December 9, 2023

Cases of respiratory virus are on the rise across Canada this year

Nunavut’s annual vaccine program for RSV will begin for children at high-risk on Nov. 15, the Health Department announced Monday. Nunavummiut are encouraged to stay up to date on vaccinations for RSV, COVID-19, influenza and tuberculosis as cases of respiratory illnesses are expected to rise during the winter months. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

The Government of Nunavut is rolling out a vaccine to protect against RSV, a respiratory illness that is spreading at high rates this year and can be especially hard on young children.

Children who are at higher risk of severe illness caused by the respiratory syncytial virus, commonly known as RSV, will be eligible to receive vaccinations beginning Nov. 15, said Department of Health spokesperson Danarae Sommerville in a media release.

Cases of RSV have increased across Canada and are above levels usually expected for this time of year, according a recent report from the Government of Canada released Oct. 29.

The Health Department is advising Nunavummiut there is an increased risk of spreading respiratory illnesses during winter as people spend more time indoors. This includes infections such as RSV, COVID-19, influenza and tuberculosis.

All Nunavummiut ages six months and older are eligible for both influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Appointments for flu and COVID-19 shots can be made at community health centres or public health units.

“Staying up to date on vaccinations helps reduce the risk of severe illness, hospitalization and death from disease,” Sommerville said.

The health department advises Nunavummiut who have had a cough that has lasted three weeks to make an appointment at their health centre to get tested for tuberculosis, as treatment is necessary to cure the illness.

“This year, protection is even more important as we continue to deal with the risks of COVID-19,” Health Minister John Main said in the legislature on Nov. 4.

“By getting both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines, we reduce the risk of widespread infections in our communities and ensure our health system is not overwhelmed. These steps not only protect our health but can help us avoid restrictive public health measures like the ones last Christmas.”

Main encouraged all MLAs and ministers to lead by example and stay up to date on their vaccines.



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