Albertans warned to get vaccinated after 5 influenza deaths
Syringes of the influenza virus vaccine are shown in New York, on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)
Published Thursday, January 14, 2016 9:32PM EST
Alberta health officials are concerned that just one in four people in the province have been vaccinated against the influenza virus so far this flu season, and are pointing out that the disease has already caused at least five deaths.
Just over one million of the province’s four million residents have been vaccinated -- about 25 per cent, compared to a 30 per cent vaccination rate by the end of last year’s flu season.
“Influenza is here in Alberta and we’re now seeing its tragic toll,” said Dr. Gerry Predy, Alberta Health Services Senior Medical Officer of Health.
The five deaths include three people from the Edmonton area and two from the Calgary area. Two were children and two were seniors. Two of the deaths were caused by the H3N2 strain and three were caused by H1N1.
Last year by this point, there had already been 33 deaths from influenza in the province.
However, pharmacist Jason Chan-Remillard said the relatively warm weather may have simply delayed the season.
Chan-Remillard said he thinks the lower vaccination rate may have something to do with the “miss” of last year’s influenza shot. An analysis of records from four provinces last January found the vaccine offered in 2014-15 offered “virtually no protection” against the strain that ended up circulated.
However, this season’s vaccine appears to be a good match, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With reports from CTV Edmonton and CTV Calgary