Only 1 in 5 Albertans have flu shot

Alberta’s health minister says not enough people are getting a flu shot.

EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says not enough people are getting a flu shot.

Fred Horne says one in five Albertans and about half of health-care workers have been immunized against influenza so far this year.

He says those rates are too low to adequately protect families and communities.

There has been an increase in flu across Alberta in recent weeks and the predominant strain is H1N1.

However, Horne points out the numbers are similar to last year at this time.

He says the difference now is that many of those affected are younger adults.

There have been 965 lab-confirmed cases, another 251 people have been hospitalized due to influenza and five people have died, Horne says.

Flu shots are free and available at doctors’ offices, most pharmacies and Alberta Health Services flu clinics.

Health officials in Saskatchewan have also urged people to be vaccinated.

Dr. Denise Werker, deputy chief medical health officer, said Friday that two children under five and one middle-aged person died in December after contracting the flu. All had underlying health conditions, so officials can’t say that flu was the main cause of their deaths.

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