To help keep Ontarians safe this flu season, the Ontario government has launched one of its largest flu immunization campaigns.  

Starting in November, all Ontarians will have access to free flu shots through doctor and nurse practitioner offices, participating pharmacies, and public health units. 

“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 Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. 

“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,” explained Elliott.  

Ontario is investing over $89 million this year to purchase over 7.6 million flu vaccine doses, which is 1.4 million more doses than last year.  

Vaccines for seniors living in long-term care homes will be a priority for the provincial government, they have allocated 1.8 million doses specifically for seniors.   

To make getting your shot easier, the provincial government will provide pharmacies with 40% of the 7.6 million doses, up from the 36% last year.  

“The annual flu shot is the best defence against the flu this season,” said Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health.  

Moore continued “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.” 

Last year, flu cases per the national and Ontario surveillance systems were historically low, with less than 25 cases of laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza reported. This is in comparison to 12,829 laboratory-confirmed cases in 2019/20 and 10,743 in 2018/19. 

The flu shot is especially important for children under five, people who are pregnant and those 65 and older. Flu-related complications such as pneumonia and heart attack can be very serious, sometimes deadly for those with weakened immune systems.