Updated Moderna Vaccine Offers Hope Against COVID-19 Surge in Ottawa’s Fall Season


As autumn looms, carrying with it the annual surge of respiratory illnesses, parents may find a glimmer of hope in an updated COVID-19 vaccine.

Ottawa’s leading medical professional cautions that the confluence of COVID-19, RSV, and influenza is anticipated to pose significant challenges in the city during the upcoming fall and winter seasons. The concern stems from the intensifying levels of COVID-19.

This time last year, Johnny, son of Ottawa resident, Jason Lawson, endured nearly a week of treatment at CHEO for RSV, a condition that Lawson describes as daunting. There were moments, Lawson divulges, when his son’s stuttered breaths worried even the attending nurses and doctors. Despite their dedicated care, the severity of Johnny’s illness and his tender age of only a few months old made it a tough experience to process.

Now that Johnny is a year old, Lawson fears a recurrence of such an event, particularly with the increased risk of transmittable illnesses due to his other children attending daycare and school.

Dr. Vera Etches, the city’s medical officer of health, assures that Ottawa Public Health is vigilantly monitoring all circulating viruses, especially as students return to school.

Ashraf Al Taslaq, owner of Barrhaven Medical Pharmacy, has observed a rise in patients seeking over-the-counter medications to alleviate cold symptoms since the school year commenced. Most are parents seeking cold remedies for their children.

As part of a readiness strategy for the upcoming virus season, Ottawa Public Health is encouraging immunization. In line with this, Health Canada has approved the revised Moderna vaccine that targets the novel COVID-19 variant.

According to Health Canada’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Supriya Sharma, the recommendation is for individuals aged five and above to receive one dose of the vaccine, irrespective of their COVID-19 vaccination history. For children aged between six months and four years, two doses are recommended.

In addition to this, medical professionals are strongly recommending flu vaccinations for children. Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, the medical officer of health at Eastern Ontario Health Unit, warns that the flu has the potential to hospitalize and critically sicken young children.

The delivery of the updated Moderna vaccines to provinces is expected as early as the week of September 18, a Health Canada spokesperson indicated.


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