In case you had forgotten, flu season is here. Let’s just say that if you’re only planning on getting one shot this fall, and you aren’t already fully vaccinated against COVID-19, make it a Pfizer or Moderna shot. However, if you are worried about catching the good, old fashioned flu, then you should probably get a flu shot, which is a chore that’s going to get easier in the next couple of weeks.
“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 Minister of Health Christine Elliott in a statement. “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.”
According to the Government of Ontario, last year saw the biggest uptake in flu vaccine in the province’s history. This year, Ontario is spending $89 million on flu shots, including 1.8 million extra doses over last year, which is a good move considering their was a shortage of doses last fall.
Flu shots will be made available to all Ontarians starting November 1. Much like the COVID vaccines, public health officials were focusing on getting flu shots to long-term care home residents and hospital patients since September. As of November 1, doctors’ offices and public health units will be giving out shots to anyone that wants one, and the Province is also increasing the number of shots available at participating pharmacies from 36 per cent last year to 40 per cent this year.
“As we head into the fall and begin gathering indoors more often with family and friends, it is even more important to get your flu shot, in addition to following public health measures, to protect yourself and those around you,” said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore in a statement.
The news about the flu shot comes a few days after Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health announced that our region has it’s first case of the flu in a over year. It’s worth noting that there were so few flu cases in Canada last year that technically the flu season never began. That doesn’t mean though that Ontarians should get complacent.
“The pandemic caused a significant decline in reported flu cases, but the flu never left us,” said Dr. Nicola Mercer in a statement. “As we continue to fight the pandemic locally, we don’t want to overwhelm the health system with patients ill with the flu so it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot to reduce your risk of serious illness and protect the vulnerable people in your life.”
To find where you can get a flu shot near you, click here.