Drop-in clinics providing free flu shots opened across Edmonton on Monday.
Alberta Health Services immunization clinics in the rest of the province opened on Oct. 21.
There was a good reason for the delay in Edmonton, said Dr. Chris Sikora, Edmonton zone medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services.
The delay allowed AHS staff more time to focus on reaching at-risk populations first, before opening their clinics for the general public.
“Here in our Edmonton zone, we made a decision to really focus on our higher risk populations, our long-term care centres, our continuing care centres, as well as many of those outreach areas in our inner city and harder to reach populations,” Sikora said in an interview with CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM.
The mass immunization sites open seasonally every year. This year they are located at:
- East Edmonton Public Health Centre
- Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre
- Woodcroft Public Health Centre
- Northgate Health Centre
- Millbourne Market Mall
The flu vaccine has been available in pharmacies and doctors’ offices since mid-October.
AHS strongly suggests that those with weakened immune systems be vigilant about getting the flu shot. That includes the elderly, who are more likely to be affected by influenza.
“It’s important to be immunized because it’s the single best way to be protected against getting influenza this winter,” Sikora said.
“It’s really to protect yourself and to protect those around you and for many of us, that’s your family … and for health-care workers like myself, it’s the people that we care for.”
For information about the flu vaccine, call Health Link at 811 or go to ahs.ca/influenza.
To find an immunization clinic anywhere in Alberta, search by postal code on the AHS website.