Toronto Public Health (TPH) is kicking off the City of Toronto’s annual flu vaccination campaign this week by bringing vaccine to those who are at increased risk of serious illness. Starting this week, TPH is collaborating with Inner City Health Associates (ICHA) to start offering the flu vaccination to homeless and under-housed individuals in shelters and drop-in settings to protect some of our city’s most vulnerable residents.
TPH is also preparing for annual public flu vaccination clinics and encouraging all Torontonians to get their free flu vaccine when it becomes available to them in early November. Flu vaccines will be administered by appointment only at each of the City’s five mass immunization clinics. On October 27, Toronto residents will be able to start booking their appointment . Also in November, residents will also be able to receive their flu vaccine at their local pharmacy or through their family doctor. This will help them stay healthy this flu season and preserve our healthcare system.
The flu is spread from person to person by small droplets produced by a cough or sneeze, or through contact with contaminated hands, surfaces or objects. To prevent co-infection of COVID-19 and influenza, residents are encouraged to get both the flu vaccine and two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
Individuals who have not received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines are able to receive both vaccines at the same time. On September 28, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) provided guidance that indicates that COVID-19 vaccines can be administered at the same time as other vaccines, including the flu vaccine. More information can be found here .
Influenza, also known as the flu, can spread to others before symptoms even appear. Typical flu symptoms include sudden onset of high fever, chills, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Other common symptoms include headache, loss of appetite and feeling tired. Recovering from the flu usually takes a week to 10 days but for some people it can worsen pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma or heart disease, or develop into more serious health problems such as pneumonia. In rare circumstances, it can be fatal.
People who are most vulnerable to the effects of the flu include homeless and under-housed individuals, seniors, individuals with chronic health conditions, residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities, children six months to five years of age, pregnant women and Indigenous people. Learn more about the flu .
“We are working to make sure Toronto residents have access to the flu vaccine again this year. I encourage people to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible to help protect themselves against influenza. While we launched last year’s flu vaccine campaign in the midst of the pandemic, this year we’re also in the middle of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Thank you to Toronto Public Health and all members of Team Toronto working to get residents vaccinated against COVID-19 and working to help residents get their flu vaccine as well.”
– Mayor John Tory
“My team has started important work to protect residents against the flu and to help preserve our health system for those who need it most. Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities against the flu. Typically the flu starts to circulate in late fall, so this is why we’ve started work to protect our city’s most vulnerable residents now and why we’re taking this opportunity to remind residents to get their flu shot early to protect our community.”
– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health
“With COVID-19 still circulating in Toronto, it’s critical that we do everything we can to stay healthy and reduce our risk of illness. While Toronto Public Health and our partners working to ensure vulnerable residents have access to flu shots, I encourage all Torontonians to get their shot through their local pharmacy, family doctor, or immunization clinic this November. Getting your flu shot as soon as it becomes available is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and our city.”
– Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Toronto Board of Health
“ICHA’s population health team wholeheartedly embraces its collaborative work with TPH to bring flu and COVID vaccines to people experiencing homelessness. As a member of ICHA’s team, I welcome this opportunity to provide shelter residents with services that support and respond to their needs.”
– Najma Ibrahim, Population Health Nurse (Inner City Health Associates)
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.