The immunization campaign for this year’s respiratory illness season has been initiated in British Columbia, with pharmacies across the province now offering influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations.
The plan for immunization was declared towards the end of the previous month when Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry implemented mask requirements once again in health-care facilities within the province due to an increase in respiratory illnesses.
Dr. Monika Naus, the medical director of immunization programs and vaccine preventable diseases service at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), stated that individuals who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 can skip the autumn COVID booster shot, but it is still advisable for them to receive the flu vaccination.
Naus stated that being infected with COVID does not provide any defense against influenza. These vaccines have a narrow focus.
Generally, if you have previously contracted COVID-19, your natural infection will enhance your immune response. Thus, if you have recently had a COVID-19 infection, there is no necessity to receive a dose of the COVID vaccine this autumn.
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Pharmasave, a drugstore chain, expects a rise in the need for pharmacy-administered vaccines this year. Patients have been seeking the assistance of pharmacists for common illnesses more frequently since it was authorized by the province in June.
According to the BCCDC, there has been a 58 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations during the two-week period beginning on September 21. In the last week of September, there were 24 reported deaths.
During the second week of August, there were nine reported deaths related to COVID-19 in British Columbia.
The BCCDC reports an increase in new infections, with the number of cases rising from 133 in the second week of August to 877 in the last week of September. Notably, there has been a significant rise in patients aged 60 and above.
The webpage for COVID-19 immunization by the government of British Columbia states that individuals who have previously been vaccinated will receive invitations via email and text to schedule appointments for both the COVID and flu vaccines.
The website states that priority groups, such as individuals aged 65 and above, long-term care facility residents, Indigenous individuals, pregnant individuals, healthcare workers, and individuals with chronic health conditions, will receive invitations first.