Flu shots at the ready

Provincial program already started ahead of flu season

By Jeff Labine

The Stettler Independent

Taking a shot in the arm could do a lot to protect yourself from this year’s flu, says a Stettler pharmacist.

The provincial influenza program officially got underway on Oct. 23 with flu shot clinics now available across Alberta including ones in Stettler. While the shot is available in pharmacies such as at No Frills, flu clinics will also be held at the Stettler Community Hall and Community Health Centre at specific dates. The first at the community hall will be on Nov. 1 and 2 starting at 1 p.m. and ending at 7 p.m. The community health centre will have theirs on Dec. 13 by pre-booked appointments only.

Albert Tawadrous, the pharmacist manager at No Frills, said it’s important to get the shot.

“It gives your body an opportunity to fight the flu before you get it,” he said. “It is not a live vaccine. It’s a very weakened vaccine so your body will produce anti-bodies so when you get the flu, your body already has the anti-bodies it needs. It makes it way better for you to fight the flu.”

According to Alberta Health, Albertans who are six months of age and older will be able to receive the shot The province has purchased 1.6 million doses for this season, enough to immunize about 35 per cent of the population. The total cost was $12.1 million.

Last season, a total of 1,653 Albertans were admitted to hospital with lab-confirmed influenza with 64 people dying.

Tawadrous said even if someone didn’t vaccinated last year, they can still come in for their shot and be protected for this year.

“I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to take it,” he said. “It’s a good thing for you, it helps protect you and it is free. There’s nothing to be (scared) about. Just go and do it and you will see the difference.”

He added besides a possible sore shoulder, there isn’t any side effects but he cautioned people could be allergic to of the some ingredients found in the shot.

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