Ontario offers flu shots, COVID-19 vaccines for all over six months as of Monday

TORONTO — Ontario residents who are six months and older will be able to receive their free flu shot and the new COVID-19 vaccine starting on Monday.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced the immunization program rollout on Sunday, saying people should make sure they are up to date on their vaccinations to stay safe and healthy during the season when respiratory illnesses typically surge.

“Getting your COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot is the best way to keep yourself, your loved ones and your community healthy,” Jones said in a statement.

“Our government is ensuring you have access to the tools you need this fall respiratory season by making COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots available in convenient locations close to home, at no cost to Ontarians.”

The Ontario government said flu shots and the most recent COVID-19 vaccines will be available at local pharmacies, public health units and primary health care providers across the province.

It said receiving both a COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time is safe and convenient as it reduces the need for multiple visits.

Dr. Kieran Moore, the province's chief medical officer of health, also encouraged Ontario residents to make sure they're up-to-date on their vaccinations.

"With the expected co-circulation of influenza, COVID-19 and RSV over the fall and winter, I encourage Ontarians to get their COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot as soon as they can,” Moore said. “Especially those who are elderly, immunocompromised, or have medical conditions that make you particularly susceptible to harm from respiratory illnesses."

New COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were approved by Health Canada earlier this fall and are designed to target the XBB COVID-19 variant.

The province said those who are six months and older can receive a new protective shot against COVID-19 if six months have passed since their last vaccine dose or confirmed infection.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 29, 2023.

Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press