We offer a variety of vaccinations at the West End Pharmacy. You can learn more about each vaccine below, or contact us if you have any questions.
Why You Should Get Vaccinated
Vaccines help adults to stay healthy too. The protection offered by some vaccines only lasts for a certain amount of time, so it is important to receive booster doses in adulthood to keep yourself and those around you safe.
Vaccines for Adults
As an adult you should receive the following free vaccines:
- Tetanus, diphtheria (every 10 years)
- Flu shot (every fall)
- Pneumococcal (Pneumovax) (at age 65 or younger with risk factors)
- Shingles (covered for ages 65 to 70)
- COVID-19 primary series and boosters
If You’re Traveling
You may need vaccines when you travel outside Canada. Consult your healthcare provider, local public health unit, or travel clinic two to three months before you travel. This will allow enough time to:
- Make sure the vaccines you need are available
- Receive all necessary doses of vaccine before you travel
The vaccines you need are based on:
- Where you are going
- The type of travel and length of time
- What vaccines you’ve already received
A primary series is the initial number of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that a person needs to develop a strong initial immune response. Most people need two doses of an mRNA vaccine to complete their primary series.
Protection after a primary series may decrease over time, especially against new variants. Booster doses help keep you protected from severe outcomes from the virus. Once you have completed your primary series, you can receive a booster dose at a recommended interval of six months, or a minimum interval of three months, since your last dose.
The recommended intervals are based on evidence that suggests longer intervals between doses result in a stronger immune response and higher vaccine effectiveness that is expected to last longer. These intervals may also be associated with a lower risk of myocarditis and/or pericarditis and may also result in a better response after the next dose.
The bivalent COVID-19 vaccine is an updated version of the COVID-19 vaccine that targets the original COVID-19 virus and the Omicron variant, which is currently the dominant variant in circulation in Ontario.
Bivalent vaccines are formulated to better protect against the currently circulating COVID-19 variants. They can also help restore protection that has decreased since previous vaccination.
The bivalent vaccine is only offered as a booster dose. This means that you must have completed your primary series to receive it.
What causes shingles
Shingles is a painful skin rash that can occur anywhere on the body but usually shows up in a strip on either side of the torso. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus causes – the same virus that causes chickenpox.
A shingles infection can be very serious. It can lead to complications such as loss of vision and debilitating nerve pain.
Know your shingles risk
You can get shingles at any age if you’ve had chickenpox. Older adults and those who are immunocompromised get it most often. Two-thirds of shingles cases in Canada happen to people over 50 years old. The severity of shingles and its complications also increase with age.
Vaccine effectiveness and safety
The vaccine reduces your chance of getting the virus by more than 50%, depending on your age. Vaccine effectiveness is higher among seniors between 65 and 70 years old. If you get vaccinated, you may still develop shingles, but the infection would likely be less severe and you’d be better protected from complications.
When to get the flu shot
Flu shots are available between October to April each year. Historically October is reserved for high-risk individuals and seniors and the publicly funded program opens up to everyone at the beginning of November.
Why should I get a flu shot?
The flu shot is: proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu. It is different each year because the virus changes frequently – so you need to get it every fall.
What is the “Seniors Flu Shot”?
There are 2 different flu vaccines for people over 65.
One, The high dose flu shot contains four times as much viral antigen as a regular flu shot. The second contains an adjuvant to help build a stronger immune response.
There is not enough vaccine for every patient over 65, so your doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacist or public health unit may reserve these doses for patients at higher risk of complications. Consider receiving the first flu shot that is available to you.
What causes pneumonia?
A common cause of pneumonis is a bacteria called Streptococcus pneumoniae (or pneumococcus) invades the lungs, causing bacterial pneumonia. These bacteria can also attack different parts of the body such as the blood cells (bacteremia) and the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis). Pneumonia, bacteraemia or meningitis can cause death, particularly in people with high-risk medical conditions and the elderly. In most people, the bacteria will not cause serious illness. But in some people with high-risk medical conditions, the bacteria can cause disease when they get into the lungs or blood.
Why is pneumococcal vaccine important?
Pneumococcal vaccine can prevent pneumonia and other infections caused by 23 types of the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria. These 23 types account for approximately nine out of 10 cases of pneumococcal disease. The vaccine is recommended for people with certain medical conditions, and people 65 years of age and older. About eight out of 10 cases occur in these high- risk groups.
The vaccine protects about 50 to 80 percent of people against pneumococcal infection. Vaccination also makes the disease milder for those who may catch it.