Free flu shots available to all Ontarians in November

flu shot stock photo
©CAN STOCK PHOTO/ELNUR

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Ontario government is launching one of the largest flu shot campaigns in the province’s history starting in November.

“Our government is prepared for flu season and is launching an even larger flu shot program this year to keep Ontarians healthy as we continue to respond to COVID-19,” said Christine Elliott, health minister.

“It is safe to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and the flu shot at the same time, so if you’re receiving your flu shot and still have yet to receive a first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time.”

Ontario is purchasing over 7.6 million flu vaccine doses, which is 1.4 million more doses than last year. This includes a total of 1.8 million doses specifically for seniors.

Starting next month, the flu shot will be available for all Ontarians through doctor and nurse practitioner offices, participating pharmacies, and public health units. To further improve access and convenience to the flu shot and based on demand in recent years, pharmacies will receive approximately 40 per cent of the allocated doses, up from 36 per cent last year.

“As the health system continues to cope with the serious challenges of COVID-19, The Ontario Hospital Association encourages all Ontarians to receive their annual flu vaccine. It is one important way we can each do our part to protect ourselves and reduce the pressure on hospitals,” said Anthony Dale, president and CEO, Ontario Hospital Association.

Last year, flu cases per the national and Ontario surveillance systems were historically low, with less than 25 cases of laboratory confirmed cases of influenza reported. This is in comparison to 12,829 laboratory confirmed cases in 2019/20 and 10,743 in 2018/19.

The flu vaccine is offered free of charge to anyone over the age of six months who either lives, works, or goes to school in Ontario. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now recommends that COVID-19 vaccines may be given at the same time as the flu vaccine.

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