Sudbury’s health unit pausing routine vaccination services
Public Health Sudbury & Districts is pausing routine vaccination services for the time being to focus on COVID-19 immunizations. It’s now looking to local physicians for assistance in delivering a number of routine vaccinations.
Officials with Public Health Sudbury & Districts said due to the pandemic, they have had to reduce the number of immunization clinics that are normally offered on-site.
"We change as the pandemic changes and the needs of the pandemic. So, for example, this is a very timely reduction with the surge in cases and the immunization being open up to different populations," said Megan Touchette, manager of vaccine-preventable diseases and COVID-19 prevention with Public Health Sudbury & Districts.
The health unit is prioritizing certain immunization services during the period of service reduction, Touchette said.
"For infants and toddlers who require primary vaccinations series and eligible pregnant women who are 27 to 32 weeks gestation requiring Tdap vaccine, and this would include those who are without a primary care provider," she said.
Public health is now reaching out to primary care providers to help administer routine vaccinations to help fill the gap that will be created.
"Whether it’s through your health care provider, a health care unit, or pharmacy. While the pharmacy does provide influenza and COVID-19, they don’t provide other routine vaccinations that would be publicly funded,” Touchette said. "However, they can provide cost recovery vaccines such as a TWINRIX for hepatitis A, those types of things."
City of Lakes Family Health Team is just one of many stepping up to help give people their routine vaccinations, including grade seven and eight students who were unable to get their mandatory shots last year due to the schools being closed.
"Public health will help us out by giving us the vaccine. We have a collaboration with them so they will provide us the vaccine to immunize our patients that didn’t get their grade seven vaccines,” said Catherine Pichette, a registered nurse with City of Lakes Family Health Team. "Between our four clinics, we did a search in our system and we have roughly 640 students that we don’t have information in their charts at this time."
Officials with the health unit said they are unsure how long these routine services will be suspended and that it will depend on COVID-19 cases.