A pharmacy in Airdrie will be administering flu shots and supporting a local cause at the same time this fall.
From Oct. 19 to Nov. 14, the Polaris Travel Clinic and Pharmacy at 191 Edwards Way S.W. will be donating $1 to Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. for every flu vaccine they administer. The donation will help support the ongoing construction of Airdrie P.O.W.E.R.’s day shelter for women fleeing abusive relationships.
“It’s something we’ve done most years since we opened,” said pharmacist Jason Kmet, who owns the business. “We’ve been around for...almost eight years now, and every fall, we try to pick a local charity to support with this donation setup. We know Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. is working on their new facility and thought they would be a good, worthy, local cause.”
According to airdriepower.com, Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. is a non-profit organization that seeks to provide women in Airdrie and area the means to leave an abusive environment through emergency resources, education and empowerment. The non-profit has been fundraising for years to establish the city’s first women’s day shelter.
"We're literally weeks away from being able to open," said Airdrie P.O.W.E.R. founder Crystal Boys. "We're just completing a few of the last-minute deficiencies and should have our permit in hand in no time, and be open very soon."
Boys said Polaris Travel Clinic and Pharmacy's initiative is another example of the community's continued support for the shelter.
"It never stops astounding me the amount of support the community has given this shelter," she said. "This shelter, from the ground up, has been built by the community of Airdrie."
With a heightened focus on health and the risk of viral infections due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kmet said the pharmacy expects plenty of demand for the flu shot this year.
“The response this year has been very high – higher than any year we’ve had before,” he said. “Around the world, the awareness of the importance of getting the flu shot has definitely gone up.”
Polaris Travel Clinic and Pharmacy will offer flu shots by appointment or on a drop-in basis, and Kmet said the clinic has a new online booking system accessible via polaristravelclinic.ca/flu
Flu shots are free for anyone with an Alberta health care card and available to anyone aged five years and older. The clinic will be open for extended hours, Kmet added, with enhanced cleaning and sanitization measures in place to help limit the potential spread of COVID-19.
“We’re doing all the standard protocols that people are starting to get used to at this point,” he said. “We’re wearing masks and expecting patients to wear masks. We’re limiting people in the waiting room and trying to space out appointments a little more than we usually would. If the waiting room is full, we’ll try to keep people in their cars and just bring them in to do the shot.”
According to Kmet, this year’s vaccine will help protect against the four most common strains of the flu.
“It’s not a guarantee and doesn’t cover every version of the flu, but it covers the four we think you’re the most likely to be exposed to,” he said. “If you’re exposed to one of those strains of the flu, you won’t get sick – your body will have already created antibodies from the vaccine. That’s the idea behind it.”
While the number of people who are against receiving immunizations has increased in recent years, Kmet said receiving the flu shot is a good idea.
“When you look at the benefits against the risks – that’s what you always have to look at whenever you’re talking about anything medical – the downsides to getting the flu shots are pretty limited,” he said. “You can’t get the flu from the flu shot. It’s an inactivated vaccine and there’s no possible way for that to happen, even though some people feel that’s the case.
“Especially this year, we’re all trying to be extra careful with everything going on with COVID. For those reasons, it’s a good call.”