EDMONTON -- Alberta pharmacies are preparing to face an increased demand for flu vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health, highlighted the importance of getting a flu shot this year.

"I am strongly urging all Albertans, especially seniors and those who are high risk to get immunized with this program later this month," Hinshaw said. "Do it for yourself and do it for those around you. When immunized you protect not just your own health but the health of your loved ones, as well as more vulnerable seniors, young children and those with chronic health conditions."

A survey released by the Canadian Pharmacists Association in August showed 57 per cent of respondents will "definitely" or "probably" get a flu shot this year, while only 45 per cent of them said they got one last year.

Alberta ordered 1.96 million doses of the influenza virus vaccine, a record for the province and more than 20 per cent compared to last year.

Vulnerable Albertans can get their flu shot no later than Oct. 13, while Albertans six months and older can get theirs by Oct. 19.

"Most pharmacies are planning for an appointment-based process, which is very different from previous years," said Matt Tachuk with the Alberta Pharmacists Association.

Health officials are asking Albertans to book early to be prepared when flu season hits its peak.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jay Rosove