Residents are asked to get their flu shots as soon as possible this year, as the vaccine can take up to two weeks to take effect and provide you with protection from influenza.

The chief medical officer of health for the Northwestern Health Unit, Dr. Kit Young-Hoon, explains how important it is to get vaccinated this year.

“Getting your flu shot will also help reduce the impact on our healthcare sector, as they are also dealing with the potential burden of illness coming from COVID-19,” she said Tuesday, during her weekly media briefing.

“It’s even more important this year to get vaccinated for influenza to reduce the number of people who are ill, need to be hospitalized or see their healthcare provider,” she added.

A flu shot is recommended for anyone over the age of 6 months. It also helps protect those at risk, which include pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, or those looking after those with high-risk conditions.

“Influenza causes a respiratory illness, and for some people it can be very serious. You can be hospitalized and it can cause death. The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself. It protects you, it protects your loved ones, and it prevents the spread of influenza,” Young-Hoon emphasized.

You can book an appointment to get your free flu shot at pharmacies, from your family doctor or nurse, or from the health unit. Appointments are only for one person per appointment, and will allow only one parent per child. If you are sick ahead of your appointment, you’re asked to not come and to call ahead and rebook.

Ontario has invested an additional $70 million to purchase an additional 700,000 flu vaccines this year, to help prepare the country against the combined threat of influenza and COVID-19. Last flu season, there were about 5,719 flu-related hospitalizations in Ontario and 280 flu-related deaths.

For more information:
Province invests $70 million to fight influenza
Time to get your fall flu shot