Monday, July 27, 2009

Alberta to offer free flu shots

From the Calgary Herald:
Albertans will be eligible for a free vaccine against seasonal influenza this fall and, though the shots won't protect against the H1N1 virus, experts predict a high level of interest amid the swine flu pandemic.

Alberta Health on Thursday announced an expansion of its annual flu shots--which have historically been offered to high-risk groups for free -- into an $8-million vaccination program for everyone over six months of age.

The program comes as the province prepares a separate vaccination plan for H1N1, the new influenza virus that first emerged in Mexico this spring and spread around the world.

"Although this is coming in at the same time as the H1N1 virus, this is something that was in the works for some time," said Dr. Andre Corriveau, chief medical officer of health for Alberta.

"We've decided to go ahead with that plan, even though we are dealing with something else on top of it."

Corriveau conceded the health system will face a significant increase in workload as it tries to deliver the two vaccines to all Albertans. He said the province is also drafting a communications strategy so patients understand the difference between the shots. ...more

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