‘Prime time’ to get your flu shot to provide best possible protection for the holidays, Ottawa Public Health says

With the countdown on to the holiday season, health officials say now is the best time to get the flu shot and COVID-19 booster dose for the “best possible protection” before the holidays.

The Ottawa Public Health Respiratory Virus Snapshot shows respiratory virus levels remain high in Ottawa two weeks before Christmas, and COVID-19 levels are showing an “increase after weeks of decline.”

Public health says with COVID-19 and respiratory viruses circulating in the community, protective layers like masks and vaccinations are “still useful” to keep you and your loved ones healthy.

“With the holidays fast-approaching, let’s all remember…as much as many of us have been looking forward to gathering with friends & family, we must stay home when sick,” Ottawa Public Health said on Twitter.

“Show people you care about them by not exposing them to a virus.”

The OPH data shows the influenza and RSV levels are “very high” in Ottawa this month.

CHEO is seeing an “unprecedented level” of patients this fall with respiratory viruses, forcing the children’s hospital to open a second pediatric intensive care unit, cancel non-urgent surgeries and call in the Canadian Red Cross to provide clinical support.

Two weeks before Christmas Eve, Ottawa Public Health says it’s your last chance to get vaccinated against the flu to provide protection over the holidays.

“It takes 2 weeks for a flu vaccine to take effect. So in order to have the best possible protection this holiday season, this week is prime time to get your flu vaccine,” Ottawa Public Health said on Twitter this week.

Eastern Ontario’s medical officer of health says there is a threat of COVID-19, influenza and RSV in the community.

“The best thing that we can do is for us to continue to use the public health measures: wash your hands, disinfect surfaces, wash your hands frequently, don’t go out when you’re sick, wear masks in crowded indoor places,” Dr. Paul Roumeliotis said in his weekly COVID-19 update.

Dr. Roumeliotis is also “strongly recommending” everybody get the flu shot, especially children.

“The more the people are vaccinated for the flu, the quicker we’ll be able to get this downturn.”

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