Toronto Public Health Launches Dual Vaccination Campaign to Tackle COVID-19 and Flu

Toronto Public Health (TPH) has launched its annual ‘Fight the Flu & COVID-19’ vaccination campaign, gearing up to combat the dual threat in anticipation of a surge in respiratory illnesses this Fall. The initiative aims to protect some of Toronto’s most vulnerable residents by offering COVID-19 vaccinations at TPH fixed-site clinics.

In response to the evolving situation, TPH has added more than 4,250 new appointments for the updated monovalent COVID-19 vaccine, with an additional 8,500 appointments scheduled in the coming days. This proactive approach aims to vaccinate residents ahead of the colder months when people typically spend more time indoors.

TPH has adopted a phased approach to the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, prioritizing specific groups based on eligibility criteria set by the Ontario Ministry of Health. The campaign will initially target:

  1. Residents and staff in congregate living settings.
  2. Individuals aged 65 or older.
  3. Pregnant individuals.
  4. Children aged six months to four years.
  5. Individuals from First Nation, Inuit, or Métis communities and their household members.
  6. Members of racialized and other equity-deserving communities.
  7. Individuals with chronic underlying health conditions.

Eligible high-risk residents can now book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment on the Province’s webpage.

In addition to the fixed-site clinics, TPH mobile clinics will provide COVID-19 and flu vaccines to residents of shelters, naturally occurring retirement communities, and clients of newcomer agencies. Flu vaccines will also be available at over 700 participating pharmacies, initially for high-risk populations, before becoming available to the general public.

Starting October 31, all Torontonians will have the opportunity to receive both their updated COVID-19 vaccine and annual flu vaccine simultaneously at fixed-site vaccination clinics, pharmacies, or primary healthcare providers. General public appointments can be booked on the Toronto Public Health webpage starting October 25, streamlining the vaccination process.

Mayor Olivia Chow emphasized the importance of vaccination: “Toronto is a caring city. As we head into the fall and winter seasons, let’s remember to care for ourselves and others by rolling up our sleeves and getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu as soon as it’s our turn.”

For those concerned about COVID-19 status, TPH makes free rapid antigen tests readily available at various city facilities across Toronto. It’s important to note that residents who test positive for COVID-19 may be eligible for treatment, which is most effective when administered within five to seven days of symptom onset.

To stay informed about virus activity in the city, TPH has launched a new integrated respiratory virus surveillance dashboard, providing weekly updates on flu and COVID-19 cases and all respiratory outbreaks in institutions and public hospitals.

The overarching message from Toronto Public Health is clear: the ‘Fight the Flu & COVID-19’ campaign is an opportunity for Torontonians to protect themselves and their community by getting vaccinated and following recommended safety measures. COVID-19 and flu vaccines are free for individuals aged six months and older who live, work, or attend school in Ontario, with no OHIP card required at TPH clinics. Residents are encouraged to visit the City’s Respiratory Viruses webpage for more information.