Tag: vaccines

new COVID-19 variants and fall vaccines

A late summer increase in COVID-19-related hospitalizations and the emergence of new coronavirus variants raises concerns about how best to counter infection and who should receive the newly-approved vaccines. Although data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that the recent surge of cases remains far beneath peak pandemic-era numbers, worries have circulated about what precautions might be necessary to protect public health.

Lisa M. Lee, a professor of public health at Virginia Tech, answered questions about factors for concern and the importance of vaccination. Lee is an epidemiologist and bioethicist who has worked in public health and ethics for 25 years, including 14 years with CDC.

Q: When will the new COVID vaccine be available and who should get it?

“The newest COVID vaccines were deemed safe and effective by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sept. 11, 2023. On Sept. 12, CDC recommended the vaccinesfor all persons over six months of age.  The new vaccines should be available in less than a week.  The data showed clear benefits of vaccination in reducing serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. This is especially important for persons at high risk for severe COVID — young children, older adults, people with chronic conditions including obesity, and people with compromised immune systems. CDC recommends that everyone over six months of age get this year’s new COVID vaccine, as it is effective against the newer variants we are seeing in circulation this year. If you’ve recently had COVID or recently gotten one of the older COVID vaccines, check with your health care provider about the best timing for getting the updated shot.”

Q: Does coronavirus remain a major threat to public health?

“COVID-19 remains a risk this fall and winter season, especially for people with less robust immune systems—people 65

COVID-19 Vaccines Advice

Why get vaccinated against COVID-19?

The emergency phase of COVID-19 is over, but the virus continues to spread and evolve. COVID-19 remains a threat, especially to older persons and adults with underlying health conditions.

Safe and effective vaccines help ensure that COVID-19 does not result in severe disease and death. Vaccination protects against COVID-19 and reduces the likelihood of new variants from emerging.  

Take all COVID-19 vaccine doses, including booster doses, as recommended to you by your health authority.   

COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Strict precautions are in place to help ensure the safety of all COVID-19 vaccines.

Before receiving validation from WHO and national regulatory agencies, COVID-19 vaccines must undergo rigorous testing in clinical trials to prove that they meet internationally agreed benchmarks for safety and efficacy.

Unprecedented scientific collaborations, extensive prior research and substantial public funding enabled swift COVID-19 vaccine development to be completed in record time – while maintaining high safety standards.

As with all vaccines, WHO and regulatory authorities continuously monitor the use of COVID-19 vaccines to identify and respond to any safety issues that might arise. Through this process, we establish that COVID-19 vaccines remain safe worldwide.

Read more on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines:

Who should get vaccinated and boosted?

On March 2023, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group on Immunization (SAGE) updated the recommendations on COVID-19 vaccination in the context of the circulating Omicron variant and high population immunity.

The updated recommendations outline three priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination: high, medium, and low. The recommendations are summarized below.

Further details are in this document: WHO SAGE Roadmap for prioritizing uses of COVID-19 vaccines (March 2023)

    High priority group


  • Older adults;
  • Younger adults with significant comorbidities (e.g., diabetes and heart disease) or severe obesity;
  • People, including children aged 6 months and older, with serious immunocompromising conditions

Phone ‘going off the hook’ as Islanders book vaccines at new travel clinic

After a long-running P.E.I. travel health clinic closed over the summer, the people behind a new one now operating in Charlottetown are hoping to fill the gap it left behind. 

Before he left his practice in July, Dr. Ray Cooke had run a travel vaccination service at the Polyclinic in Charlottetown for several years. It and the Murphy’s Pharmacy travel health clinic in Parkdale were the only two locations in the province designated as yellow fever vaccination centres. 

Amy Bulnes, a registered nurse who is running the new clinic within the Travel Store on North River Road, said that closure left a gap when it came to travel advice and information about vaccinations. 

“This is something that we definitely thought was needed for Islanders, especially since everybody’s itching to get out and travel now,” she said. 

A woman standing in the middle of an office, smiling at the camera.
Amy Bulnes, a registered nurse working at The Travel Clinic, says she hopes the clinic can help ease the strain on family physicians and provide patients with travel health advice. (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

Cooke has passed along his files and other information, said Bulnes, as well as the previous clinic’s phone number.

The clinic first started taking appointments in early December. Bulnes said she is now booking more than four or five appointments a day. 

Hopefully, we’re taking a little bit off of their plates, since they’re obviously very busy.— Amy Bulnes

“It’s been crazy. The phone’s been going off the hook,” she said.

Many of the people seeking appointments don’t have family doctors, or weren’t able to get appointments with them in time to travel, Bulnes said. That’s an issue she expects to continue, especially as family physicians remain in high demand. 

“Hopefully, we’re taking a little bit off of their plates, since they’re obviously very busy,” Bulnes said.

Island Morning4:27Travel

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