Public health ramping up for fall ‘FluVID’ campaign

COVID-19 has been pretty quiet over the summer, but 'it never went down to zero:' Mercer

GUELPH – Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) will soon begin its fall “FluVID” campaign, offering residents the opportunity to get both a flu shot and a COVID-19 shot at the same time.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Nicola Mercer told the board at its Sept. 6 meeting that while COVID-19 has been pretty quiet over the summer, “It never went down to zero and in the last five weeks, we’re seeing an increase in the number of cases, and an increase in hospitalizations.”

As of Sept. 6, there were three people in intensive care units with COVID in the health unit’s catchment area.

They presented with respiratory issues and tested positive for COVID-19, Mercer said.

DR. NICOLA MERCER (Advertiser file photo)

The health unit is expecting delivery of both vaccines early this fall and is planning on holding clinics from Oct. 16 to Nov. 24.

Clinics will be held at the three main WDGPH offices as well as at Stone Road Mall in Guelph, the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex in Fergus and Monora Park Pavilion just outside Orangeville.

These clinics will operate weekly, including one Saturday clinic in each area. In addition, WDGPH will operate pop-up clinics in remote areas to reach populations that are otherwise hard to reach.

The health unit has also been working with family doctors, pharmacies, and congregate care settings, like long-term care and retirement homes, so vaccines can be given in-house if registered nurses are on staff to administer them.

Mercer reiterated the message that while you can still get COVID-19 or influenza after receiving the vaccines, symptoms and mortality are reduced.

“What’s different now from 2020 is that nobody had any immunity (back then). Hundreds of thousands of people were dying. The vaccine saved countless lives,” she said.

Mercer said the FluVID vaccines will provide baseline protection when combined with good health habits, like staying home when sick, wearing a mask when sick, and frequent hand washing.

“Flu and COVID vaccines will be widely available in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph,” Mercer said.

“If you’re looking for the vaccine, you should not have to look too hard.”

More details on the clinics will be released when the vaccines arrive, she said.