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Influenza, COVID-19 vaccines important to prevent 'twindemic': expert

Albertans can get a COVID-19 booster and a flu shot at the same time starting on Monday.

Alberta Health Services launched its influenza immunization campaign at public health clinics, pharmacies for people five years and older, and some doctor's offices.

The public health clinics will accept children six months to five years old, people without a health-care number, and Albertans who live in communities without other immunization options.

COVID-19 vaccines will also be available to people who made an influenza appointment, and a separate booking is not necessary.

For more information, visit AHS' website.


For a sense of how much respiratory viruses will impact Albertans this winter, Dr. Noel Gibney pointed to Australia and New Zealand.

The two countries in the southern hemisphere were hit hard by influenza and COVID-19 during their winter, the University of Alberta's professor emeritus in the department of critical care medicine told CTV News.

"In all probability, we're going to see something similar. Now, it doesn't always track but it's pretty accurate in terms of what we can expect," Gibney said.

"We're in a situation where we also risk having what the Australians describe as a twindemic where they had both COVID and a particularly nasty influenza season."

At last count, Alberta had 40 influenza cases and 10 people have been hospitalized so far.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are just above 1,000, a number comparable to the fourth wave this time last year.

There were no cases of influenza in 2020-2021 and 2,906 in 2021-2022.

Influenza typically affects young children and the elderly, Gidney explained, and he encouraged Albertans to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families.

"It stops you [from] getting seriously ill," he said.

"By getting your booster for COVID plus your booster for influenza, you can potentially decrease your risks and your family's risks of picking of these conditions. And for that reason it's really a good idea." Top Stories

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