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Albertans urged to get flu vaccine early as clinics open in Grande Prairie

While everyone’s focus seems to be on the threat of Ebola, Alberta Health Services says the flu should be of more concern.

Last season, more than 1,200 people in Alberta were hospitalized and 30 died from influenza.

Drop-in clinics have opened at the Eastlink Centre and the Public Health Centre in the Provincial Building in Grande Prairie.

While the province ran short on vaccines last season, Medical Officer of Health Doctor Albert de Villiers says they’re well prepared for the upcoming flu season.

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“We want to get people as much as possible. Last year we got about 27 per cent of the population; this year we’re aiming for 45 per cent, which is a lofty goal, but we’ve got enough vaccine. They say they’ve ordered close to two million doses for the province, so that’s nearly half the people living in the province.”

Another shortage like last year isn’t expected, but Medical Health Officer Albert de Villiers still says it’s a good idea to get yours early.

“The other reason for coming early is because we know the vaccine takes about two weeks before it works. We haven’t seen a lot of influenza yet, but it’s coming, so get your vaccine now and then you’ll be ready for when the disease actually arrives.”

Immunizations are free to all Albertans over the age of six months, and can be taken through a shot or nasal spray.

Photo: Registered Nurse Jane Manning gives Angela Trentham and 13 month old Nixen their flu shots at the Eastlink Centre.

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