Public Health Sudbury & Districts ensuring students have access to immunizations in the era of COVID-19Issued: Wednesday, July 22, 2020
On Thursday, July 9, Public Health Sudbury & Districts held its first mass immunization clinic since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling a return to a “new normal” for local public health programs and services.
Public Health recently reviewed immunization records to identify all students overdue for their booster dose of the Adacel® vaccine that protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. These individuals were contacted and encouraged to attend the mass immunization clinic held on July 9. Public health nurses immunized a total of 207 students at the clinic which served as a “catch-up” for students who were unable to be routinely immunized due to the pandemic.
“Over the last few months, the school-based immunization program and our immunization enforcement activities were temporarily halted as we focused our energies on pandemic response activities,” said Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for Public Health Sudbury & Districts. “We are seizing the opportunity following the first local wave of COVID-19 to ramp up essential public health services such as immunizations. We want to avoid cases and outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases,” said Dr. Sutcliffe.
Public Health Sudbury & Districts will use a Sudbury school gymnasium over the summer for students to get caught up with vaccines they may have missed during the initial months of the pandemic. Immunizations are by appointment only. To book an appointment, contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts at 705.522.9200 or toll-free 1.866.522.9200.
“We have to operate in a COVID-safe manner and so we adjusted our mass clinic processes to ensure distance, masking, and screening,” said Annie Berthiaume, Manager in the Health Protection Division. “Holding this mass immunization clinic gave us an opportunity to “test out” COVID-safe processes. This is important for the current catch-up work we have to do for routine immunizations, but also prepares us for the future when we anticipate a vaccine against COVID-19,” said Berthiaume.
COVID-19 has provided many challenges, and Public Health continues to adapt its practices to ensure other essential public health programs and services are available and delivered in a COVID-safe manner.