More Albertans Eligible For Free Influenza Vaccine
The Alberta government has extended influenza vaccine coverage to include healthy children aged two to four years and healthy adults aged 50 to 64 years. These eligible groups will be able to receive the influenza vaccine through public health clinics and physician offices free of charge.
"In the past, we had only covered children aged six months to under two years, and adults 65 years of age and older. In order to keep more Albertans healthy, we have made the decision to extend coverage to a wider age range," said Ron Liepert, Minister of Alberta Health and Wellness. "This extension in coverage will help Albertans maintain healthy and safe communities, as part of Alberta's new Health Action Plan."
Thousands of other Albertans are also eligible to receive an influenza immunization at no charge. This includes those at risk for developing serious influenza-related complications and anyone who could transmit the virus to those at risk. The vaccine is provided through local public health units and physicians' offices. Influenza vaccine is also available for purchase by other Albertans who want to avoid illness during influenza season.
"Immunization will always be our best defense against influenza, which is why we've expanded the number of groups eligible for immunization," says Dr. Gerry Predy, Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta. "The more high-risk groups that are immunized will result in less transmission of the virus to those populations at high risk of influenza-related complications."