Public Health Sudbury & Districts (PHSD) said it will be offering a phased approach for COVID-19 and influenza vaccines to the general public toward the end of October, while people considered high-risk can get an updated COVID vaccine and influenza vaccine beginning Oct. 2.
Individuals are encouraged to book their COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot appointments as soon as they are eligible, said a news release from the health unit.
Medical officer of health Dr. Penny Sutcliffe said it is especially important to stay up to date on vaccines as we head into fall and winter.
“As we gather indoors for work and school, it is important that we do as much as we can to reduce the risk of severe illness and hospitalization. Remember, stay home when you feel sick, wash your hands often, and cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Consider wearing a mask, particularly if you are at higher risk of severe infection,” said Sutcliffe.
The latest vaccine provides greater protection against the currently circulating Omicron XBB subvariants, said PHSD. The XBB.1.5-containing mRNA vaccine is Health Canada-approved for everyone older than six months.
"Individuals six months and older are considered up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines if they have received a fall 2023 COVID-19 dose. For those six months to four years of age who are not previously immunized, two doses are required," said PHSD.
The vaccines will be available on a priority basis for the following:
- Hospitalized individuals and hospital staff;
- Long-term care home and Elder Care Lodge residents, staff, and caregivers; and
- Individuals that are considered at high-risk for COVID-19 related complications or hospitalizations.
Participating pharmacies and primary care providers may also offer the COVID-19 vaccine. The influenza vaccine will be available at many locations such as local pharmacies and health care providers’ offices. Check with your local pharmacy or health care provider about COVID-19 and influenza vaccine availability, said the health unit.
To book your COVID-19 appointment, visit covid-19.ontario.ca/book-vaccine or call 705-522-9200 (toll-free: 1-866-522-9200). The Ontario call centre is open Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. and is closed on statutory holidays. In recognition of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Public Health Sudbury & District offices will be closed Sept. 29.
For those interested in booking a flu shot only, please call 705-522-9200, extension 0. Where possible, Public Health plans to offer opportunities for clients to receive both COVID-19 vaccines and flu vaccines at the same time.
Len Gillis covers health care and mining for Sudbury.com.