Toronto Public Health (TPH) has launched online booking for flu vaccine clinics by appointment only.
On Tuesday, the public health agency said that due to the pandemic, the clinic will only be available through online appointment to ensure that physical distancing and preventative measures can be followed.
TPH has been using the online appointment booking system for many years but with the flu shot in high demand this year, more clinics will be offering the service starting this week until the end of December.
“I encourage all residents to get their flu shot this year. This year’s Toronto Public Health flu vaccine clinics are more important than ever in the wake of COVID-19,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.
“I want to thank Toronto Public Health for the work it has done to ensure these clinics can operate safely and the ongoing work confronting the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”
All Toronto residents who wish to get the flu vaccine will also be able to get vaccinated at doctors’ offices or participating pharmacies.
“Getting vaccinated against the flu may also reduce the number of individuals who need COVID-19 testing, as the symptoms are very similar. Annual flu vaccine is important to protect vulnerable residents from more severe illness,” the release says.
“This includes older adults, individuals with chronic and pre-existing health conditions, residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities, children six months to five years of age and pregnant women.”
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, similar to coronavirus.
Typical flu symptoms include a high fever, chills, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Other common symptoms include headache, loss of appetite and feeling tired.
The public health agency notes that symptoms of the flu can be difficult to tell apart from symptoms of coronavirus without a test.
“Recovering from the flu usually takes a week to 10 days, but for some people it can worsen pre-existing health conditions such as asthma or heart disease or develop into more serious health problems such as pneumonia and, in rare circumstances, can be fatal,” the release says.
The flu vaccine is free for people six months of age and older who live, work or attend school in Ontario. A health card is not required at a TPH clinic.
Flu clinic appointments can be booked online at https://www.tphbookings.ca.