The recent outbreak of influenza in our province has many Edmontonians rethinking the notion of getting vaccinated.
Since August, there have been over 1,100 confirmed cases of the flu in our province. Over 450 of those cases were here in Edmonton.
Dr. Marcia Johnson, a Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services (AHS) says the number of cases of influenza is up this year compared to previous years.
As of January 5, public health had given approximately 149,000 doses of influenza vaccine but, that number doesn't take into account the people who were immunized by their doctor or pharmacist.
"Certainly, the numbers immunized by public health in the Edmonton area is less than it was last year," Johnson explained.
The increase in the number of cases of the flu has led to capacity pressures at area hospitals, partially because more people than usual are requesting treatment for influenza-like and gastro-intestinal-type illnesses, according to AHS. The strain on the health care system led to the cancellation of at least five surgeries in Edmonton.
But, Johnson says over the past week, the number of people coming into public health centres to get immunized has increased.
"With all the attention, people have realized that it's here and it's causing trouble and it feels awful."
It's not too late to get immunized, and because viruses can be very different, immunization is still recommended for those who have already had a dose of the flu.