Warning of virus threats, Hamilton recommends COVID-19 boosters and flu shots


Published October 30, 2023 at 4:12 pm

covid-19 coronavirus booster vaccination

As COVID-19 remains a global threat and the virus season begins, the City of Hamilton is encouraging residents to get influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, now available for those six months of age and over. 

Hamilton Public Health Services said COVID and flu vaccines are “safe, effective and strongly recommended.”

“Vaccination is an important protective measure in both the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 and influenza and in reducing the risk of the serious complications of these respiratory infections,” according to the City in a press release today (Oct. 30). “Hamilton Public Health Services continues to urge Hamiltonians to remain vigilant and take a multi-layered approach to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses, using multiple measures in addition to vaccines.”

It added that COVID-19 “remains a significant concern worldwide.”

Dr. Brendan Lew, associate medical officer of health, said it’s important for residents to get the most up-to-date protection from respiratory viruses.

If it has been six months since the last dose or confirmed COVID-19 infection,  individuals are encouraged to get their next COVID-19 shot.

“We encourage Hamiltonians to make a plan to get vaccinated, and to ensure that loved ones who are older, immunocompromised or have medical conditions are supported to get vaccinated,” Lew said in a statement. “Vaccination is key to keep our community healthy, reduce the health impacts of influenza and COVID-19, and reduce strain on our community’s healthcare system.”

Residents reminded of proper respiratory etiquette

Hamilton Public Health Services and local healthcare partners are recommending residents get their vaccines since the respiratory virus season is underway.

The vaccines are available at participating local pharmacies, primary care and community partners, and Hamilton Public Health Services vaccine clinics. 

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

As well, COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test kits can be picked up from select locations.

Along with staying up to date with vaccines, Hamilton Public Health Services reminds residents about proper respiratory etiquette by covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and disposing of used tissues promptly.

It encourages people to screen for respiratory symptoms daily and stay home when sick.

Residents are advised to wear a mask that is tight-fitting and well-constructed when they are in indoor public settings. People are reminded to practice good hand hygiene by washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

Disinfecting shared surfaces and shared items is important, it added.

During fall and winter, common respiratory viruses include influenza (flu), common cold viruses (rhinoviruses) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). 

COVID-19, flu transmission in Hamilton ‘low and stable,’ latest data shows 

For its weekly update on Oct. 25, Hamilton Public Health found that overall COVID-19 transmission is “low” and “stable” and influenza transmission is “sporadic” and “stable.” Reported cases and hospitalizations are stable.  ICU admissions have decreased. However, wastewater signal, test positivity and the number of active outbreaks have increased. For test positivity, it rose 16.6 per cent on Oct. 8, 17.7 per cent on Oct. 15 and 19 per cent on Oct. 22. The number of outbreaks swelled with 11 on Oct. 10, 12 on Oct. 17 and 16 on Oct. 24.

Influenza transmission in Hamilton is “sporadic” and “stable.” It found influenza wastewater signal remains at zero, while cases and positive tests are reported sporadically.  

Meanwhile, RSV test positivity and  wastewater signal have increased. For RSV test positivity, it rose 1.3 per cent on Oct. 7, 2.7 per cent on Oct. 14 and 3.5 per cent on Oct. 21. It found the number of active respiratory outbreaks has stabilized.

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