CALGARY -- Alberta Health Services, during its first weekly update for influenza immunization on Thursday, says almost 600,000 residents have gone for their seasonal flu shot so far.

According to the data on its website, 597,110 doses of the influenza vaccine have been administered since it first became available on Oct. 19.

The Calgary zone has the highest number of residents who've gotten their shot (246,962), followed closely by the Edmonton zone where 210,339 people were immunized.

So far, the only laboratory-confirmed case of influenza is in the Central zone, where more than 55,000 people have received the vaccine.

During her COVID-19 update on Thursday, Alberta's chief medical officer of health had high praise for all Albertans who have already been immunized.

"I would like to say 'Thank you' to everyone who has taken the time to get their flu shot," said Dr. Deena Hinshaw.

"Thank you for doing your part to help stop the spread of influenza and for helping our health system stay focused on the pandemic response. For anyone who hasn't had a flu shot, now is the time."

Hinshaw says the flu shot does not provide any defence against COVID-19, but said it does help Albertans from becoming ill with influenza and spreading that virus to others.

In the past flu season, 1,438,866 doses of the seasonal flu vaccine were administered to Albertans.

The virus led to the deaths of 39 people between August 2019 and May 2020.

Hinshaw added that while influenza has been around for years, it is still dangerous to those who are vulnerable.

"Influenza is not new like COVID-19, but it is very serious. Getting immunized is an act of kindness both to yourself, and to the community that you belong in."