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October 28, 2004
Clinics open - Medical Officer of Health urges residents to beat the flu
Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, today opened a
month-long schedule of flu clinics for residents.

"We are encouraging the people of Toronto, including children between six and
23 months and their families, to get vaccinated and help us beat the flu," said
Dr. McKeown. "The shot is safe, effective, free and widely available."

Clinics will be held in malls, civic centres, libraries, community centres and
other locations across the city. All locations are wheelchair accessible.

"The more people we vaccinate the greater chance we have of reducing the risk
of spreading the flu to friends, family and co-workers," said Dr. McKeown. "It
will also reduce flu-related deaths, over-crowding in hospital emergency rooms,
health-care costs and lost work time."

The campaign is part of a provincially-funded initiative administered by public
health units and health professionals throughout the province. Ontario is the
first jurisdiction in North America to make flu shots available to the general
public at no cost.

Each year the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the dominant strains
of flu virus in circulation. The vaccine is considered 70 to 90 per cent
effective in preventing the flu in the majority of people. Studies have shown
that vaccination can reduce flu-related hospitalizations by 60 per cent among
the elderly, and flu-related deaths by up to 85 per cent.

Registered nurses will be staffing the clinics and will answer questions about
the vaccine.

For more information about the flu and the schedule of clinics, call
1-866-FLU-'N-YOU or visit

Media contact:
Frank Giorno, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7974



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