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.
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.
“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.”
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.