Hamilton Public Health urging residents to vaccinate with flu season in full swing

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Published December 13, 2023 at 10:21 am

vaccination

Hamilton Public Health Services is urging Hamiltonians to protect themselves and others to reduce the spread of respiratory illness by getting their COVID-19 and flu shots to build protection this holiday season.

The spread of respiratory viruses including Covid, influenza and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) has increased through the fall and continues to spread as people gather indoors.

Getting the seasonal flu shot as well as an updated COVID-19 XBB vaccine provides important protection against respiratory viruses and can prevent illness and spread, said Hamilton Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Lew.

“Now is the time to ensure you have up-to-date protection against COVID-19 and influenza,” Lew said. “This is important both for yourself, as well as your loved ones, particularly those who might be older or higher risk. I encourage all Hamiltonians to take the opportunity to talk to your loved ones to remind them of the importance of COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations and support them to get out to get these vaccines.”

The COVID-19 XBB vaccine available is updated to more closely match currently circulating sub-variants of COVID-19.

Hamilton residents six months of age and older can access flu and COVID-19 vaccines through participating local pharmacies, primary care and community partners, and Hamilton Public Health Services vaccine clinics.

A list of pharmacies providing flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines can be found at ontario.ca/vaccine-locations/.

For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and to book an appointment at a Hamilton Public Health Services vaccine clinic, visit hamilton.ca/GetYourVaccine.

Residents are recommended to receive a dose of the COVID-19 XBB vaccine if it has been six months since their last dose or confirmed COVID-19 infection. Talk to a health care professional to help determine what’s right for you.

COVID-19 and flu vaccine administration for ages six months to under five years old may vary across pharmacies. Contact the pharmacy before booking an appointment to confirm.

Individuals aged 60 years and older who are residents of long-term care homes and retirement homes providing dementia care; hospitalized patients awaiting placement; dialysis and transplant patients; indigenous residents; and people experiencing homelessness can receive publicly funded Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccines through their long-term care home, retirement home or healthcare provider.

In addition to getting the flu shot and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccination, Hamiltonians are encouraged to take other precautions, including:

  • Screening for respiratory symptoms daily and staying home if you’re not feeling well.
  • Wearing a tight-fitting, well-constructed mask in indoor public settings.
  • Practicing good respiratory hygiene including frequent handwashing and covering your nose and mouth if coughing or sneezing.
  • Optimizing the ventilation of the spaces you are gathering in, either by gathering outdoors, or increasing the amount of fresh air that is flowing into a space.
  • Speaking with a professional healthcare provider about treatments for COVID-19, influenza and RSV, and a plan to access them should you become ill.

During the colder months, there is increased transmission of respiratory illnesses, including the flu, COVID-19 and RSV. For more information about current respiratory virus transmission trends in the community, visit  the Hamilton Public Health Services weekly transmission summary at hamilton.ca/ColdFluCovid.

COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test kits can be picked up from select City of Hamilton locations. For a list of locations and information about who can benefit from this program, visit hamilton.ca/covidtesting.

 

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