By Dr. Nell Thomas

Dr. Brent MacMillan, on March 11, issued this plea to anyone uncertain about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:

“Get the vaccine if you do not want to be hospitalized or die. The vaccine is almost 100 per cent preventative.

Get the vaccine if you want to avoid spreading the virus to your elderly relatives, children, friends and colleagues.

Get the vaccine if you want to avoid passing the virus to susceptible patients and community members.

Get the vaccine if you want this pandemic to end. If enough people refuse vaccination, the virus will continue to circulate and potentially mutate, creating variants that may be resistant to the available vaccines. This could result in a brand-new pandemic wave with death and social chaos all over again. This vaccine strategy is not only about you; it is about your family, community, as well your country and other countries around the world.

Get the vaccine to show respect to the millions who are damaged or deceased because they couldn’t get the vaccine.

Get the vaccine to allow return to normal living – visit family, hug your grandmother, go to restaurants, safely return kids to school, travel locally and abroad.

Get the vaccine to allow the economy to get back on its feet, so that businesses can reopen and financial handouts from taxpayers can stop.

Get the vaccine after a careful and balanced review of available information and science. Ask your questions to settle your concerns. For those who fear potential side effects, keep in mind that our immune systems are challenged each and every day by antigens in the food we eat, the medications we take, the bad habits we partake in and the air that we breathe.

The COVID vaccine is another challenge and boost to our immune system. The vaccine technology is well studied and the evidence is freely available to all. I get that there is a fear of needles. If I offered a pill providing the identical COVID-19 vaccine ingredients, how many vaccine resistors would happily and wholeheartedly accept this alternative? I get that there is a fear of government and “big pharma.” Ask your trusted family doctor or pharmacist for their medical opinions. Ask me.

I care about the health and prosperity of my family, friends, community and country. What is it that you care about?”

What you need to know

HOW: For anyone 80+ or turning 80 in 2021. To book your vaccine, use the following COVID vaccination provincial telephone number or online portal (link): 1-888-999-6488 (Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.). covid19.ontariohealth.ca

If you have a non-photo red and white health card, you must use the phone to book your appointment

You will receive a booking confirmation code that you must bring with you the day of your appointment.

WHEN: In Ontario, this phone number and online link are available Monday, March 15. In Haliburton, the booking schedule opens March 18, and we plan to start immunizing our 80 plus population Monday, March 22. This depends on vaccine inventory.

WHERE: Haliburton Family Medical Centre at 7217 Gelert Rd., 2nd Floor. Clinics will run Monday through Friday from 1-6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please do not show up without an appointment.

Please wear a short-sleeved shirt.

More details at hhfht.com

TIPS: Get a good night sleep, eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoid alcohol to keep your immune system strong so you get the most benefit from your vaccination. Immunity develops over time. You won’t develop significant protection against COVID-19 for at least two weeks.

IN THE WORKS: Paramedics may provide in-home immunizations for housebound. Transportation may be arranged with volunteer vaccinated drivers.

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