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When will flu vaccines be available?

Oct 24, 2019

The flu vaccine is typically available in mid-October, but a rare month-long delay in the World Health Organization’s northern hemisphere recommendations delayed the arrival of the vaccine across Canada.

Public flu shot clinics are expected to have started by early November for most communities. Many large pharmacies and clinics have appointment booking systems online, but accept walk-ins, too.

Meanwhile, Ontario is working to ensure that nursing homes and other high-priority areas are protected. If you’re at high risk, check back with your healthcare provider frequently so you can get your shot as soon as it’s available. This is a great time to advocate for your health!

Ontarians 65+ will need to see a healthcare provider to discuss the high-dose flu vaccine, which is covered by provincial health insurance but is not available in pharmacies. Also of note is the system-wide unavailability of the nasal mist vaccine, used most often in children. Fortunately, children can still get protection from the regular flu shot.

If the seasonal flu vaccine isn’t available in your community yet, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of catching the flu while you wait for your flu shot:

  • Wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water
  • Regularly clean surfaces in your home and in your work area
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes, especially after touching commonly infected surfaces like door handles, light switches, and hand rails
  • Avoid large crowds, and keep your distance from people who are showing symptoms of the flu
  • Stay home if you are sick!

The good news is that roughly 90% of the flu vaccine supply should be available by the end of October, so significant delays aren’t expected. Remember, the best time to get the shot is now!


Questions about the flu, or other lung health matters? The certified respiratory educators who staff our Lung Health Line are here for you! Call us at 1-888-344-LUNG (5864), email info@lungontario.ca, or start a livechat session at lungontario.ca.