Despite a vaccine shortage, Canadians are being urged to get the shot — if they can find it
The Ryerson Medical Centre received only 80 doses of the flu vaccine this year — and they’re already all gone.
A waitlist has been created for when more doses become available. The Ryerson Medical Centre received fewer vaccines than they typically do from their initial shipment from Toronto Public Health, according to Cinntha Srikanthan, the medical lead at the Ryerson Medical Centre. Srikanthan says they should receive a new shipment this week or next.
David Jensen, media relations co-ordinator for the Ministry of Health says that the province has more vaccines compared to last year. “For the 2019-20 influenza season, Ontario has purchased additional quantities of publicly funded flu vaccine compared to the 2018-2019 influenza season.”
Jensen said even with manufacturing delays, Ontario still received its initial shipments of flu shots, which began in late September. “There is no shortage of the flu vaccine,” he said.
The flu is caused by influenza viruses that predominantly affect people from October to April in the Northern Hemisphere, and from May to September for those in the Southern Hemisphere. Deaths can occur in elderly or very young individuals, as well as in people with serious medical conditions.
Individuals at higher risk are those under age five and over age 65, as well as pregnant women.
Common flu symptoms include fever, fatigue, sore throat and cough. Some may experience abdominal pain and other symptoms as well. The best way to protect yourself from these symptoms, according to the Ryerson Medical Centre’s webpage, is to get a yearly flu shot.
“We encourage everyone to get the flu shot,” said Srikanthan. “But we aren’t actively gathering people to get it.” The medical centre suggests staying home if you get the flu to avoid spreading it any further.
According to Toronto Public Health’s website, the vaccine is 50 per cent effective in healthy children and adults.
Some places you could get your flu shot this season include:
Toronto Public Health flu vaccination clinics
Friday, Nov. 8: Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge St.) from 1 to 6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 9: Centre Point Mall (6464 Yonge St.) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Nov. 13: Etobicoke Civic Centre (399 The West Mall) from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 15: East York Town Centre (45 Overlea Blvd.) from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Throughout flu season: Ryerson Medical Centre, where you can be added to the waitlist for when more doses arrive.
Thursday, Nov. 14: Free flu shot clinic at Ryerson hosted by George Brown College (99 Gerrard St. E.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.