Manitoba urging everyone to get vaccinated ahead of holidays

With holiday season travel and gatherings fast approaching, Manitoba Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara is urging all Manitobans to ensure they are up to date with both their flu and COVID vaccinations, to protect the health care system.

“Flu is on the rise and seems to be hitting the system earlier this year than in prior years, respiratory viruses are putting an additional strain on an already healthcare system,” said Asagwara.

“We know that being vaccinated helps prevent people from ending up in the ICU, so if you haven’t yet had your flu or COVID vaccine, it is not too late, now is a great time to go out and get vaccinated.“

To date, 318,000 Manitobans have been vaccinated for the flu, with an additional 214,000 receiving their updated COVID-booster.

But with transmission rates expected to rise throughout the holiday season, the province’s top doctor is asking people to be extra mindful and to stay home if sick.

“The message you have been hearing the past couple of seasons remains true, if you’re sick stay home, that includes these important gatherings.  If you are sick the last thing you want to do is put others at risk, so we are asking Manitobans to stay home if you’re ill,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Public Health Officer of Manitoba.

It’s a similar story over at the Shoppers Drug Mart in Osborne village, where Pharmacist Adrian Gulowaty says they have vaccinated thousands of Winnipeggers this year, but admits he would still like to see a higher rate of vaccination amongst the younger population.

“We would like to see some of the numbers come up a little bit more, especially in some of the demographic age groups. I’d love to see more kids in here, especially on the weekend.  We are only Saturday and Sunday, we are more than happy to ensure everyone of all age groups are vaccinated this year,” said Adrian Gulowaty, a Pharmacist at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Gulowaty also recommends anyone who has not received an updated COVID-booster, should do so before the holidays to better protect themselves and their loved one’s from more serious health outcomes.

“The updated formula which targets XBB15 is far better than the old bivalent and previous vaccines which provide very little benefit for people against the new variant.  So getting the updated XBB15 is the right thing to do going into the respiratory virus season.”

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