Free Shingles Vaccine Good News for Local Seniors

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Local health leaders from Peterborough Public Health and Peterborough Family Health Team say Minister Hoskins’ recent announcement that the Ontario government is funding free shingles vaccine for those aged 65-70 is great news for our community.

“With such a high proportion of seniors in the Peterborough area, we expect to see a real benefit to our community now that the shingles vaccine is available free of charge to some older adults,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “This announcement was timely with flu season around the corner so older adults can discuss the flu shot and other free vaccines that may be available to them as well.”

Dr. Salvaterra noted that all adults are eligible for a single, one-time dose of Adacel which protects against pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus and diphtheria. “For grandparents who haven’t received Adacel yet, it may help protect their young grandchildren,” she added.

Peterborough Family Health Team Medical Director Dr. Kaetlan Wilson emphasized that local healthcare providers are at the ready to provide these important vaccinations. “Many of our healthcare providers have already ordered stock of the shingles vaccine so we’re ready to immunize patients who are eligible. During the same visit we can also advise them on getting the flu shot and Adacel, both of which offer excellent protection and are publicly funded.”

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, affects more than 42,000 people every year in Ontario and can cause complications such as loss of vision and debilitating nerve pain. Studies show that the vaccine is highly effective when seniors are vaccinated between the ages of 65 – 70 years, and this new program aligns with scientific and expert recommendations from Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization and Ontario’s Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Those who are eligible for the shingles vaccine should contact their primary care doctor or nurse practitioner to receive the vaccination. Those without a family physician can book an appointment in the Routine Immunization Clinic at Peterborough Public Health at 705-743-1000, ext. 129. KG

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