The province is considering shelling out hundreds of dollars an hour for Alberta doctors to help treat patients in the event of a serious H1N1 flu pandemic.

The costly pay rate is part of a proposal being worked on by the province and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA).

The rate would apply to doctors who volunteered to work within the province's H1N1 response plan if a state of public health emergency was declared.

Doctors would be paid $518 per hour during night shifts, $403 an hour during evenings and weekends, and $259 an hour during weekday shifts.

AMA's president Dr. Noel Grisdale said the proposed rates would help ensure that enough health care employees are working during the toughest of times.

Grisdale said workers will likely be exposed to the H1N1 virus and to the sickest people.

On Monday, Alberta's Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Andr� Corriveau, stressed that all Albertans need to get vaccinated in order to reduce the transmission of the H1N1 virus.

Health officials said people need to take advantage of the free seasonal flu vaccine being offered to Albertans over the age of six months by mid-November.

Corriveau predicts that if 75 to 80 per cent of Albertans receive the vaccine, it will significantly reduce the transmission of H1N1.

Health officials said they plan to see what unfolds in other parts of the world. Countries including, Chile and Argentina are now in the peak of flu season, and some data may be offered to help officials here outline a plan on how to handle the virus.

With files from the Canadian Press