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Flu Shot Information

It is easier than ever to get your flu shot


During influenza (flu) season, you can get the flu shot at:

  • Health care providers’ offices
  • Medical walk-in clinics
  • Participating pharmacies (for individuals five years or older)
  • Some workplace clinics
  • York Region Public Health immunization clinics. Flu shots are offered to anyone aged three and older by appointment only. Please call 1-877-464-9675 ext. 73044 to inquire about appointments

The Influenza (flu) Vaccine

Getting the flu shot each year provides the best protection against becoming ill with the flu. Since the viruses that cause flu can change every year, you need to get a flu shot.

The flu vaccine:

  • Reduces the risk of serious flu complications
  • Is recommended for all persons six months of age or older
  • Is provided for free to anyone who lives, works or attends school in Ontario
  • Effectiveness can change from year to year. During years when there is a good match between the flu vaccine and circulating viruses, the flu shot can prevent the flu in up to 60 per cent of the overall population. In years where the vaccine is less effective at preventing the flu, it still works to lower the risk of serious complications (like pneumonia) for people who get infected with the flu
  • It takes nearly two weeks after receiving the flu shot for the vaccine to take full effect;
  • Does not cause the flu

There is another option if you do not want your child to have an injection. Flumist® nasal influenza vaccine can be given instead of an injection. Flumist® can be given by a pharmacist (for ages five through 17 only) or a health care provider.

The flu vaccine is especially important for individuals who are at high risk of developing complications from the flu, including:

  • Pregnant women (the vaccine is safe in pregnancy)
  • People who are residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities
  • People 65 years of age and older
  • All children six months of age to five years of age
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Adults or children with chronic health conditions (e.g., asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and others)

Those who live with or have close contact with the high risk groups listed above are a priority for getting the flu shot since they can spread the flu to high risk people. They include:

  • Those that live with people at high risk of flu-related complications
  • Health care workers and other care providers in facilities and community settings
  • Persons who provide care to children less than five years of age
  • Individuals who provide services with a closed or relatively closed setting to persons at high risk (e.g., crew on a ship)

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care also recommends swine and poultry industry workers receive the annual flu shot as early as possible.

When to wait before getting the flu vaccine:

Getting the flu shot should not be delayed if you have a minor acute illness with or without a fever. If you have a serious acute illness, you should wait until you feel better.


About the Flu

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a serious respiratory infection caused by influenza A and B viruses. It spreads quickly and easily from person to person and occurs each year in the late fall and winter months.

Symptoms

Symptoms of the flu are more severe than just the common cold and often include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat 
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur in children.

Visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s web page about the flu to learn:

  • The difference between the flu and a cold
  • What to do if you or a family member gets sick with the flu
  • How getting the flu shot every year helps to protect you and those around you

Avoiding the Flu

The flu spreads quickly and easily from an infected person to others through:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing (when droplets containing the flu virus are released into the air then land on to the face, mouth, and eyes of another person)
  • Touching surfaces, unwashed hands, or objects such as phones and toys that have been contaminated by the influenza virus and then touching your face, mouth or eyes

Everyone is at risk of getting the flu; getting the flu shot protects you, your family and those around you.

Being sick with the flu is unpleasant. If you or a family member has other health issues, it can be a serious threat.

How to Avoid Getting and Spreading the Flu:

  • Get the flu shot every year
  • Wash your hands well and often with soap and warm water for at least 15 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) with at least 60 per cent alcohol
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue out immediately. Wash hands afterwards. Cough in your upper sleeve if you don’t have a tissue
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid large crowds and stay home when you’re sick
  • Clean (and disinfect) surfaces and shared items

Important! You may not know at first that you have become infected with the flu virus. Adults infected with the flu can infect other people one day before they even have symptoms and up to five days after becoming sick. Children and people with weakened immune systems may be able to spread the virus for even longer than that.

Follow the above tips to stay healthy throughout the year.


What York Region Does

  • Monitors and investigates influenza cases and outbreaks
  • Investigates unusual disease patterns that could indicate an increase in severity of influenza illness in the community
  • Educates the public about infection prevention and control
  • Provides the flu vaccine to hospitals, long-term care homes, retirement homes and workplaces
  • Ensure that pharmacies and health care providers are handling and storing vaccines properly (including flu vaccines)
  • Provides the flu vaccine to health care providers’ offices


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