Doctors to have vaccine soon

H1N1 vaccine may soon be available at doctors offices to help immunize Central Albertans.

H1N1 vaccine may soon be available at doctors offices to help immunize Central Albertans.

Gerhard Benadé, medical officer of health with the central zone of Alberta Health Services, said discussion is now underway with physicians and staff training will begin next week.

“We’re not exactly sure at this point how many of the offices will be interested in participating. But we’re certainly willing to work with all clinics that are interested,” Benadé said on Friday in Red Deer.

It could really help reach those who need the vaccine the most, he said.

“(Doctors) know their patients. They will be able to identify individuals that are at risk more clearly.”

Additional staff from a variety of health-care settings are also being trained to speed up the vaccination process.

H1N1 clinics in Central Alberta this week attracted thousands of people, more than could be accommodated at several clinics.

“As of (Thursday), we’ve immunized more than 15,000 in the central zone. In Red Deer alone (on Thursday), more than 2,500,” said Benadé.

About 40 nurses staffed the Red Deer clinic at CrossRoads Church on Thursday where people waited in line for up to seven hours for vaccinations and traffic backed up from the church at the corner of Hwy 2 and 32nd Street, all the way to the Red Deer College entrance.

Police had to be called to direct traffic.

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

The clinic held Friday in Sundre experienced long lines and wait times as well.

Despite the long lineups, Benadé said mass immunization clinics are still the most efficient way of administering the vaccine right now.

“As we continue to move through the process, we will look for opportunities to improve on that,” he said.

Alberta Health Services has promised more clinics. Benadé said people should “stay tuned” and keep checking the AHS website as the immunization program continues.

According to H1N1 surveillance, the flu continues to circulate in communities across Alberta.

In Red Deer, there has been a 30 to 40 per cent surge in visits to the hospital’s emergency department and one-third of them are due to influenza-like illness.

To reduce emergency visits, influenza assessment centres in Edmonton, Calgary and Wetaskiwin are now open seven days a week to treat people with mild flu symptoms.

“It’s a pretty dynamic situation. We’re keeping a close watch on it to make sure existing services cope,” said Benadé when asked if a similar centre could open in Red Deer.

Alberta Health Services remains committed to vaccinating all Albertans who want the vaccine.

“The campaign will continue to run, likely up to Christmas, so there will be enough vaccine for everybody. But we would like to get to the vulnerable people first.”

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.

But Alberta’s top health officials say they won’t make any immediate changes to the way the province is rolling out the H1N1 vaccinations, despite public anger at long lines and a looming shortage of vaccine.

Dr. Andre Corriveau, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says while they’re still focusing on giving the shot to the high-risk groups, health-care workers won’t refuse to vaccinate anyone.

Dr. Gerry Predy, chief medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services, says screening people in lineups to make sure they’re in high-risk groups would require too much staff and would slow things down.

He also says it would be difficult to make someone prove they have asthma or some other underlying health condition before they are vaccinated.

Predy says officials could change their approach to the vaccine rollout in the future, considering that Alberta is receiving less vaccine than expected due to production delays.

The province has used roughly half of the 600,000 doses of vaccine it has received so far.

While challenges are expected 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.

There are two clinics scheduled in Red Deer next week. The first one is Tuesday at Westerner Park’s Harvest Centre from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The next one is Thursday at Kentwood Alliance Church, 4 Kennedy Drive, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Westerner Park recently started charging for parking at major events. On Tuesday, there will be no charge for flu vaccination traffic until 5 p.m. After 5 p.m., there will be a charge because a major entertainment event (Corb Lund concert) is scheduled.

For the locations and dates of other immunization clinics in Red Deer and around Central Alberta, call 1-866-408-5465 or go to

Just Posted

Downtown Red Deer was packed with people who lined the streets to watch the Westerner Days parade on Wednesday. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Westerner Days parade cancelled, full details on modified event coming June 28

The 2021 edition of Westerner Days will look much different than any… Continue reading

City council wants to hear from the public at a May 25 hearing about whether the temporary homeless shelter should be allowed to remain in the downtown for another year. (Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer staff to recommend another extension to allow operations at current temporary shelter site

Following some more research city administration has received no other new locations… Continue reading

A scene from the short Western ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws,’ written and directed by Jason Steele, with support from Telus Storyhive. (Contributed image)
Red Deerians make ‘Cheaters, Robbers and Outlaws’ short Western film

Writer and director Jason Steele received a $20,000 Storyhive grant from Telus

Residents in several neighbourhoods reported little to no water pressure Tuesday night. (File photo by Advocate staff)
City hall to reopen for payments and customer service

Red Deer City Hall will reopen on June 21 for utility and… Continue reading

Char Rausch was selected as this year’s recipient of the Bob Stollings Award, which goes to an employee who has displayed outstanding civic performance in alignment with The City’s Cornerstone Values – Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
Char Rausch wins City of Red Deer Bob Stollings Award

The City of Red Deer is honouring employees differently this year. With… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise of a two-dose fall is… Continue reading

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, speaks during a press conference in Ottawa, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Mendicino has announced a new policy to help settle 500 refugees and their families in a news conference today. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year: Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino announced plans to expedite applications and increase the… Continue reading

Louis Oosthuizen, of South Africa, plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the U.S. Open Golf Championship, Friday, June 18, 2021, at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Bland leads at Torrey and shows the US Open is truly open

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Open prides itself on being the most… Continue reading

The Prime Minister's car waits outside the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg Tuesday, May 19, 2009. The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is showing no sign he'll release unredacted documents about the firing of two scientists at Canada's highest security laboratory — despite the prospect of being publicly shamed in the House of Commons for his refusal to turn them over. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
PHAC head maintains he’s bound by law not to release docs on fired scientists

OTTAWA — The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada is… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant in Canada

OTTAWA — The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly… Continue reading

Various vaping nicotine e-liquids or "juice" are shown in a lab at Portland State University in in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products… Continue reading

A supporter of presidential candidate Ebrahim Raisi holds a sign during a rally in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Iran's clerical vetting committee has allowed just seven candidates for the Friday, June 18, ballot, nixing prominent reformists and key allies of President Hassan Rouhani. The presumed front-runner has become Ebrahim Raisi, the country's hard-line judiciary chief who is closely aligned with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)
Iran votes in presidential poll tipped in hard-liner’s favor

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iranians voted Friday in a presidential… Continue reading

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto, left, and President Seiko Hashimoto attend the news conference after receiving a report from a group of infectious disease experts on Friday, June 18, 2021, in Tokyo. The experts including Shigeru Omi, head of a government coronavirus advisory panel, issued a report listing the risks of allowing the spectators and the measurements to prevent the event from triggering a coronavirus spread. (Yuichi Yamazaki/Pool Photo via AP)
Top medical adviser says ‘no fans’ safest for Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO (AP) — The safest way to hold the Tokyo Olympics is… Continue reading

Most Read