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Alberta’s flu vaccines and COVID bivalent booster available soon

Click to play video: 'Alberta flu shot bookings open up'
Alberta flu shot bookings open up
Starting Oct. 17, Albertans aged six months and older can get their flu vaccine at participating pharmacies, some community medical clinics and select Alberta Health Services sites. Kim Smith reports. – Oct 17, 2022

Flu vaccines and Pfizer’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccine will be available at Alberta’s pharmacies and local health clinics soon.

Starting Oct. 17, Albertans aged six months and older can get their flu vaccine at participating pharmacies, some community medical clinics and select Alberta Health Services sites.

The Alberta government ordered 1.9 million doses of the flu vaccine, according to a Thursday afternoon news release.

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The Alberta government said influenza vaccines will be offered at no cost to:

  • Albertans five years of age and older at pharmacies and some community medical clinics
  • Albertans six months of age and older at some community medical clinics

AHS will also offer vaccines at its public health clinics to:

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  • Children under five years of age and their family and household members
  • People who do not have a provincial health care number
  • People who live in a community where there are no other immunizing health-care providers

“Getting your flu vaccine is an easy way to reduce your risk of getting the flu, help to limit the spread of the virus and reduce your risk of being hospitalized due to influenza,” Health Minister Jason Copping said in a statement.

Click to play video: 'Alberta Health warns of increasing COVID and flu cases'
Alberta Health warns of increasing COVID and flu cases

Meanwhile, Pfizer’s bivalent COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, will be available for Albertans aged 12 and up starting on Oct. 24.

This is in addition to Moderna’s bivalent vaccine, which also targets the BA.1 subvariant.

This comes after Alberta Health reported hospitals in the province have had more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients for more than two weeks.

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As of Oct. 10, there were 1,014 people in Alberta hospitals, an increase of 34 from the previous reporting period two weeks ago. But data obtained by Global News showed Alberta hospitals had closer to 1,100 COVID patients on Wednesday afternoon.

Click to play video: 'Flu shots now available in Alberta'
Flu shots now available in Alberta

According to a separate release on Thursday, these bivalent vaccines are offered on a voluntary basis.

“We recognize that many Albertans are looking to receive their COVID-19 booster dose as we head into the fall and winter. As BA.4 and BA.5 are the prevalent strains in Alberta at this time, we are pleased to offer this additional option,” Copping said in a separate statement.

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Bookings for both the flu and bivalent vaccines are available through Alberta’s vaccine booking system or by calling Health Link at 811. Pharmacies can be contacted directly.

Those aged five and older can get their influenza vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine, including boosters, at the same time. The Alberta government said separate appointments are not needed in most cases.

AHS recommends those six months to four years of age wait 14 days between receiving their COVID-19 vaccine and influenza vaccine or routine childhood vaccines.

– with files from Adam Toy, Global News

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