Alberta Health says the uptake for the influenza vaccine so far this season is lower than in previous years.
In the first week of the influenza campaign, which launched on Monday, Oct. 17, Alberta Health said about 299,000 doses of the flu vaccine were administered. That translates to a coverage rate of about 6.7 per cent.
“While this is lower compared to previous seasons, we anticipate this number will continue to increase over the next few weeks as temperatures begin to fall, and as Albertans who are choosing to get their influenza vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 booster dose, do so,” Alberta Health spokesperson Lisa Glover said in a statement.
As of Oct. 22, Alberta has recorded 138 lab-confirmed cases of the flu so far this season. Twenty-one people have been hospitalized with the flu. No deaths from the flu have been reported, according to Alberta Health.
“We continue to make vaccines readily and conveniently available across the province for Albertans to protect their own health, stay healthy and reduce their risk of being infected,” Glover said.
“In addition to getting a flu vaccine, the best defence is to wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when sick.”
The province said so far, the dominant strain this season is Influenza A (H3N2).
The flu vaccine is available to all Albertans six months of age and older, free of charge. Children under five must be immunized at an Alberta Health Services clinic or participating doctor’s office. Anyone older than five can get immunized at a participating pharmacy or doctor’s office.
Uptake of COVID-19 bivalent vaccine
The province has been offering the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine since Sept. 21. As of Thursday, the province said over 185,000 COVID-19 bivalent doses have been administered.
Appointments for flu vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines can be booked online through the AHS website.