Ontario launches one of the largest flu immunization campaigns in provincial history

Government has purchased 7.5 million flu vaccine doses

With most of the attention focused on getting eligible Ontarians to roll up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccines, you are being asked to take another jab.

Health Minister Christine Elliott announced on Tuesday the provincial government is investing over $89 million this year to purchase 7.6 million flu vaccine doses, which is 1.4 million doses more than last year.

“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 Elliott. “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 COVID-19 vaccine, now is the time.”

The flu hardly made a dent in Ontario 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 12,820 laboratory-confirmed cases in 2019/20 and 10,743 in 2018/19.

Ontario’s initial supply of flu vaccine was prioritized for long-term care home residents and hospital patients beginning in September, and flu shots are now available for seniors and others most at risk for complications from the flu.

Starting in November, the flu shot will be available for all Ontarians through doctor and nurse practitioner offices, participating pharmacies, and public health units.

The province says the uptake in Ontarians getting the flu shot was higher last year than in the previous season at about 40 per cent.

Free flu shots are available to anyone over the age of six months who either lives, works or goes to school in Ontario.