This morning, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Toronto Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa rolled up their sleeves for Team Toronto, receiving the vaccine to protect against influenza (flu). The Mayor also received his COVID-19 bivalent booster, which gives better protection against the highly contagious Omicron variant and its subvariants. The vaccinations will help guard against serious illness at a time when hospital emergency departments are packed with people struggling with respiratory illness.
Six City of Toronto-run immunization clinics have spaces available across Toronto to provide access to these and other potentially life-saving vaccines. Flu shots are available by appointment or on a walk-in basis at all six clinics.
Influenza, also known as the flu, is a respiratory infection caused by influenza A and B viruses. Flu season is underway and there is an increase in flu and other respiratory virus activity. This increase is expected to continue as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have loosened, the weather gets colder, and people move indoors. People five years of age and older attending a City-run clinic or a participating Team Toronto pharmacy can be vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 in the same visit.
A health card is not required at City-run clinics. Flu vaccines are also available through Team Toronto partners, including doctors’ offices and more than 700 participating pharmacies.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, flu spreads very easily from person to person by droplets produced by coughing, sneezing or talking. A person may also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza infection.
The flu vaccine is free for people six months of age and older who live, work or attend school in Ontario. More information about flu prevention is available on this webpage.
At City-run immunization clinics, COVID-19 vaccines are also available for people six months of age and older. People are strongly encouraged to receive a booster. Those age 12 years and older are eligible for a bivalent booster, which will produce a strong immune response and is expected to provide improved protection against Omicron and its subvariants, which are currently circulating.
Having more people vaccinated, together with the use of personal protective practices such as hand and respiratory hygiene and staying home when sick, can reduce exposure and results in fewer infections and less severe illness in the community, which will help to reduce pressure on our healthcare system.
Additional information on where to get vaccinated is also available on the City’s COVID-19: Where to Get Vaccinated webpage.
The six City-run immunization clinics are:
“Today, I received my flu shot and my COVID-19 bivalent booster to help encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Team Toronto is continuing to offer flu shots and COVID-19 vaccinations, I encourage all Torontonians to visit the Toronto Public Health booking site and get your flu shot and other immunizations that are available at City-run, fixed-sites. As colder temperatures arrive and we spend more time indoors, please follow the advice of our public health professionals and get the necessary protections offered by vaccines. This is the right thing to do right now to help protect our progress.”
– Mayor John Tory
“The circulation of respiratory viruses continues to rise in Toronto. There are simple steps that Torontonians can take to greatly reduce their risk of severe illness. Vaccination is one of the best preventive measures available, so get a flu shot and a bivalent COVID-19 booster if you are eligible.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto Medical Officer of Health
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
Media contact: Toronto Public Health Media Relations, TPHmedia@toronto.ca