CALGARY -- Alberta's flu vaccination program will begin on Monday, Oct., 19, provincial officials confirmed Thursday.

It will also be available to vulnerable populations a few days earlier through health practitioners.  

With an expected increase in demand due to the pandemic, the province ordered 1.96 million doses, which is 23 per cent more than last year.  

"Health practitioners will begin offering vaccines to vulnerable groups as soon as they receive it, which should be by Oct. 13, at the latest," said Tom McMillan, assistant director of communications for Alberta Health said in a statement.

"This will be done through the Alberta Outreach Program, which includes those in long-term care and supportive living, as well as homeless or marginalized Albertans.

"Alberta will also be offering a high dose influenza vaccine for seniors in long-term care facilities for the first time. The vaccine is Fluzone High-Dose."

McMillan said more information on where Albertans will be able to get flu shots will be shared in early October.

"Immunizations will once again be offered through public health clinics, doctor’s offices and community pharmacies," he said.

"We are currently developing new policies to address physical distancing and other public health measures that may be necessary this year as a result of the pandemic."