Albertans are being encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get a flu shot.

Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw says this year is a double threat from influenza and COVID-19.

Hinshaw says as of now, pharmacies and doctor’s offices around the province are giving the flu vaccine to anyone over five years of age.

“Alberta Health Services is delivering vaccinations this year by appointment only for younger children (under 5) and their households, for people who don’t have a provincial health number, and where there is no other immunization provider. Please book your appointment as soon as possible,” Hinshaw said last Friday.

Dr. Hinshaw stresses the more we can avoid influenza-related tests, emergency visits and hospitalizations the stronger our system will be to support those with COVID-19 and all other health care needs.

The province of Alberta has ordered nearly two million doses of influenza vaccine. Last year, one in three Albertans got the flu shot, numbers Hinshaw stressed must be better than that.

Hinshaw says the flu shot won’t prevent COVID-19, “but it will reduce your chances of getting sick with influenza and spreading it to others”.

During the 2019-2020 influenza season, the were roughly 8,500 confirmed cases across Alberta with 41 deaths reported due to flu complications.