday.

The province also expects to start distributing vaccine to doctors’ offices and pharmacists by the end of this week.

“We now are at the point where we believe that supplies are no longer an issue,” said Liepert. “But we want to roll it out in a staged way.”

Alberta opened clinics to all Albertans in mid-October, but was forced to shut down vaccination sites a few days later when supplies ran short. When the clinics reopened, shots were limited to high-risk groups, starting with pregnant women and young children.

Liepert said vaccinations to the general public will be phased in to avoid lengthy lineups.

“One in every six Albertans has been vaccinated and that is a very significant achievement,” he told the legislative assembly.

The minister also outlined plans to distribute flu vaccine to communities outside Edmonton and Calgary, where most of the shots have been administered to date.

“We will be making arrangements with the various municipalities around the province to provide the vaccine,” said Liepert. “Because in most cases, the municipalities are wanting to do the vaccinations themselves.”

“So if they choose to do it that way, we will provide them the vaccine and those arrangements are being made today by Alberta Health Services.”

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