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Albertans advised to modify habits to prevent spread of influenza virus
Chandra Lye, CTV Edmonton
Published Saturday, January 11, 2014 11:54AM MST
Last Updated Saturday, January 11, 2014 6:02PM MST
As health clinics across the province stop offering flu vaccinations, Albertans have been asked to change their habits to prevent the spread of the virus.
According to Alberta Health Services (AHS) clinics in Edmonton, Calgary and the North zone have run out of the vaccine.
As a temporary measure the Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton will be modifying their mass in order to prevent the spread of viruses.
Director of communications for the Archdiocese, Lorraine Turchansky, explained the measures would include not offering the chalice during communion among others.
“Anyone who is distributing communion should sanitize their hands before they start and shouldn’t touch any surfaces before they start to distribute communion,” she added.
Catholics have also been asked to be cautious during the service.
“We are asking people not to shake hands during the sign of peace.
“Instead do a gesture or bow or say some words to each other.”
It is a move that an Edmonton pharmacist recommends everyone make.
“It is easy to transmit the virus from one person to another by shaking hands,” Rajeh Abuzahria from Boyle McCauley Pharmacy & Home Care explained.
Abuzahria said his pharmacy had run out of the vaccine by January 6.
“The last couple of weeks it was crazy busy.
“Within seven days we did almost the same amount as in the last couple of months.”
This is the second time that the Archdiocese has made such changes, the other time was during the flu season of 2009.
“We are caring for each other by trying as best we can to prevent illness,” Turchansky said.
She explained that the decision was made following consultations with AHS.
AHS officials have called this year the most successful vaccination campaign in the province’s history, with over one million people vaccinated.
“This will be the first year that demand has been greater than supply,” chief medical officer of health for AHS, Dr. James Talbot, said.
He also explained that the goal was never to ensure every Albertan received a dose.
“We’re trying to immunize everyone we can, and do it in a fiscally responsible way and in every other year we’ve had vaccine left over.
“That’s just a waste, that’s a waste of money.”
Some vaccine has been reserved for those children who require two doses.
Families looking for the second dose can contact Health Link Alberta, (780) 408-5465 or their local health office.
With files from Sarah Richter