News & Events


Family Health Team Physicians Message to Patients

Flu Shots 2020/2021

  1. 1) Flu Shots Overview
  2. 2) FAQs – Where and how can I receive a Flu Shot this year? (etc)
  3. 3) The Medical Centre Flu Shot Clinics 2020
  4. 4) Influenza – General Information
  5. 5) NEW – On-line Flu Shot Information and Consent Form

2020/2021 Flu Shots Overview

Ontarians are being strongly encouraged this year to receive their annual influenza vaccine (“Flu Shot”), given that COVID-19 is also circulating. As in past years, the flu shot is free to receive for all Ontarians aged 6 months and older with a valid OHIP card. There are several changes this year in terms of where and how you can receive your flu shot. Although we will have some supply in our offices, pharmacies will again be able to provide flu shots this year, including the high dose vaccine. Last year, high dose vaccines were only available in physician offices. Furthermore, two of the biggest changes this year is that most flu shots will be available by appointment only and patients will be required to screen for COVID-19 symptoms prior to receiving their vaccine.

The Medical Centre Flu Shot Clinics 2020

The 2020 Medical Centre Flu Clinic effort turned out to be very successful in vaccinating the maximum number of Medical Centre patients with the available vaccine. The ‘Drive-Thru’ approach adopted for delivery of the majority of 2020 Flu vaccinations was well received by patients as well as Flu Clinic staff and our practices. No further flu clinics are planned for this 2020/2021 season.

FAQ’s 2020/2021 Influenza Vaccines

1. I am a Medical Centre patient. Where can I get the flu shot this year?

Age 6 months- 5 years:

Contact your family doctor’s office to book an appointment. If it is the first year that a child under 9 years of age is receiving the flu vaccine, they will need an additional booster after 30 days. If your child is over 9 years of age, or is under 9 years of age but has received the flu vaccine previously, they only require a single vaccine this year.

Recommended Flu Vaccine: Quadrivalent

Age 5-65:

Your family doctor’s office or a participating pharmacy. Contact your family doctor’s office to book an appointment or contact your pharmacy to book an appointment. If it is the first year that a child under 9 years of age is receiving the flu vaccine, they will need an additional booster after 30 days. If your child is over 9 years of age, or is under 9 years of age but has received the flu vaccine previously, they only require a single vaccine this year.

Recommended Flu Vaccine: Quadrivalent

Age > 65:

Your family doctor’s office or a participating pharmacy. This year, participating pharmacies are carrying the “High Dose” Flu Shot in Ontario, which is the recommended Flu Shot in this age group. If the “High Dose” is unavailable, we recommend the quadrivalent vaccine as it is also effective.

Recommended Flu Vaccine: “High Dose” (Trivalent). Quadrivalent is also effective.

*If you receive your flu vaccine at a pharmacy, please ask them to send a notification to us so that we can enter that information in your medical record.

2. When will the Flu Vaccine be available?

Flu vaccines will be available from the middle of October onward at both doctor’s offices and pharmacies. It is better to get the flu vaccine earlier if possible, as it takes about 14 days from the time you receive the Flu Shot to develop immunity.

3. What if I get sick on the day of my appointment for the vaccine?

If you are sick, do not attend your appointment and notify either your physician office or your pharmacy, depending on who you booked the appointment with. This year, everybody who is getting a Flu Shot must also complete COVID-19 screening beforehand. You will not be eligible to receive the vaccine if you have not been screened or if you screen positive. You should re-book an appointment after you are feeling better.

4. What are the differences between the “High Dose” Flu Shot and the “Regular” Flu Shot?

The “High Dose” Flu Shot has an increased amount of the Influenza A antigen. This promotes a higher immune response to this strain. Studies have shown that Influenza A is more common in ages >65, and that the immune system and therefore response to the vaccine is also potentially weaker in this age group as well. That is why the “High Dose” Flu Shot is currently recommended for this age group. The “High Dose” Flu shot is a trivalent vaccine, meaning it contains 3 strains of influenza (2 strains of Influenza A and one Influenza B). The “Regular” Flu Shot is a quadrivalent vaccine, meaning it contains 4 strains of influenza (2 strains of Influenza A and 2 strains of Influenza B).

Influenza – General Information

What Is The Flu?

Influenza, commonly known as "the flu", is a serious, acute respiratory illness that is caused by a virus. People who get the flu may have common symptoms that can include a fever, chills, cough, runny eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness and fatigue. Symptoms may vary from person to person. For example, the elderly may not have a fever. Children can also have earaches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The cough and fatigue can persist for up to several weeks, making the return to full personal and work activities difficult.

People of any age can get the flu and illness usually lasts two to seven days; sometimes longer in the elderly and in people with chronic diseases. Most people who get the flu are ill for only a few days. However, some people can become very ill, possibly developing complications and requiring hospitalization.

The flu spreads through coughing, sneezing or talking. It is also spread through direct contact with surfaces contaminated by the influenza virus, such as toys, eating utensils, and unwashed hands.

What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu?

People who get the flu may have common symptoms that can include a fever, chills, cough, runny eyes, stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, muscle aches, extreme weakness and fatigue. Symptoms may vary from person to person.

What Is The Difference Between A Cold And The Flu?

The common cold and flu symptoms are often very similar. Use the chart below to help you determine if what you have is a simple cold, or the flu.

*Colds do not generally result in serious health problems such as pneumonia or bacterial infections.

Symptom Cold Influenza
Prevention Frequent hand washing Annual immunization and frequent hand washing
Fever Rare Usual; high fever (102 ° F/39 ° C - 104 ° F, 40 ° C), sudden onset, lasts 3 to 4 days.
Headache Rare Usual; can be severe
Muscle aches and pains Sometimes, generally mild Usual; often severe
Tiredness and weakness Sometimes, generally mild Usual; severe, may last up to 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme tiredness Unusual Usual; early onset, can be severe
Runny, stuffy nose Common Common
Sneezing Common Sometimes
Sore throat Common Common
Chest discomfort, coughing Sometimes, mild to moderate Usual, can become severe.
Complications Can lead to sinus congestion or infection, and ear aches.* Can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure, and become life-threatening. Can worsen a chronic condition.

NOTE: Children may also experience the croup, ear infections, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea when they have influenza - these symptoms are not common in adults.