Free seasonal flu vaccine to become available

As the Fall 2009 semester approaches, concerns are once again being raised regarding the spread of influenza at the University of Lethbridge.

The U of L Health Centre (403-329-2484 or continues to be a leader in disseminating information that addresses these concerns, whether it be seasonal influenza or the H1N1 virus. The latest development in tackling the spread of influenza comes in the form of a decree from the Alberta government that free seasonal influenza vaccine will be made available in October.

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.

"This is something Alberta has been working toward for a number of years," says Ron Liepert, Minister of Alberta Health and Wellness.

"It is a valuable investment in strengthening the public health system in Alberta, and is the best way of protecting Albertans from seasonal influenza viruses that we see every year."

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," says Dr. André Corriveau, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health.

"Whether you have underlying medical conditions that put you at higher risk of developing influenza-related complications or may be in contact with someone who does, 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 and click on Health Information, then immunization.

Or, visit Health Link Alberta at or call toll-free at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).