Albertans eligible for free seasonal influenza vaccine

From the Legislature

By MLA Jack Hayden

This fall, the Alberta government will offer a free seasonal influenza vaccine to all Albertans six months and older. Immunization can be obtained through public health clinics and some physician offices and pharmacists beginning in October.

Separate from the seasonal influenza vaccine, the province is also working on its plan to immunize Albertans against the H1N1 influenza virus sometime this fall. Details on that immunization program will be announced when available.

Immunization continues to be our best defense against influenza. It is important for all Albertans to get their flu shot to reduce transmission of the virus.

Additionally, individuals 65 years and over and those who are at high risk because of certain health problems are strongly advised to get the pneumococcal immunization as it may be beneficial in the prevention of both pneumonia and influenza-related diseases.

Clinic dates and locations are currently in the planning stage and Alberta Health Services will be announcing details in September.

For more information on Alberta’s influenza immunization program, and other vaccines included in the province’s routine immunization program, please visit www.health.alberta.ca and click on Health Information, then immunization. Or, visit Health Link Alberta at www.healthlinkalberta.ca or call toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).

Safe Communities Innovation Fund promotes safety in schools

The communities of Delburne, Elnora and Trochu will soon have a shared school resource officer thanks to funding from Alberta’s Safe Communities Innovation Fund (SCIF).

The three communities received $150,000 over three years to recruit a shared school resources officer. School resource officers are police officers stationed at schools who work with students, school administrators, teachers and counselors to help increase school safety.

School resource officers play an active role in crime prevention. In addition to fulfilling their duties as police officers, they act as counselors, mentors and educators.

In total, 30 SCIF initiatives were approved for funding in 2008-09. These projects are addressing crime prevention issues such as early intervention for at-risk youth, family violence and gang intervention. For more information on the fund visit http://www.justice.gov.ab.ca/safe/scif.aspx.

The $60-million Safe Communities Innovation Fund, announced by Premier Ed Stelmach in November 2008 strengthens and develops community-based projects and community-police partnership projects. The fund builds on the work of the Safe Communities Initiative which has added more police and Crown prosecutors, introduced anti-gang legislation, and developed a new tracking system for repeat offenders.

As the MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, I am always available to assist constituents. If you have any questions or concerns contact one of my constituency offices at Stettler 742-4284; Hanna 854-4333; Drumheller 823-8181; or in Edmonton at 780-427-5041.