Broadly available flu shots may be responsible for a higher rate of people getting the preventative pinch. In 2010, only 22 per cent of Albertans took advantage of the free flu shot, in 2015 that number is up slightly to 27 per cent.
An example of the plan to make the flu shot more accessible was Tuesday’s Oilers game where a group of Rexall managers were on hand to inoculate fans. Sylvie Druteika told Global News it makes sense to come to where the people are.
“They’re here for the game, they’re here to enjoy a good evening, they’d like to enjoy more good evenings, so to stay healthy they can take the time to sit with us for a few minutes and the flu shot done.”
Since the universal immunization program began in 2009 the shot has been available in clinics, malls, campuses, workplaces and pharmacies. A Canadian study has shown that provinces that allow pharmacists to deliver the flu shot leads to more people getting immunized.
Bob McQueen is a pharmacist owner of an Edmonton Medicine Shoppe pharmacy and he said, it’s a matter of convenience.
“I do think they’ve come in for, maybe to pick up a prescription or maybe to get something else and decided, ‘oh hey, there’s nobody here,’ we can do it right away.”
Edmonton’s Medical Officer of Health, AHS’ Dr. Joanna Oda said getting the immunization numbers up is a matter of education.
“They’ll get their flu shot and then they’ll get a cold and they’ll think, ‘argh, that flu shot didn’t work,’ and it’s true, that cold might have been the flu, but chances are it was an entirely different virus that our vaccine does not protect against, or, quite possibly that was the flu, and it was a milder case because the got their flu shot.”
Oda said she thinks it’s great that you can get your flu shot in a number of different settings, given that the flu causes more hospital visits than heart attacks and stroke. She says that the flu vaccine is the best way to ensure you don’t come down with the nasty illness.