City launches vaccination campaign ahead of expected illness surge


With respiratory illness season on the horizon, Toronto Public Health (TPH) has launched a vaccination campaign in the hopes that people will get shots for both COVID-19 and the flu.

In a news release issued Tuesday, TPH officials said the city is anticipating a “surge” in such illnesses through the fall. 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.

“Vaccine protection decreases over time and many of us are due for an additional dose,” said Board of Health Chair Chris Moise in a statement. “New formulations of the COVID-19 vaccine are effective against the current dominant variant of the virus.

“I encourage residents to be vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu as soon as they’re eligible.”

The city says in an effort to protect some of Toronto’s most vulnerable residents, public health is now offering COVID-19 vaccines at its fixed-site vaccination clinics. Over 4,250 new appointments have been added for the updated monovalent vaccine, with another 8,500 appointments set to open up in the coming days.

TPH says it is using a phased approach to rolling out the new vaccine based on provincial eligibility criteria, starting with priority groups including:

  • Residents and staff in congregate living settings.
  • People 65 years of age or older.
  • People who are pregnant.
  • Children six months to four years of age.
  • People who are from a First Nation, Inuit, or Métis community and/or who self-identify as First Nation, Inuit or Métis, and their households.
  • Members of racialized and other equity-deserving communities.
  • People with chronic underlying health conditions.

Eligible residents can now book a vaccine appointment online.

Starting on Oct. 31, all Torontonians can get an updated COVID-19 vaccine and a flu vaccine at the same time at fixed-site vaccination clinics, pharmacies or primary health-care providers.

Beginning Oct. 25, the general public can start booking vaccine appointments in advance.

The city says mobile clinics will also offer vaccines to shelter residents, retirement communities and newcomer agency clients.

“Toronto is a caring city,” Mayor Olivia Chow said in a statement. “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.”

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