It could be the he next best thing to a drive-thru flu clinic for a quick free vaccination on the go.
The Lloydminster Co-op pharmacy is one of many pharmacies in Alberta offering free flu clinics and some available walk-in shots for grocery shoppers in October and November.
“We have been doing other vaccinations or other injections for a few years. This is the second year of our flu shot program,” said Michelle Teasdale Co-op pharmacy manager.
“It’s convenience. You are here getting your groceries, you’re here getting prescriptions.
“It’s just one more service we can offer as pharmacists to make it a little easier for you, so one less trip to public health and waiting in line. “
Flu vaccine is available free for all Albertan six months of age and older at hundreds of Alberta Health Services public immunization clinics as well as at pharmacist and doctors’ offices.
Pharmacists in Alberta have been allowed to give flu vaccinations for a few years .
Teasdale got her flu shot at the Co-op pharmacy on 50th Ave. on Oct. 20 on the first day of the new flu shot season in the province.
“We had a pretty good turnout for our first day,” said Teasdale.
Prairie North Health Region is running scheduled public flu clinics in various locations throughout Lloydminster from Oct. 19 to Nov. 16.
Teasdale said providing flu shots at the Co-op pharmacy takes pressure off public health having to do the entire city of Lloydminster.
“It’s spread out between all the pharmacies, there is more people doing it and there’s more chance of getting Albertans immunized,” she noted.
Three Co-op pharmacists and one student have been trained to administer the vaccine, but they can only immunize adults 18 and up by needle injections until mid November.
That’s when their supply of FluMist brand nasal spray vaccine will arrive.
“The FluMist is recommended for children from age nine to 17 and anybody who is not able or doesn’t want to have a needle,” said Teasdale.
“Right now, pharmacists don’t have access to the FluMist yet.”
“As pharmacists we can only immunize people nine years old and up, but they do give it younger than that at public health.”
PNHR is offering needle-free immunizations to students at several schools in the region. Local public health nurses will be in select schools on assigned days to administer the vaccine.
Staff at the same schools will also be able to get their flu immunization.
Immunization is the most effective means of protecting against the strains of influenza virus expected to circulate this season.
Because those strains change from season season Albertans are reminded they can’t rely on having been immunized in years past.
To be protected this season, everyone should be immunized this season according to Teasdale.
“Vaccines are really important especially for influenza. The disease itself has a lot of risk in causing complications especially in the elderly or in young children - things like pneumonia and ear infections - all the way to sudden death,” she said.
“By getting the vaccine you are preventing yourself from getting sick and preventing others from getting sick.
“The more people we get vaccinated the less people that get sick out there.”