Morrison 'concerned' a rough cold and flu season lies ahead for P.E.I.

·2 min read
Morrison 'concerned' a rough cold and flu season lies ahead for P.E.I.

Brace yourself for a rough cold and flu season combined with COVID-19 in 2022-23, says P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison.

The Southern Hemisphere experiences cold and flu season before North America does, and Morrison said officials there are calling this year's "the worst influenza season that they've seen in five years."

It also arrived earlier than usual, she told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin Thursday.

"In the back of our mind, not only are we expecting more COVID cases, but we're keeping our eyes peeled to watch for any variants, and different variants coming and emerging here and around the country," she said.

"We're concerned about it."

Urged to get vaccinated

To prevent serious illness, Islanders will want to make sure their vaccines are up to date, including flu shots and COVID-19 boosters, Morrison said.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

Flu vaccines are expected to arrive in P.E.I. in the coming week and will be distributed to pharmacies, doctors, nurse practitioners and Public Health Nursing staff, she said. Meanwhile, 13,000 doses of the bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine are also available for those 18 and over. Everyone five years old and older is eligible for regular boosters.

Morrison said it's important to maintain practices like washing your hands often, staying home when you're sick, and wearing a mask in indoor public places.

P.E.I. is also now requiring people to wear face masks for five days after they come out of isolation for COVID-19.

Morrison said people can ask to get both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine or booster at the same time; there's no need for a waiting period in between shots.

Concerns about polio?

There have not been any cases of polio detected in Canada yet, Morrison said on another emerging public health issue, but she said officials are "focusing on being prepared and increasing surveillance regarding polio."

The World Health Organization, or WHO, has added the United States to the list of countries where polio has reemerged. New York declared a state disaster emergency last Friday after samples of the polio virus were discovered in wastewater in three counties outside of New York City.

This highlights the need for everyone to keep up-to-date on their routine vaccines, Morrison said. She said Public Health on P.E.I. did not stop its routine childhood immunization programs during COVID-19.

Neither have any cases of monkeypox been confirmed on the Island, Morrison said, although some people have been tested for it and more than 40 people considered at risk have been vaccinated.