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October 27, 2008
Flu shots: Toronto residents urged to protect themselves and their families
Toronto Public Health is urging Toronto residents to get their free flu shot at clinics beginning today. This year’s influenza vaccine has three new strains of the flu virus to offer better protection for the coming season.

“It’s important that all Toronto residents get vaccinated. The more people that get a flu shot, the less the flu virus circulates in our community,” said Dr. Vinita Dubey, Associate Medical Officer of Health. “When you get the flu shot, you are not just protecting yourself, you are also protecting your loved ones, co-workers and the public.” Very young children, the elderly, and people with underlying medical conditions can become seriously ill from flu-related complications. Each year more than 20 per cent of Canadians get influenza and over 1,500 people will die from related complications.

Parents are encouraged to have their children vaccinated, as the flu is spread easily among children. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization also recommends the vaccine for all pregnant women. “Vaccinating pregnant women protects the woman and her newborn if she delivers during the influenza season,” said Dubey.

In addition to getting the flu shot, Toronto Public Health is encouraging people to reduce the spread of germs by keeping their hands clean, covering their cough and when they do not have a tissue, to “Do the Sleeve Sneeze.” Techniques about the “Sleeve Sneeze” and a video produced by a group of doctors are available at

Toronto Public Health is operating 67 flu vaccination clinics across the city between October 27 and mid-January. These clinics are part of the Ontario government’s universal influenza immunization program, making the flu shot available to every resident of Ontario over the age of six months. Last year, Toronto Public Health vaccinated approximately 30,000 Toronto residents.

For the full flu vaccination clinic schedule or more information, visit or call 416-338-7600.

Please note: Dr. Vinita Dubey will be available on-site at the Atrium on Bay clinic for media interviews on Monday, October 27 between noon and 1 p.m. (street level near Red Lobster)

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact:
Rishma Govani, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974,



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