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Ralph Klein has gone and it is time to retire Ralph's World. Thanks to all of you who have supported this venture by contributing material and through your comments. It has been fun.

Should we get another blog underway? Let me know your thoughts by e-mailing me at johnnyslow@gmail.com.

John Slow
January 1, 2007

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Freddie's Diary - Article 16 

SENIORS URGED TO GET FREE ANTI-PNEUMONIA VACCINE
Sept. 21, 1999, Edmonton Journal

Alberta Health has a new shot in the arm for seniors--free vaccine that protects against pneumonia and more serious infections such as meningitis. Every Albertan over 65 can now get the pneumococcal vaccine along with their annual flu shot.

Dr. Karen Grimsrud, deputy provincial health officer said,"We want to protect against the nasty germ called Streptococcus Pneumoniae because of the seriousness and high mortality rates of the diseases it causes." About 400 people die each year in Alberta from Pneumococcal infections. Alberta Health's goal is to vaccinate at least 75 % of Alberta's 280,000 seniors within the next two years, Grimsrud said. The good news is that most people will only need to get the vaccine once.

Grimsrud said the pneumococcal vaccine has been available and well tested since the early 1980s, but it has been underused. Last year it was extended to people in nursing homes and other long-term facilities. This is the first year it has been free to everyone over 65. Grimsrud said.

Last year (2003) I asked for this vaccine and was told only those who are disabled or have a chronic condition can have free vaccine, no other senior need apply.

COSTLY TEST FOR SENIORS
August 18, 2000, Edmonton Journal, Ralph Haeckel.

Regarding the administration of driver assessments for senior citizens, I passed the test and am glad to still have a driver's licence. My doctors ordered me to take the assessment for medical reasons. They told me to visit a firm that specializes in testing of drivers who have medical or cognitive problems that could affect their driving ability.

I am not opposed to the test itself, but I am appalled by the charge of $214, including GST. The cost for the procedure should be covered by Alberta Health, since a certified physician, who felt he needed the information to further diagnose on his patient, ordered it.

In a letter to me the health minister stated the reason the test was not covered was that a certified physician did not perform it. Let me point out there are many tasks and procedures in the medical field such as blood tests and X Rays, that are done by trained technicians who in many cases are in business on their own and work in conjunction with physicians.

The minister tells me in his letter that the expense of the assessment is a small price for me to pay in order to ensure the safety of my family and myself. He also suggests that the next time I need to undergo and assessment I should shop around for prices and they may vary. I think the minister should have known there is no other firm that offers this test in Alberta

I wonder how many people this testing has affected over the past few years. The average citizen does not know about these types of things unless they themselves have to be tested.

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