Torontonians can book advance appointments for COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots at Toronto Public Health clinics starting Wednesday.
Individual clinics, pharmacies and primary health care providers will start delivering the shots to the general public during scheduled appointments starting Oct. 31.
Public health officials say only one appointment is necessary at a city clinic for those who wish to get both shots at the same time.
Vulnerable residents, including people 65 or older and pregnant women, were able to get the shot first during a phased rollout of the vaccines.
The public health agency recommends eligible residents get the updated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Spikevax vaccines that target the XBB strain of the Omicron variant.
Health officials say the updated vaccines offer better protection against severe infection from the currently circulating variants. Anticipating a "surge" of infections through the fall, they're encouraging all Torontonians to get their COVID-19 and flu vaccines as soon as it is their turn.
Starting Oct. 31, Torontonians will be able to get a COVID -19 and a flu vaccine in one appointment at Toronto Public Health vaccine clinics. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)
A recent Toronto Board of Health report points to data that suggests that city will experience a high level of respiratory virus activity. The report says recent experience in the southern hemisphere shows an early start to the season. Australia has reported higher than average hospitalizations, especially among children, staff note.
"We are concerned about influenza this year and COVID-19, as well based on what we've seen in Australia and other places," Health Board Chair Chris Moise previously told CBC Toronto. "It's quite serious. So public health is preparing for that."
Public Health Ontario's latest COVID-19 wastewater data shows an uptick of the virus in most parts of the province, including the Greater Toronto Area.
Health officials say Torontonians can take the following steps to be protected against respiratory illness this season:
• Get vaccinated.
• Choose well-ventilated spaces whenever possible.
• Wear a well-fitted mask in crowded indoor settings.
• Stay home if feeling sick.
• Test for COVID-19 if symptoms exist.
• Wash hands frequently.
Toronto Public Health says it's also making free rapid antigen tests available at various city facilities across the city.