Connecting Ontarians to The Tools They Need to Stay Healthy This Respiratory Illness Season

The provincial government is reminding everyone to stay safe this respiratory illness season and prevent unnecessary visits to the hospital by staying up to date on their vaccinations, including flu, RSV and COVID-19.

Starting this month, flu shots will be made available to high-risk populations, including hospitalized individuals, hospital staff, and residents and staff in long-term care homes, followed by those in retirement homes and other congregate settings.

Free flu shots for the general public aged six months and older will be available starting October 30 at primary care offices, some public health units and participating pharmacies. 

Ontario expects to receive doses of Moderna’s new SPIKEVAX COVID-19 vaccine in early October, which better protects against the new Omicron XBB variant. Initial doses will be prioritized for high-risk populations, with more details to be provided once doses are distributed by Health Canada.

The current COVID-19 vaccine will continue to be available for all Ontarians, as long as it has been a recommended six months since their previous dose. It is safe and convenient to receive both the COVID-19 and flu shots at the same time, reducing multiple visits to a doctor, nurse practitioner or local pharmacy.

Ontario is also rolling out its first publicly funded vaccination program of the first Health Canada approved RSV vaccine, Arexvy for those 60 years and older living in long-term care homes, Elder Care Lodges, and in some retirement homes.

Ontario continues to provide convenient access to antivirals through primary care providers and pharmacists, with virtual care options through Health 811. We are working to allow pharmacists to prescribe the flu antiviral, Tamiflu, to make it faster and easier for people to receive timely care.

Individuals will be able to access rapid antigen tests through their local Public Health Units. Eligible individuals can also access PCR testing at pharmacies and assessment centres.

With Your Health: A Plan for Connected and Convenient Care, the government is providing Ontarians with the tools they need to stay safe and healthy this winter and avoid any unnecessary trips to the hospital.

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