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New online booking system at health unit ‘quick’ and ‘convenient’

New online booking system at health unit ‘quick’ and ‘convenient’

Public can book online for immunization, sexual health services

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Appointment bookings for immunization and sexual health services at the Porcupine Health Unit (PHU) in Timmins are now available online, the PHU announced Tuesday, June 9.

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Clients can book appointments at their convenience, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using the new online booking system on the PHU website.

“This is an expansion of our current system, Chantal Riopel, chief nursing officer, said in a phone interview with the Daily Press.

“We have been using some kind of online system for almost a decade previous to the pandemic for our flu vaccine, and during the pandemic we continued to use online booking for our COVID clinics.”

The initiative is in line with the PHU’s commitment to accessibility.

“We are trying to make it easier for community members to access our services. With the online booking system, they are able to book their appointment at any time during the day when it’s convenient for them,” Riopel said.

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Clients can book, change, or cancel their appointments whenever they need to, she added.

“We are just expanding this to some of our sexual health services— our cervical screening, nurse-led sexual health clinics as well as our regular immunization clinics,” she said.

The COVID-19 clinics have wrapped up for the spring, but the vaccines can still be booked by contacting the PHU at at 705-267-1181, if they meet the criteria.

The PHU offers routine and school immunizations, and educational information about vaccines on their website.

“Immunization is one of the most important advances in public health and is estimated to have saved more lives in Canada over the past 50 years than any other health intervention,” the PHU website says.

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“Immunization programs help to prevent, control, eliminate and eradicate vaccine preventable diseases. 

“Immunization directly protects individuals who receive vaccines. Through “herd immunity”, immunization against many diseases also prevents the spread of infection in the community and indirectly protects infants who are too young to be vaccinated, people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons and people who may not adequately respond to immunization.

“People need to be immunized even though some vaccine preventable diseases no longer exist in Canada. Immunization programs have reduced the number of cases and/or deaths resulting from many serious diseases.

“Bacteria and viruses that cause vaccine-preventable diseases are still present in Canada or in other parts of the world. Even if a disease is uncommon in Canada, travellers can bring illnesses back to Canada and infect people who are not vaccinated.

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“Unless a disease has completely disappeared worldwide, there is a risk that a small outbreak can turn into a large epidemic if most of the community is not protected.

“Vaccines used in Canada are highly effective and extremely safe.

“Prior to authorization for use in Canada, vaccines are extensively tested. Manufacturers must submit scientific and clinical evidence that demonstrates the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

“Health Canada supervises all aspects of vaccine production by manufacturers to ensure safety, effectiveness and quality. Vaccine safety continues to be rigorously monitored and evaluated after the vaccine is on the market.

“All vaccines can have mild side effects, which are minor and temporary, such as a sore arm or a slight fever. Most side effects resolve within 72 hours of vaccination, unless vaccinated with live-attenuated vaccines. Serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions, are very rare. In Canada, the rate of serious side effects from childhood vaccines is about one per million doses of vaccine.”

Other Sexual health services that can be booked online include obtaining birth control pills at a low cost (pills, patch, Depo), obtaining the ‘morning-after pill,’ getting a pregnancy test of help with a referral, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and obtaining a pap test.

Visit to see who is eligible for services under the new online booking system. Appointments can still be made by calling the Porcupine Health Unit at 705-267-1181.

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