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Alberta fall influenza/COVID-19 immunization bookings begin Oct. 10

Albertans eligible to be immunized will be able to book their annual vaccines against fall respiratory viruses following next month’s Thanksgiving long weekend, Alberta’s health ministry announced on Thursday.

Residents can book influenza and COVID-19 immunization appointments starting Oct. 10 at an AHS clinic or pharmacy through the province’s vaccine booking system, by contacting community health clinics directly or by calling 8-1-1.

Albertans living in congregate care will be able to access vaccinations a week sooner through their facilities starting next week.

According to Alberta Health Services, all Albertans six months and older are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The news comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta rises. As of Sept. 26, Alberta Health Services reported 16 acute-care centres across the province are dealing with outbreaks on 26 units, with 153 patients and 44 healthcare workers testing positive for the virus. Of those, five acute-care facilities, 15 units, 72 patients and 10 healthcare workers are in the Edmonton Zone.

The Alberta government has not updated its COVID-19 dashboard with up-to-date statistics detailing the number of people affected by the virus.

Heather Smith, the president of United Nurses of Alberta — the union that represents registered nurses in the province — said Thursday that the public deserves to know the information so they can take steps to protect themselves and others.

“There is a level of concern that there is a lackadaisical approach to what is a real threat,” Smith told CTV News Edmonton. “The absence of information … the public has a right to know whether or not those numbers are going up, just in terms of making decisions about their own safety and appropriate precautions.”

Provincial Health Minister Adriana LaGrange said in a news release 10 days ago that work continues on “a refreshed reporting dashboard that will align reporting on respiratory illnesses including COVID-19, RSV and influenza” and will be released “in the coming weeks.”

LaGrange said on Sept. 18 there had been 28 cases of influenza reported since Aug. 28 and that five people had died of COVID-19 from Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, over which time there was a total of 559 cases and 92 hospitalizations across Alberta. 

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