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Vaccine availability expands as death toll rises

H1N1 vaccinations become available to more Albertans Friday.

H1N1 vaccinations become available to more Albertans Friday.

People with chronic conditions between the ages of 45 and 54 are the latest high-risk group allowed to receive the vaccine.

Additional high-risk groups will be added early next week. Those groups may include the homeless, First Nations, adolescents in group homes, the severely obese and those with neurological disorders.

People who don’t fall in high-risk groups will have to wait a few more weeks.

Five more Albertans infected with the virus died near the week’s end, though all had underlying health conditions, chief medical officer of health Dr. Andre Corriveau said Thursday.

Of the fatalities across the province, 33 of 34 people had pre-existing medical conditions.

The number of deaths are not uncommon for a regular flu season, Corriveau said, and he urged Albertans not to panic.

“People have had to walk a fine line between hype and underestimating,” he said. “But we are talking about a pandemic virus, and there are a lot of people sick in our ICUs.”

 
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