October 10. 2023 —The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit (HNHU) is continuing to remind residents to stay safe this respiratory illness season and prevent unnecessary visits to the hospital by staying up to date on vaccinations. Individuals are encouraged to get their flu and COVID-19 shots as soon as they are eligible to receive them.
Starting in October, Moderna’s updated SPIKEVAX XBB COVID-19 vaccine will be available for the most vulnerable, higher-risk populations in Haldimand and Norfolk counties. The Ontario Ministry of Health has released a Fall Vaccine Guidance that prioritizes the following groups for the first phase of the vaccine rollout:
- Patients and staff at hospitals
- Residents and staff at Long Term Care Homes, Retirement Homes, Elder Care Lodges and other congregate living settings
- Pregnant individuals
- Individuals 65 years of age and older
- All children six months to four years of age
- Individuals who are from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community, and/or who self-identify as First Nation, Inuit, or Métis, and their household members
- Individuals six months of age and older with underlying health conditions per NACI recommendations
- Members of racialized and other equity-deserving communities
- Health care workers and first responders
It is recommended to receive your updated COVID-19 vaccination six months after your latest dose or latest confirmed COVID-19 infection. Likewise, it is safe to co-administer the vaccine with this year’s influenza vaccine.
Both the XBB COVID-19 and influenza vaccines will be available to the public following the rollout to high-risk populations. We anticipate this to be towards the end of October.
Appointment bookings at the HNHU clinics for eligible priority groups are now open and can be booked online at hnhu.org/popup. Residents may also book their COVID-19 and influenza vaccinations through local pharmacies.
To learn more about how to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses this fall, visit www.hnhu.org or speak with your healthcare provider.