December 10, 2023

Hundreds of thousands of Albertans rolled up their sleeves in the first week of Alberta’s new immunization campaign.

According to data released Thursday, 312,072 doses of flu shots were administered in the week of Oct. 15, representing 7.8 per cent of all Albertans. Of all children aged six months to four years, 4.6 per cent got their flu shot.

And 215,224 doses of the XBB-targeting COVID-19 immunizations were put into arms of 5.2 per cent of Albertans.

The province made both shots widely available to the public on Oct. 16.

Initially, Alberta Health limited the number of doses pharmacies was able to order to 100 COVID-19 doses “to ensure an equitable distribution across the province and to limit waste.” The province raised that limit to 350 on Oct. 23.

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Click to play video: 'Edmonton pharmacies busy after first week of flu and COVID vaccines'

Edmonton pharmacies busy after first week of flu and COVID vaccines

Since the start of the respiratory virus season at the end of August, pharmacies have given out more than 90 per cent of COVID doses and more than 80 per cent of flu doses.

Calgary and Edmonton zones have seen the highest uptake in both types of immunization, with the South zone close behind.

In addition to preventing severe disease and death, scientists believe the new XBB-formulated COVID vaccine can better help prevent people from catching the airborne virus.

Aerosol scientists say properly-used high-quality masks like N95, KN95 or KF94 masks are highly effective at preventing infection.

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COVID, flu numbers increase

In the week ending Oct. 21, 222 more Albertans were hospitalized for COVID and 11 were admitted to ICUs.

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All age ranges were represented in the new hospitalizations, and Albertans aged 40 and older were added to ICU.

The province added nine more COVID deaths that week, bringing the pandemic total to 5,956. One of those new deaths was of an Albertan in their 40s.

The positivity rate on PCR tests remained high at 17.8 per cent, the same as the previous week.

Influenza numbers also saw increases.

There were 57 more lab-confirmed cases, 14 more hospitalizations and two more ICU admissions.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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