Efforts to encourage vaccination seem to be paying off, as health clinics in Calgary report a 50% increase in the number of people immunized from last year.
Dr. Judy MacDonald, a medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services, says that the 75,000 of the city’s residents have had themselves vaccinated. “We’re encouraged by the response, and we’re hoping to see record numbers this year as people realize a flu shot reduces their risk of serious illness.”
Alberta Health and Wellness hopes to immunize more than 60% of Alberta’s high-risk groups. These include seniors, pregnant women, people with immune systems weakened from chronic illness and children between 6 months and 2 years of age.
The high turnout for shots is largely due to the fact that they vaccinations are free. This is a good investment, according to Dr. Andre Corriveau, Alberta’s Chief Medical Health Officer. “Immunizing people, particularly those at greatest risk, reduces the pressures on our health system.”
The efforts are likely so strong because of the near-crisis that occurred last year, as a result of the H1N1 virus and a shortage of vaccinations. This year, Alberta Health and Wellness has purchased more than 1.2 million doses.
Although the vaccine has already been available for weeks, it’s not too late to get protection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that flu season in the US is typically at its peak in January or February