Flu shot rate up

More Central Albertans are trying hard to keep the flu at bay. As of Nov. 29, almost six weeks into the annual immunization campaign, a total of 100,683 doses of influenza vaccine had been administered in the region.

More Central Albertans are trying hard to keep the flu at bay.

As of Nov. 29, almost six weeks into the annual immunization campaign, a total of 100,683 doses of influenza vaccine had been administered in the region.

That compares to a total of 109,014 doses administered by the end of the almost 12-week immunization campaign during the 2013-14 flu season.

“We are doing well compared to last year, but there are still a lot of people who haven’t taken advantage of the free vaccine. There’s always room for improvement,” said Dr. Ifeoma Achebe, medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services, Central Zone, on Monday.

She said it’s difficult to know why more people are getting immunized.

Maybe more people are thinking about ways to protect their health because of the recent international Ebola outbreak. But the more people immunized against the flu, the better the chance of decreasing transmission.

“We haven’t peaked yet in terms of the flu season so people could still benefit from (immunization).”

As of Nov. 29, there were 28 laboratory confirmed influenza cases in Central Zone. Three people were hospitalized, with no deaths.

Across Alberta, the number of confirmed cases has climbed to 578, with nine flu-confirmed deaths.

In Central Zone, there has been one confirmed flu outbreak at a supportive living facility. Another two outbreaks, also at supportive living facilities, have yet to be confirmed as the flu.

Achebe said the flu is still expected to peak shortly before Christmas.

“Nothing is out of the ordinary but looking at the patterns from the other years, it’s beginning to build up and this is typically what we see in December, January.”

Last season, Central Zone had 620 lab-confirmed flu cases and four influenza-related deaths.

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

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