Dr. Eileen de Villa, the City of Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, is urging residents to get their influenza (flu) vaccine now to maximize their protection against the flu virus and avoid having the flu as an “uninvited guest” at holiday celebrations. If the current pattern of confirmed influenza infections in Toronto continues, the risk of flu infection is forecasted to peak over the holiday season.
The flu can be highly contagious for those who are not vaccinated. It can cause serious symptoms, particularly for those with pre-existing conditions, older adults and very young children.
The most recent update on the City’s Integrated Respiratory Diseases Dashboard on November 25, 2022 showed that the influenza positivity rate in Toronto had increased from 8.1 to 10.5 per cent since the last report. A positivity rate above five per cent indicates that influenza is circulating in the community and that the influenza season is well underway. Historically, influenza activity in a region usually peaks within about five weeks of this positivity rate. This means Toronto will likely enter a peak influenza infection period as people gather for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year celebrations.
Toronto Public Health (TPH) updates its Integrated Respiratory Diseases Dashboard for COVID-19 and influenza weekly, and other respiratory pathogens causing institutional outbreaks in Toronto. The dashboard provides an overview of the current case and institutional outbreak activity from September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023.
Torontonians can visit any of the six City -run immunization clinics that have available appointments to get their flu vaccination and other potentially life-saving vaccinations. Appointments can be booked through the TPH Flu Vaccination Clinics webpage.
To help seniors (people age 50 and older) get vaccinated, TPH has teamed up with Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall pharmacies to provide walk-in flu and COVID-19 vaccination clinics at select pharmacy locations across Toronto, as part of the pharmacies’ seniors’ health days. A list of those clinics is available on the program webpage.
To have questions answered about this year’s flu season and respiratory viruses in general, the public is invited to join Dr. Vinita Dubey, the City’s Associate Medical Officer of Health, today at 7 p.m., for a live telephone Town Hall. People can join the Town Hall by calling 1-833-490-0778 or connecting online: Toronto.ca/VaccineTownHall.
“As the holiday season begins, I encourage residents to get their flu vaccine. Please follow the advice of our public health professionals and get vaccinated now – it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make sure you are protected against the flu this season. We want people to have a happy and healthy holiday season.”
– Mayor John Tory
“I am urging Torontonians – in the strongest possible terms – to receive their flu vaccine soon as possible. Vaccination is the strongest defence against getting the flu virus and appointments are available throughout the city of Toronto, including at any one of the six immunization clinics operated by Toronto Public Health.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health
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