Time to get your COVID, flu and RSV shots in Hamilton


Published December 14, 2023 at 3:32 pm

It’s time for Hamiltonians to get their COVID, flu and RSV vaccines as the city’s already strained hospitals face a jump in the communicable viruses.

As people begin to shelter indoors away from the winter cold, like clockwork viruses begin to spread. Inevitably this causes a surge in people who need treatment in a hospital from those viruses. However, this can be alleviated if residents are vaccinated, reducing their risk of transferring the virus.

This surge has already begun per Hamilton Health Science’s updates, “The emergency department at McMaster Children’s Hospital is busier than usual due to an increase in respiratory illnesses,” they wrote on Nov. 30.

At that time most of Hamilton’s hospitals were operating beyond full capacity;

Hamilton General Hospital 102%
Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre 102%
McMaster Children’s Hospital 105%
West Lincoln Memorial Hospital 98%

The hospital reports the had 80 people with COVID-19, fewer than five of whom were in Intensive Care. “Now is the time to get your COVID-19 and influenza vaccines to build protection this holiday season,” the city said.

“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. The COVID-19 XBB vaccine available this season is updated to more closely match currently circulating sub-variants of COVID-19,” said the city. These changes are not unusual as the flu vaccine also evolves from year-to-year.

Any Hamiltonian older than six months can go to nearly any pharmacy in the city for their shots. However, parents should double-check with their pharmacy if they need a shot for a child under five.

“The “season of giving” shouldn’t extend to germs! Keep your friends, loved ones, and neighbours safe this winter. Practice good hand hygiene, stay home if you’re feeling unwell, and get your flu shot,” said Mayor Andrea Horwath.

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