COVID, flu shots reduce ‘danger’ of having to take other health measures this winter: Trudeau – National

Canadians should get vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu to reduce the “danger” of needing other health measures this winter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Speaking at an event in the Ottawa area on Monday, Trudeau urged vaccination against the two respiratory viruses to protect healthcare systems from preventable admissions.

“One of the things to remember as flu season approaches is that people should get vaccinated, whether it’s the flu vaccine or keeping up with your COVID injections,” he told reporters.

“There are actually new formulations now that cover both Omicron and the original strain of COVID, and we encourage everyone to get those vaccinations to take the pressure off our hospitals, from our frontline heroes who work so hard to keep people safe.” , but also keep the pressure off our economy and communities.

“If we are able to get a high enough level of vaccination, it would reduce the danger of having to take other health measures to make sure we are all safe and not overloading our hospitals.”

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The odds of becoming infected with respiratory disease are increasing indoors, health experts have said during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as more Canadians head indoors for the winter, officials have been encouraging vaccination as the best way to stay protected.

The reports come at a time when vaccination rates for COVID-19 in Canada have stalled and protective measures such as mask mandates have all but disappeared from Canadian society. Last month, Ottawa dropped remaining COVID-19 measures at the border after easing them in the spring and summer — around the same time, many counties eased restrictions around COVID-19.

At that time, flu numbers in the country started to rise. After being locked out for nearly two years, many health experts believed the measures Canadians learned during COVID-19 helped keep the flu at bay. Canada normally reaches the start of the flu season from late October to early January, a Public Health Agency of Canada previously told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Health experts expect busier respiratory virus and flu season'

Health experts expect busier respiratory virus and flu season

For weeks, health officials have been pushing for vaccination to protect the health care system this winter. On October 7, Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s bivalent vaccine targeting Omicron and its subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. It was the second bivalent COVID-19 shot to be approved in the country after Moderna’s shot, which was green-lit for use in September.

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The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now “strongly” recommends giving COVID-19 bivalent vaccines this fall as boosters over the original shots, which vaccine makers have adapted to better tackle the ever-evolving virus. At the same time, certain pharmacies have opened their online portals to get Canadians in line for their flu shot when it becomes available in the respective region.

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NACI has previously said that COVID-19 injections and flu shots can be given to Canadians five years or older at the same time.

In an interview with The Canadian Press last Thursday, Ontario Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore up for vaccination this winter.

“We really need it this year of all years because it’s going to be a complicated year, as we’re trying to get back to normal life with all the respiratory viruses this fall and winter,” he said.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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