Influenza has begun to spread across Alberta, and, as the holiday season approaches, all Albertans six months and older are encouraged to get immunized as soon as possible. Alberta Health Services reports that while many Albertans have already chosen to get the flu vaccine, immunization rates in our province are lower than at this time last year.
Pharmacists have the opportunity to play a key role in communicating the importance of immunization and encouraging patients to get immunized. While it can affect Albertans of all ages, including healthy adults, it is especially serious for seniors, infants, pregnant women, and those with chronic medical conditions. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way for Albertans to protect themselves, their families, friends, and coworkers.
Patients should be encouraged to get immunized well in advance of holiday plans or winter vacations, as it can take up to two weeks to be fully protected after receiving the vaccine. Albertans nine years of age and older can be immunized at pharmacies. Patients with children under nine years of age can be directed to www.ahs.ca/influenza for flu clinic hours and schedules.