courtesy of the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit (SMDHU) is beginning a phased reopening of routine publicly-funded child and adult immunization services that were paused in March 2020, due to the increased demands of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning the week of September 27, the health unit will offer public immunization clinics at each of its seven local health unit offices across the region, starting with appointments for those 0-6 years of age who are overdue for their routine immunizations. Appointments for adolescent boosters and adult vaccinations will become available in the following weeks. The public is encouraged to continue to check the health unit website for updates as appointments for these groups are added to the schedule.
The health unit is also working with school board partners to resume the Grade 7 school immunization program where students are offered Hepatitis B, Meningitis C-ACYW and Human Papillomavirus vaccines at school-based clinics. Those in Grade 7 and 8 will be offered their vaccines this school year at school-based clinics. Information will be sent home with students through the school. Additional catch-up clinics will be offered on PA days and over the winter break for those who miss their school clinic, online learners, and students who are in Grade 9 this school year who did not receive both doses of their HPV or Hepatitis B vaccine at school in 2019/2020, due to COVID-19 school closures.
“Staying up to date with one’s routine vaccination schedules is critical to stopping the spread of some serious preventable diseases and staying healthy,” said Mary Ann Holmes, Acting Vice President of SMDHU’s Immunization Program. “Over the past 18-months, our ability to offer routine immunization services were negatively impacted as the health unit mobilized its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to have reached a stage where we can begin to offer these services again to residents.”
COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be a public health priority and appointments will be offered to those eligible at each clinic; however, it is advised that individuals get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible at a local pharmacy or through their health care provider.
Core public health measures remain in place at all vaccination clinics including symptom screening, physical distancing and wearing a mask or face covering. Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 are asked to cancel their appointment, seek testing and rebook once they have obtained a negative COVID-19 test or their symptoms have resolved.
Public immunization clinics are appointment only and can be booked through the health unit’s online booking system at www.smdhu.org or by calling Health Connection at 705-721-7520, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.