KFL&A Public Health announces flu vaccines, new COVID-19 vaccines now available for eligible residents

Photo by Steven Cornfield.

Both the annual influenza vaccine and the new, updated COVID-19 vaccine are now available for eligible residents in the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (KFL&A) region, the local Health Unit announced today.

“As the winter season approaches, KFL&A Public Health emphasizes the significant importance of getting a flu and new COVID-19 vaccine, to protect yourself and loved ones. High-risk individuals are eligible now,” Public Health said in a press release on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023.

Information on who are considered to be high-risk individuals is available on the KFL&A Public Health website.

KFL&A Public Health said that the flu vaccine will “maximize protection” against the influenza virus, which is “known to cause severe illness and result in hospitalization or even death among previously healthy children, older adults, or pregnant individuals.” The Health Unit also said it is “important to stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines,” and that the new XXB-targeting vaccine will “help to prevent severe outcomes due to COVID-19.”

According to KFL&A Public Health, it takes approximately two weeks post-vaccination to establish immunity against influenza and COVID-19, so the time to get vaccinated against both viruses is now, before the respiratory illness season is in full effect. Further, the Health Unit said, it is “safe and strongly recommended” that residents receive both vaccines at the same time, which is also a more convenient option for many.

KFL&A Public Health announced the first case of Influenza A for the 2023-2024 season had been confirmed on September 7, 2023.

“The region continues to be at high-risk for COVID-19. Influenza is also expected to begin circulating over the coming months. Getting vaccinated is the best way to keep yourself safe from these viruses,” Brian Larkin, Manager of Vaccine Preventable Disease at KFL&A Public Health, said in a statement.

“We encourage everyone to make sure they’re up to date with their flu and COVID-19 shots. It’s important to use all the tools in our toolbox, like staying home if we’re not feeling well, washing our hands often, making sure our vaccinations are up to date, covering our mouth and nose with our elbow when we cough or sneeze, and wearing masks when recovering from illness or when it is right for you and people you interact with. These actions help keep our community safe and healthy.”

For those under two years of age or 65 years of age or older, KFL&A Public Health is offering appointments, which can be booked online at kflaph.ca/Vaccine, or by phone at 613-549-1232.

“We recommend that all KFL&A area residents, not just the young and the elderly, get immunized when eligible,” the local Health Unit stated.

“COVID-19 and flu shots for the general public aged six months and older will be available starting October 30 at participating primary care offices and pharmacies.”

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