Flu season is almost over and more Albertans got the vaccine

Flu season is almost over and more Albertans got the vaccine

More Albertans rolled up their sleeves to get the flu shot this year.

As the flu season winds down, Alberta Health Services has tallied nearly 1.158 million doses of the vaccine given across the province. That's up slightly over last year.

"This is good news," said Craig Jenne, who teaches microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Calgary.

"The decline we've seen over the last few years has at least stopped, if not started to reverse a little bit, so people are realizing there is value in getting an influenza shot in the fall."

Jenne says it's particularly surprising because in previous years the vaccine hasn't been a perfect match.

"The public still recognizes that even a mismatched vaccine still offers some protection. So it may not be perfect, it may not prevent infection, but it will lessen disease and hopefully improve outcomes, even if it's not a perfect match."

Dr. Judy MacDonald, Calgary's medical officer of health, says only 27 per cent of Alberta's population got the flu shot.

"It's good, but when we look at how many Albertans have been immunized …there's still some improvement that we'd be happy to see happen next year."

- Alberta reported 53 flu-related deaths so far this season, compared to a total of 62 last flu season.

- A total of 1,424 people ended up in hospital this season with the flu, a few hundred less than last season.

- Alberta also saw more confirmed cases of influenza A (3,753) than influenza B (254) this season. Last season there were many more cases of  influenza B (1,698).

Nurses are currently only giving immunizations to children under nine who need a second dose. 

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