Pharmacist Jason Kmet of the Polaris Travel Clinic is hoping you’ll get your flu shot this year, and if you do, that you choose to get it at his clinic. Kmet said the clinic will be donating $1 from each flu shot they give to the Airdrie Health Foundation (AHF).
“We thought it would be a good way to give something back to the community,” Kmet said. “We think the work the AHF is doing trying to advocate for healthcare in Airdrie is a really good cause.
“There’s lots of places out there you can get a flu shot done right now and we thought if you come get it through us you can know that a little bit is going back to a worthwhile healthcare organization in Airdrie.”
Flu shots are free for residents as long as they have an Alberta Personal Health Card. According to Kmet, Alberta Health reimburses pharmacies for each shot they give.
“We get a small fee to do each one and we’re going to do $1 back from each one,” he said. “The public doesn’t have to pay anything. We’re going to keep track of (how many we administer) and then once the big rush for flu shots is over we’ll total it up and donate $1 each for each person.”
Michelle Bates, AHF chair, said organizers “really appreciate” what Polaris is doing.
“It’s nice when a business already involved in improving the healthcare of residents decides to help the Airdrie Health Foundation,” she said.
According to Kmet, getting a flu shot helps protect individuals from getting sick themselves and from spreading the disease to others.
“I still think it’s an excellent preventative measure for trying to stay healthy over the winter,” he said. “We know it does decrease the risk of getting the flu. Every year we do the best estimate of what the strains are. While the flu shot may not always be 100 per cent effective, if you don’t get one it’s zero per cent effective.”
Alberta Health Services (AHS) recommends the flu shot for all individuals over six months of age, especially those who come in contact with people at risk from the disease such as healthcare workers. Pregnant women should also be immunized.
According to statistics on the AHS website, the flu causes approximately 12,200 people to be admitted to the hospital and approximately 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.
Flu shots are available at the Polaris Travel Clinic or at a number of open clinics Kmet said they have set up around the city, including Nov. 2 at the Airdrie Food Bank and Nov. 3 at Genesis Place Recreation Centre and at North Rocky View Community Links.
“We like to get out into the community and go to a few different places,” Kmet said. “We’ve been going to the Airdrie Food Bank for about three years. We just like the idea of getting out there and reaching different people.”
For more information about Polaris’ flu clinics, visit polaristravelclinic.ca/flu
AHS is also providing flu shots to residents at clinics held at the Airdrie Town and Country Centre. The clinics began Oct. 25 and run through Dec. 3. Dates and times are available at albertahealthservices.ca