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Federal government still urging Canadians to get vaccinated

Federal health officials continue to urge Canadians to roll up their sleeves and get their shots.

The federal government held a new conference Wednesday to help Canadians understand the importance of up-to-date vaccinations. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said with winter moving in, it's especially important to be protected.

"Pediatric hospitals are overwhelmed. Our health care workers are very tired. Our families are also struggling. So now is the time to get vaccinated and to be protected individually, but also as a family, and in a work environment," said Duclos.

Dr. Vera Etches, medical officer of health for Ottawa Public Health, said with rising numbers of cases of COVID-19 and influenza, it is more important to get vaccinations to protect people, to keep people out of hospital, and to help our health system function. She added parents should ensure children have all of their required shots.

"For measles, for polio. So now is the time to reach out to your public health units, your family doctors, to just make sure that you're not missing those protections that come from vaccinations in childhood," said Etches.

She added the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines is high among all ages, except among the youngest children, who are under 5. She wanted parents to know the vaccine is available for that age group, and that it is safe and effective.

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