Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services (AHS) released details on this year’s influenza immunization program Tuesday.

Starting on October 23, the province’s Influenza Immunization Program will launch, offering free flu shots to all Albertans aged six-months and older through clinics, pharmacies and doctors’ offices.

This season, AHS purchased 1.6 million doses of flu vaccine, their aim to vaccinate 35 percent of the population.

“The protection of our population is our number one goal,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw with Alberta Health said.

Last year, 64 people died from the flu in Alberta, and more than 1,600 went to hospital because of it.

A difference from last season, the province is not making the vaccine available in nasal mist form through their immunization program.

That particular vaccine will still be available, officials said, but only through pharmacies, and patients will have to pay out of pocket for it.

“There used to be a recommendation that FluMist was more protective, and that’s no longer the case,” Dr. Hinshaw said.

“There may be some pharmacies that might be stocking it at private cost, and that would be up to Albertans to talk to their pharmacies about that.”

It’s not clear how much that would cost.

With files from Susan Amerongen