Due to the significant uptake in this year’s flu vaccination campaign, influenza vaccine is no longer available in Central Zone.
Officials say this year’s vaccination campaign was one of the most successful in our province’s history, with more Albertans being vaccinated than nearly any other year.
As of this past weekend, all influenza immunization clinics have closed in Central Zone and will not be reopening this season.
Some doses of vaccine have been reserved for children who have received first doses of influenza vaccine this season, and require a second dose.
Children under the age of nine who are receiving seasonal influenza vaccine for the first time this season require two doses this season to be fully protected. If your child requires a second dose, call Health Link Alberta or your local public health office for information.
Limited doses have also been reserved to address specific outbreaks in health care centres and continuing care sites.
Influenza continues to circulate in local communities. Officials point out that many cases of influenza are best treated at home, through self-care. For more information on self-care, and guidance on when to seek medical assistance, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/influenza.
Officials also say encourage continued vigilance in preventing the further spread of illness in our communities, and urge the following preventative precautions.
– cover your cough: cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. If you don’t have a tissue, always cough or sneeze into your arm, not into your hands.
– clean your hands: Using soap and warm water, wash your hands thoroughly and often, including after coughing, sneezing, using tissues or the washroom, and before eating or preparing foods. Alcohol-based hand rub or sanitizer can also be helpful if hands are not visibly soiled.
Meanwhile, Alberta Health Services is providing the following statement on behalf of the family of a recently deceased Red Deer woman who died after contracting H5N1.
The family has requested that media not release the woman’s name to maintain patient confidentiality and out of respect to the family.
“Our beloved daughter and wife was a hard-working, independent young woman. She grew up in China, and in high school she decided that she wanted to become a nurse. The past 10 years have been dedicated to achieving this goal. She came to Canada on her own as a young student to study nursing at Red Deer College. She put herself through school, graduated and earned a job as a registered nurse at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. This was her dream; and she studied and worked extremely hard to achieve this.
“She wanted to help people. She also wanted a career that would allow her to provide for her family and to support those she loved. She did a tremendous amount for her family; she was successful and providing for those in her life. She was a uniquely independent and determined young woman.
“She married her husband a year and a half ago; and together they created a happy life in Red Deer. She worked hard and had saved for a vacation, which she took in December 2013 with her mother. Together, they travelled on a trip which would sadly turn out to be her last.
“We are devastated by her death, and we request time to grieve in privacy. We thank you for respecting our wishes.”