The influenza vaccine is highly recommended this year by health care professionals. Last year we had no recorded cases of influenza in New Brunswick. This was likely due to pandemic measures - like decreased travel, as well as minimizing close contacts, diligent hand hygiene, and mask wearing. Pandemic measures being opened up, and ever-changing in our province, brings an increased risk for a rampant flu season. We cannot be sure what this Fall and Winter season will bring, but receiving the influenza vaccine is a good first step, as it brings immunity within the first 14 days of receiving it (Government of New Brunswick Influenza Immunization, 2021).
Again this year, the influenza vaccine is free for all New Brunswick residents, and can be accessed by most healthcare providers. Public Health Offices, family physicians, and pharmacies are some of the easiest access points for your influenza vaccine, which are currently available. Pharmacists are able to give vaccines to those 2 years of age and up. For those over 65 years of age, Public Health has recommended the high-dose vaccine (they are calling it the Cadillac) for added immunity in this population.
For those who are eligible for their COVID-19 booster (currently available - eligibility criteria is on the GNB website, or ask your health care provider or myself), the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) advised that it is safe for people to get both the COVID-19 vaccine and the influenza vaccine at the same time. This has been a hot topic question for those seeking both the COVID-19 booster and the influenza vaccines. If you have any questions surrounding COVID-19 or influenza vaccines and boosters, or need help accessing your vaccines, please reach out! I would love to assist you.
Point of Contact Testing kits for COVID-19 (rapid test kits to use at home) are available to the public at Exhibition Grounds, 361 Smythe St., Fredericton (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday). Simply drive through the queue and staff will pass out a kit for each passenger over that age of 2 in the vehicle.
If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, Public Health recommends getting a PCR test at a testing centre.
- by Sarah Ecker, Cathedral Parish Nurse