New Brunswickers encouraged to get up to date on influenza and COVID-19 vaccines06 October 2022
FREDERICTON (GNB) – Public Health is urging New Brunswickers to book their COVID-19 booster and influenza vaccines.
“As the weather becomes cooler and people spend more time indoors, there are more chances to spread viruses,” said Dr. Yves Léger, acting deputy chief medical officer of health. “Vaccination remains the best way to prevent severe symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza.”
Expanded eligibility for COVID-19 bivalent booster
Beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 11, New Brunswickers aged 18 and over will be eligible to get a COVID-19 bivalent vaccine booster. Those aged 12-17 who are at higher risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 were already eligible for this vaccine.
“We strongly recommend New-Brunswickers stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, including getting a fall or winter booster, if five months have passed since their last COVID-19 vaccine or infection, regardless of how many COVID-19 vaccine doses they have had in the past,” said Léger. “This is especially important for those most at risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19.”
Personal risk factors for severe illness include:
· being 50 or older;
· being immunocompromised;
· having chronic conditions; and
· not being fully vaccinated and boosted, if eligible.
Those who have risk factors should consider additional preventive measures such as:
· avoiding or limiting time spent in crowded or poorly ventilated indoor places;
· minimizing close contact with anyone who has cold-like symptoms; and
· continuing to use a mask, distancing and frequent hand washing.
Booster doses are available at pharmacies. Public Health will also be offering clinics in some areas of the province to ensure access.
To see which booster is available and the recommended vaccine, residents may refer to the table located in the booster section of the government of New Brunswick’s webpage COVID-19 vaccines (gnb.ca).
For those with questions, immunization providers will also help to clarify which vaccine is recommended.
Also on Oct. 11, the province’s flu immunization campaign begins. Public Health recommends all New Brunswickers aged six months and older get their free flu shot, which is available at a variety of clinics offered at pharmacies or through other primary-care providers including physicians, nurse practitioners, and public health nurses.
“We are expecting to see increased influenza activity in the province this year, following two years of relatively low numbers,” said Léger. “We are pleased to be able to offer New Brunswickers a free flu vaccine again this year to protect themselves and have a healthier fall and winter.”
The flu shot can be safely administered at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine. There is no need to wait between booking vaccine appointments.
The Department of Health will be including the high-dose flu vaccine as part of its immunization program for all residents 65 and older, including those in long-term care facilities.
Out-of-province students can get their flu shots through student health services at their respective post-secondary institutions. New residents and non-residents without a medicare card can get flu shots free of charge from a pharmacist.
More information on flu shots is available online.