Hamilton opens flu shots to everyone ‘in anticipation of an increase in respiratory illnesses’


Published November 1, 2022 at 10:27 am

The public health unit in Hamilton is encouraging residents to roll up both sleeves to increase personal and community shielding from the ‘twindemic’ of a heavy flu season piled on top of COVID-19.

The City of Hamilton says effective today (Nov. 1), flu shots are available to the general public from over 350 providers. Free flu shots are available for everyone who lives, works or attends school in Ontario. Hamiltonians six months of age and older can get a flu shot from their primary care provider (family doctor, nurse practitioner, or walk-in clinic). Anyone two years of age and older can get their flu shot from a participating pharmacy.

Both of Hamilton’s hospital networks are running over capacity and have had extended wait times in the past few months.

“The flu shot is especially important for children under five, individuals who are pregnant and those 65 years and older who are at higher risk of hospitalization and flu-related complications, such as pneumonia, heart attack or death,” Hamilton Public Health said in a release. “These severe outcomes can place an extra burden on Hamilton’s significantly strained hospitals and healthcare capacity.

Residents can find locations to receive their flu shot at hamilton.ca/flu.

Community members five years of age and over can receive their flu shot and monovalent or bivalent COVID booster at the same time or within days of each other. Those looking to receive the flu shot are encouraged to check with participating pharmacies and their primary care providers as these healthcare partners continue to be the key locations to receive a flu shot in Hamilton.

HPH encourages all Hamiltonians 12 years of age and over are eligible to receive a bivalent COVID-19 booster dose, if they meet the following eligibility criterion:

  • Completed their primary vaccine series (received a first and second dose);
  • The recommended six months (minimum three months) has passed since their most recent dose; and
  • They have not been infected with COVID-19 over the past three months.

Appointments for a COVID-19 booster can be booked on Hamilton’s booking tool 14 days in advance.

Transmission tracking to be adjusted

The city, beginning Wednesday (Nov. 2), will convert its weekly COVID-19 Transmission Status Summary will to a Respiratory Virus Transmission Status Summary.

“This enhanced resource updated weekly will include data and information on the local transmission status of both COVID-19 and influenza to provide community members a better understanding of the presence of these respiratory illnesses in Hamilton,” HPH said.

The conversion will also include an “influenza-focused dashboard.” That will include a new resource tracking active outbreaks (respiratory and enteric) in Hamilton beyond COVID-19 outbreaks.

The new dashboard and outbreak resource will launch before the end of 2022, HPH said.

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