Students encouraged to get vaccinated right away to be fully immunized by early September. It is expected that full immunization will enable students to continue in-person learning when they may have previously been required to isolate.
Hastings and Prince Edward Counties/July 30, 2021 – While vaccine rates continue to increase in the region, 35% of eligible residents are not yet fully vaccinated, and 19% of eligible residents have yet to receive even one dose. While case rates are low in our region at the current time, hospitalizations and deaths continue to be reported – reinforcing that the risk of COVID-19 continues to be very real. Vaccination is the best and safest way to protect yourself, and those you love from the threat of serious illness and death related to the virus.
If you have not yet received your COVID-19 vaccinations, don’t delay. Ensuring as many community members as possible are vaccinated is essential to help prevent another wave of the virus and prevent exposing the most vulnerable. Eligible youth are encouraged to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible to achieve full protection in September. If you get your first dose today, you can still be fully vaccinated for the first week of school.
“While provincial guidance to support a safe return to school has yet to be released, it is expected that the protection achieved through full vaccination will enable both students and teachers to continue to participate in in-person learning in situations where they may have previously been required to isolate,” says Dr. Piotr Oglaza, Medical Officer of Health and CEO at HPEPH. “By avoiding or delaying vaccination, you are putting yourself – and those around you – at unnecessary risk. All eligible individuals are encouraged to take this important step to help end the pandemic and to ensure the coming months can be as safe and normal, as possible.”
While a lot of misinformation is circulating about COVID-19 vaccines, residents can be reassured that the COVID-19 vaccines have been thoroughly tested and are safe. Before being authorized for use, vaccines are tested through rigorous clinical trials where thousands of people receive the vaccine. The effectiveness of the vaccine, as well as any side effects, are reported. Once authorized for use, vaccines continue to be monitored as they are administered across the country, and serious side effects are reported and reviewed to ensure the benefit of protection through vaccination outweighs the potential risks of side effects. While some minor side effects can be expected, the majority of common side effects are very mild (such as fatigue, headache, sore arm) and resolve quickly. It is incredibly important to remember that while minor side effects may last a day or two, the protection offered through the vaccine is long term, and will protect you from serious illness and death related to COVID-19. Serious side effects related to the COVID-19 vaccines are very rare. Residents are encouraged to ensure they are accessing evidence-based information when reviewing resources about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.
Not only are vaccines safe, but they work! Evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are up to 95% effective in protecting against serious illness related to the virus. This means your immune system learns how to respond to the virus without actually being exposed to it, which results in strong protection. If you’re ever exposed to the COVID-19 virus, being vaccinated enables your immune system to fight the virus faster and more efficiently so that you’re less likely to get seriously ill. All vaccines authorized by Health Canada provide strong protection against COVID-19 and its variants, including the Delta variant.
Getting vaccinated is important – not only for you, but for the entire community. It is critical to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, not only to protect yourself, but to keep your family and friends safe. Until most people have two doses of vaccine, we must maintain public health precautions to protect the vulnerable. The sooner that all of us get fully vaccinated, the sooner we can get back to the people, places, and things that we love and miss. By getting vaccinated, you are doing your part to help end the pandemic and #makeHPEstrong.
To get your vaccination today, visit Loyalist College and the Quinte Sports and Wellness Centre, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. where walk in appointments will be accepted. For other dates, locations, and vaccination options, visit hpePublicHealth.ca/vaccine-booking/. For more information about COVID-19 vaccine, visit hpePublicHealth.ca/covid-19-vaccines/. If you still have questions about the vaccine after reviewing this information, please talk to your primary care provider.
Maureen Hyland, Communications Specialist
Emily Tubbs, Communications Specialist
About Hastings Prince Edward Public Health
Hastings Prince Edward Public Health (HPEPH) is a public health agency that serves the counties of Hastings and Prince Edward from four local offices. We monitor the health of our local population, deliver programs and services within our communities, and help develop healthy public policies. We provide information and support in many areas to help improve the health and well-being of our residents. Together with our communities, we help people become as healthy as they can be. For more information, please visit hpePublicHealth.ca. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
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