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Alberta Health Services holds public flu shot clinic in Lethbridge

WATCH ABOVE: Dr. Vivien Suttorp, a medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services, speaks about the importance of getting your flu shot.

Alberta Health Services held its first public flu shot clinic of the season in Lethbridge on Tuesday.

Everyone six months and older is eligible to receive this year’s flu immunization free of charge if you live, work or go to school in Alberta.

Many of the southern Albertans who rolled up their sleeves on Tuesday were children, as kids under five can only receive the shot through public health.

READ MORE: More than half of Albertans prefer pharmacies for flu shots

Children under nine will also need a booster dose of flu vaccine one month after receiving their initial shot.

For everyone, health officials stress the importance of getting your immunization early, as it takes two weeks to build optimal immunity.

“Influenza virus is kind of sneaky and smart and it changes over time and annually the makeup of the vaccine is slightly different, so we need that booster dose, that new dose every year,” said Dr. Vivien Suttorp, a medical officer of health for Alberta Health Services.

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“There’s no vaccine that’s 100 per cent, so people may still get ill, but in general, they have milder disease, less complications and have shorter duration of illness.”

READ MORE: Alberta prepares for flu season despite delays in vaccine shipments

Alberta Health Services says young children, seniors and people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for developing complications associated with influenza.

Mass flu shot clinics will be taking place in Lethbridge and in smaller centres across southern Alberta over the next few months. A full schedule of AHS clinics can be found here.