Doctors are warning of another COVID-19 surge in Alberta and urging residents to get their updated vaccine.
Appointments for both the most recent COVID and flu vaccinations became available on Tuesday, and the scheduled appointments will commence on Monday, October 16th.
Dr. Daniel Gregson, an infectious disease specialist from the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine, stated that the vaccine is effective in all age groups for decreasing the likelihood of falling ill or being hospitalized.
He emphasized the significance of vaccination for older Albertans and children under five, as they have the highest risk of hospitalization.
“He mentioned that there has been an increase in the number of hospital admissions. In fact, we have already admitted the same number of patients as we did during the late spring of this year. Therefore, it indicates that the situation is worsening.”
Gregson’s primary concern revolves around the unpredictability of COVID trends.
He expressed worry that we might not be able to vaccinate all the individuals who require it, resulting in overcrowded hospitals.
Alberta hospitals were overwhelmed by a combination of influenza, RSV, and COVID last year, referred to as a “tripledemic.”
“I am observing similarities to previous waves in what we are currently witnessing,” commented Dr. Eddy Lang, who leads the emergency medicine department in the Calgary zone.
He is providing medical care to individuals of all age groups who have contracted COVID-19 in the emergency room, which includes young and generally healthy individuals.
Lang expressed concern about the impact of COVID-19 on older individuals and those with pre-existing conditions such as asthma and chronic lung disease. He emphasized that a significant number of these patients require intravenous treatments and supplemental oxygen.
He stated that as the weeks progress and influenza spreads, the situation will deteriorate.
“It’s very concerning because we know from the Australian experience that the flu season was a very bad one … and there’s no reason to think we won’t also be affected.”
The latest provincial numbers show 90 confirmed flu cases, 20 hospital admissions, two ICU admissions and one death so far this season.
The COVID-19 statistics reporting in the province has been modified. The data available to the public indicates that there have been 552 hospital admissions related to COVID-19, 27 admissions to the intensive care unit (ICU), and 40 deaths since the end of August.
Both doctors are strongly recommending that Albertans receive their COVID and flu vaccinations.
Lang stated that as residents of Alberta, it is crucial for us to make every effort to enhance our well-being and safeguard our dear ones, particularly those who are elderly or susceptible to health issues.
“It will certainly decrease the severity of your infection, lower your ability to spread it to others, and ideally, prevent you or someone you care about from being hospitalized.”
If it has been at least three months since their last shot or infection, the majority of individuals in Alberta are eligible to receive the latest COVID-19 vaccine.
The upcoming COVID-19 version, developed to address the XBB.1.5 mutation, will be accessible to individuals in Alberta who are at least six months old.
The province has placed an order for 1.76 million doses of the updated COVID vaccine and 2.1 million doses of this year’s influenza vaccine. These vaccines will be delivered in multiple shipments.
You can schedule appointments by using the province’s online booking system, visiting community pharmacies, or contacting Health Link at 811.