With the approaching respiratory illness season, North of Superior Healthcare Group (NOSH) and Marathon Family Health Team (MFHT) are encouraging community members to keep their vaccinations up to date. Particularly, it is strongly recommended to receive both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines, especially for those at higher risk of severe illness from these respiratory infections, as well as for healthcare workers and first responders.
This year, we face the potential challenge of two viruses circulating in our communities: the flu/influenza virus and the COVID-19 virus. Getting vaccinated against both of these viruses can play an important role in preventing the spread of illness in our communities. Additionally, receiving both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines at the same time is a safe and convenient option that can help keep you healthy and reduce the need for visits to clinics or hospitals.
Who is at risk
Some people are at a greater risk of serious complications from respiratory infectious diseases than others, including:
- people who are pregnant
- people who aren’t vaccinated
- people living with lung disease
- older persons, especially over 65 years of age
- young children, especially those who are under 5 years of age
- infants, especially those who are premature or under 6 months of age
- people with chronic medical conditions, including those who are immunocompromised
Why getting vaccinated is important
Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect both yourself and your loved ones from infection or serious complications. Vaccines play a crucial role in disease prevention, which helps protect the health of the entire community. Some vaccines offer lifelong protection, while others require annual vaccinations or booster doses to maintain long-term protection, such as the flu and COVID vaccines.
Flu and COVID-19 vaccines: What you need to know
The flu (influenza) vaccine is recommended this fall for those six months and older and particularly for those in the highest risk groups; the vaccine can be safely co-administered with the COVID-19 vaccine. Children from 6 months to less than 9 years of age who have never had a flu shot before should receive 2 doses. It’s recommended that the interval between doses be at least 4 weeks apart.
COVID-19 vaccines recommended for everyone six months of age or older and particularly those at high risk. Doses are recommended at an interval of six months after either the last COVID-19 infection or last COVID-19 vaccination and can be safely co-administered with the flu vaccine. The updated COVID-19 vaccine, which better protects against the new Omicron XXB variant, has been approved by Health Canada and will be available at upcoming community vaccination clinics. The current COVID-19 vaccines will also continue to be available for those who are not yet eligible to receive one.
When to get your flu and/or COVID-19 vaccine
NOSH and MFHT have partnered to provide multiple community vaccination clinics this fall, offering both flu and COVID-19 vaccines. These clinics will be held at the Margaret Twomey Public School gymnasium on the following dates:
- Thursday, October 26 from 3-6pm
- Thursday, November 2 from 3-6pm
- Tuesday, November 7 from 3-6pm
- Thursday, November 9 from 3-6pm
To book an appointment, please contact MFHT by:
Reducing the spread of respiratory illness
In addition to keeping your vaccinations up to date, you can do the following to help reduce the spread of illness in our communities:
- Wash your hands often and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home and workplace.
- Wear a mask:
- To protect yourself from viral respiratory illnesses.
- To protect others at higher risk of severe respiratory illness.
- When you’re recovering from illness.
For more information on the flu shot, please visit the Government of Ontario’s website.