Toronto Public Health Opens Flu Clinics to Administer Free Flu Shots Today

Update:     

People lining up for their flu shots at the Atrium on Bay, were warned of possible media on a small notice taped to the wall, when the Toronto Public Health department knew days in advance that media would be present and photographing and videotaping the event beginning at 11:00 and ending 11:30 a.m.

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Free flu shots are available starting today at Toronto Public Health clinics across the city. A total of 46 clinics will operate at 16 locations (all locations are wheelchair accessible and parking is available) between October 27 and mid-January, 2012.

In February it was decided what strain of flu a vaccine would be developed for in 2011/2012.  That vaccine is now being provided to the public, free of charge.  The City has 35,000 vaccines on hand and can request more from the Province if required. Last year 230,000 Torontonians established the record when they showed up and bared their arms for flu shots.

The first location that opened today took place at the Atrium on Bay located at 595 Bay Street beginning at 11:00 a.m. Media was available as were the politicians. Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health, and Councillor John Filion (Ward 23 Willowdale), Chair of the Board of Health, were available from 11:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., to provide interviews and photo opportunities.

Although the flu shot only provides a 60% chance of warding off the flu;  until something better comes along, it is the best preventative measure that we currently have at our disposal.

Who should not get the flu shot?

  • People with a severe allergy to eggs or any component of the vaccine (e.g., neomycin, thimerosal) or who had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of influenza vaccine
  • Babies younger than six months of age
  • Any person who has had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) or who has an active neurological disorder should speak with a doctor before getting vaccinated.
  • Most people who have had oculo-respiratory syndrome (ORS) can be safely re-immunized with the flu shot but should discuss this with a doctor first.
  • Anyone who is ill with a fever should delay receiving the flu shot until they feel better

People began lining up shortly after 10 a.m. in the Atrium on Bay.

Toronto Public Health officials came around to the people in the line and handed them sheets to fill out and provided pens.  Before 11 a.m. there were over 120 people lined up.

I took the opportunity to line up for the first day of the free flu shots citywide.  The line-up was around the Atrium on Bay, from one side circling around to the other.

As others that waited did, I filled out my yellow form.

The nursing staff staggered in at around 10:30 a.m. began setting up the tables.  On one side of the building were a number of seats that you were expected to sit in for fifteen (15) minutes after receiving your flu vaccine shot.

The press were surrounding us, speaking to several in line and asking them why they were there and what they expected after receiving their flu shots.

When the City’s Dr. David McKeown showed up for a press interview he was swarmed by the media, as City Councillor John Filion, waited off to the side for his turn with the camera’s and microphones.

The City's Dr. David McKeown showed up for a press interview. City Councillor John Filion (seen to the lef with white hair, folding his hands) waits for his turn in the spotlight

I was finally directed to a table and I was asked by a professional Toronto public health nurse for the sheet that I had just filled out.  She asked me a number of questions and asked if I had any.

She was very professional and ask me to lift my shirt so she could apply rubbing alcohol to my left arm.

I asked her if I could take a few pictures of the procedure to place on my blog and she agreed.

Monique (an RPN) was professional and helpful while she carried out her job of providing me with my flu shot. It didn't even hurt while she inserted the vaccine through a small needle.

“When you get the flu shot, you are not just protecting yourself – you are also protecting your loved ones, co-workers and the public,” said Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto. “The viruses that cause the flu change frequently. Protection from last year’s vaccine has likely worn off. You need to get another shot to be protected this year.”

Monique, the nurse from the Toronto Public Health office holds the needle is injected into the arm - the actual needle is small and doesn't hurt as it injects the flu shot into your arm

Everyone is at risk of getting the flu. Although most people who get the flu will not become seriously ill, high-risk people can become very ill with complications. People most at risk include children younger than two years of age; people 65 years of age and older; residents of long-term care homes or chronic-care facilities; people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, lung, heart or kidney disease; pregnant women; aboriginal peoples; and people who are obese. Complications can include pneumonia, ear infections, dehydration and, in rare cases, death.

In Ontario, RPNs are community college graduates. After graduation, they write a national certification examination. Once they successfully complete this exam, they are registered to practice as a nurse by the College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO). All nurses must renew their CNO registration annually, maintaining up-to-date skills and knowledge of current practices, to preserve their professional standing.

RPNs are regulated by the CNO through the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, and the Nursing Act, 1991 as amended. There are more than 32,000 RPNs registered in Ontario of which more than 28,000 are currently practicing. RPNs are health care professionals.

In addition to promoting the flu shot, Toronto Public Health is encouraging people to reduce the risk of infection by taking these simple steps: wash your hands; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your sleeve – not your hands; and stay home when you are sick.

For the full flu vaccination clinic schedule or more information, visit http://www.toronto.ca/health or call 416-338-7600.

Free flu Shots begin today at the Atrium on Bay 595 Bay Street from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Sherway Gardens at 25 The West Mall from 2:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  and continue through to the new year, ending on January 19, 2012 at the Etobicoke Civic Centre at 399 The West Mall from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Here is the flu shot schedule and list of locations where they can be found:

Toronto Public Health

Thursday, October 27th

  • Atrium on Bay – 595 Bay St., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Sherway Gardens – 25 The West Mall, 2:30 pm – 8 pm

Friday, October 28th

  • Centre Point Mall – 6600 Yonge St., 2:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Atrium on Bay – 595 Bay St., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Scarborough Town Centre – 300 Borough Dr., 2:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Sherway Gardens – 25 The West Mall, 2:30 pm – 8 pm

Saturday, October 29th

  • Centre Point Mall – 6600 Yonge St., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Scarborough Town Centre – 300 Borough Dr., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall, 11 am – 5 pm

Thursday, November 3rd

  • Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr., 2 pm – 8 pm

Friday, November 4th

  • Lawrence Square Shopping Centre – 700 Lawrence Ave. W., 2:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Splendid China Tower Mall – 4675 Steeles Ave. E., 2:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Cloverdale Mall – 250 The East Mall, 2:30 pm – 8 pm

Saturday, November 5th

  • Lawrence Square Shopping Centre – 700 Lawrence Ave. W., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Gerrard Square – 1000 Gerrard St. E., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Splendid China Tower Mall – 4675 Steeles Ave. E., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Cloverdale Mall – 250 The East Mall, 11 am – 5 pm

Wednesday, November 9th                                                                                                                                                                                            

  • Metro Hall, 55 John St., 10 am – 3 pm

Thursday, November 10th

  • Metro Hall, 55 John St., 10 am – 3 pm
  • Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr., 2 pm – 8 pm

Saturday, November 12th

  • Yorkgate Mall – 1 Yorkgate Blvd., 11 am – 5 pm
  • East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall, 11 am – 5 pm

Friday, November 18th

  • North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St., 2 pm – 8 pm
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall, 2 pm – 8 pm

Saturday, November 19th

  • North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St., 11 am – 5 pm
  • East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave., 11 am – 5 pm

Tuesday, November 22nd

  • Toronto City Hall – 100 Queen St. W., 10 am – 3 pm

Wednesday, November 23rd

  • Toronto City Hall – 100 Queen St. W., 10 am – 3 pm

Friday, November 25th

  • Parkway Mall – 85 Ellesmere Rd., 2:30 pm – 8 pm
  • Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr., 2 pm – 8 pm
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall, 2 pm – 8 pm

Saturday, November 26th

  • Parkway Mall – 85 Ellesmere Rd., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall, 11 am – 5 pm

Thursday, December 1st

  • Metro Hall, 55 John St., 10 am – 3 pm

Saturday, December 3rd

  • East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr., 11 am – 5 pm

Saturday, December 10th

  • North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St., 11 am – 5 pm
  • East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr., 11 am – 5 pm
  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall, 11 am – 5 pm

Monday, January 16th

  • East York Civic Centre – 850 Coxwell Ave., 2 pm – 8 pm

Tuesday, January 17th

  • Scarborough Civic Centre – 150 Borough Dr., 2 pm – 8 pm

Wednesday, January 18th

  • North York Civic Centre, 5100 Yonge St., 2 pm – 8 pm

Thursday, January 19th

  • Etobicoke Civic Centre – 399 The West Mall, 2 pm – 8 pm

 

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One thoughtful comment

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