As flu season kicks off for the next six months, officials with Alberta Health Services are urging people in Grande Prairie and across the province to protect themselves with their annual flu shot.
Lead Medical Officer with AHS Northzone Dr. Albert de Villiers says around 1.3 million doses of the vaccination were used in Alberta Alberta last year. So far this season, the line ups in Grande Prairie are showing him people are taking the threat seriously.
“It’s been a steady stream which is good to see. I think last year we got 31 per cent of the population; this year we are aiming to hit 35 percent.”
Dr. de Villiers adds those who are hesitant to get themselves immunized for a number of reasons should try to remember it’s not just one person the influenza virus can affect.
“Some are more difficult than others to convince because they believe it’s a government conspiracy, and we’re trying to put things in the vaccines that will affect their lives in other ways,” he explains.
“Why would you tell people not to wear a seatbelt? It’s the same thing; you’re just protecting yourself and the people around you as well when you get the vaccine. We are here to help and to keep people out of the hospital. We are a health care organization, not a making people sick organization,” he adds.
De Villiers says last year’s flu shot is believed to have had a protection rate of around 75 per cent. He argues that while some people may feel discomfort when they get the vaccine, it’s worth it.
“You might feel a little bit feverish, mostly some people just a little pain in their arm, other people have nothing. But, you cannot get the disease from the vaccine because it’s not a live disease.”
People in Grande Prairie can either get their flu shot at the Grande Prairie Public Health Centre, their family doctor, or at participating pharmacies in the city.