- The Health Unit does not currently have a supply of 23/24 flu vaccines. We anticipate that flu vaccines will become available late September/early October, starting with those at highest risk (residents of long-term care homes).
- We will provide an update on when and where the public can access flu vaccines as soon as we receive provincial guidance.
- We strongly encourage individuals who are at a higher risk of complications from the flu to get immunized as soon as flu vaccines become available to you. It takes up to two weeks to build up your immunity.
- People living in Thunder Bay: Updates on flu vaccine availability for 23/24 at TBDHU’s Community Vaccine Clinic will be shared to our Immunization Clinics page. See the “Who Gives the Flu Shot?” tab below for other locations where you can access the flu vaccine.
- People living in District communities: Health care providers in your community are organizing flu vaccine clinics for both rostered and non-rostered patients. Please contact the health care provider in your community or a pharmacy to access the flu vaccine. Flu vaccines are also available to those receiving COVID-19 vaccines at TBDHU district clinics.
Information About the Flu Shot
For some people, complications from the flu can be serious and can lead to things like pneumonia. People who are at higher risk of complications from the flu include infants and young children, adults aged 65 and older, Indigenous individuals, as well as those with chronic medical conditions or who are taking medications that impact their immune system.
The annual flu shot strengthens the body's response against the flu by stimulating the immune system and building antibodies against the virus, making the body stronger and ready to fight off the flu. Getting the flu shot decreases your chances of getting the flu, but also protects those around you, especially those at higher risk, from being exposed to the virus.
We are also expecting the 23/24 respiratory disease season to start earlier and have an increased impact on younger children. There is a risk that our health care system will become overwhelmed with cases of respiratory infections from the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Fewer cases of the flu means fewer people in the hospital, freeing up our health care system to respond to more health emergencies.
Anyone over the age of 6 months can receive both the influenza vaccine and many other vaccines, such as the COVID vaccine, at the same time.
During the 2023/24 flu and COVID season, you are encouraged to receive both your COVID booster and the flu shot at the same time for convenience and to make sure you are protected against both diseases as soon as possible.
All flu vaccines available in Ontario are inactivated vaccines that contain the killed version of the virus that causes the flu. Because of this, you can’t get the flu from the vaccine.
Only one dose of a vaccine is needed, with the exception of any child from 6 months to under 9 years of age who is receiving a flu vaccine for the first time. These children will require a second dose at least 4 weeks after their first for full protection.
For those aged 6 months to 64 years of age
Most people in Ontario will receive a quadrivalent vaccine, meaning the vaccine protects against two influenza A strains of the virus and two influenza B strains. In Ontario, the two available quadrivalent vaccines are Fluzone® Quadrivalent and FluLaval Tetra. These are available for anyone 6 months to 64 years of age.
NOTE: FluMist® Quadrivalent (nasal spray), Flucelvax® Quad, and Afluria® Tetra are NOT publicly funded in Ontario for the 2023/24 flu season.
For those aged 65 years of age and older
It is important for older adults to get the flu shot.
There are two vaccines that are only available to those 65 years of age and older; Fluzone® High-Dose Quadrivalent (protects against 4 strains) and Fluad® (which protects against 3 strains).
Fluzone® High-Dose and/or Fluad® are available at pharmacies at the start of flu season; however, limited supplies are available each year. Individuals aged 65 and older should receive whatever flu product is available at the time of immunization. If your pharmacy or health care provider has run out of the high-dose vaccine, you should not wait for more to come in. The regular quadrivalent vaccines still offer great protection against influenza.
For those with a severe egg allergy
During previous flu seasons, people with severe egg allergies could receive an egg-free vaccine (Flucelvax® Quad). However, Flucelvax® Quad is NOT publicly funded in Ontario for the 2023/24 flu season.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) indicates that egg allergy is not a contraindication for influenza vaccination and that egg-allergic individuals may be vaccinated against the flu using the full dose of any age-appropriate product. Any age-appropriate publicly funded vaccine is offered free of charge, provides excellent protection against the flu, and is safe for people with egg allergies to receive.
If you have any concerns about receiving an egg-based vaccine, please speak with your health care provider. You may still be able to order Flucelvax® Quad at a cost.
The flu vaccine is available to everyone over the age of 6 months. Children 6 months to 9 years of age who have never had a flu shot will need 2 doses of the vaccine, given at least 4 weeks apart.
All adults and children who are 6 months old and older should get the flu vaccine every year, unless there is a medical reason not to.
Those who are at a higher risk of complications, as well as health care workers and those in hospital, are prioritized to receive the flu vaccine in October. These groups are encouraged to get immunized as soon as possible:
- People 6 months of age or older with a chronic illness, such as: heart disease, lung disease (e.g. asthma), liver disease, cancer, morbid obesity or diabetes
- People over the age of 65
- Residents and staff of congregate living settings (e.g., nursing homes, retirement homes)
- Healthy children who are 6 months to 4 years of age
- People who are pregnant (risk increases with length of pregnancy; higher risk in third vs second trimester)
- Indigenous people and their household members
- Members of racialized and other equity deserving communities (e.g., Black, member of the LGBTQ2s+ community, etc.)
- Health care workers and first responders
The following groups of individuals who care for someone who is at higher risk for complications are strongly recommended to get a flu shot:
- People who live with or take care of people who is at high risk from complications (see the above list).
- People who live with or take care of children less than 4 years of age.
- People who live with someone expecting a newborn during flu season.
- People who provide services within a closed or relatively closed setting to persons at high risk (e.g. crew on a ship).
The following groups of people are also particularly recommended to get a flu shot:
- People who provide essential community services
- Poultry industry workers
How to Get a Flu Shot
If you require proof of flu immunization for your work, please let your immunizer know when you get vaccinated.
City of Thunder Bay
Note: It is safe to receive both flu and COVID vaccines at the same time.
|Location||Can provide the flu shot to:||Health Card Needed?||Other Details|
|Health Care Providers||Anyone 6 months or older||Yes|
|Pharmacies||People 2 years or older (please contact your local pharmacy directly to confirm what ages they are offering to immunize)||Varies||Please confirm flu shot availability by booking an appointment or calling the pharmacy.|
|TBDHU Vaccine Clinics (in Thunder Bay ONLY)||
Will be updated for the start of the 2023/24 flu season.
|ONWA Mindimooyenh Health Clinic||Will be updated for the start of the 2023/24 flu season.||No||ONWA website|
|Matawa Health Co-operative Vaccine Clinic (Thursdays at Chapples Clinic site)||Will be updated for the start of the 2023/24 flu season.||No|
|Other Public Clinics||Eligibility will depend on the clinic; information on specific public clinics will be posted on this page as available||Check clinic details|
Some locations may require an appointment. Please call ahead.
TBDHU is working with local healthcare providers to provide opportunities for flu vaccination. Please contact the health care provider in your community or a pharmacy to access the flu vaccine.
Flu vaccine clinics will be added below as they are shared with TBDHU.
|Clinic Date||Community||Location||Clinic Time||Notes|
Note: Please contact your local healthcare provider to confirm dates and book appointments.
The province of Ontario also funds flu vaccines for people who do not have an Ontario Health Number but who live, work, or study in Ontario. Many pharmacies will immunize people who meet these requirements, such as international students or temporary foreign workers. Please call the pharmacy to confirm their policies before you go. You should also bring valid documentation that you live, work, or study in Ontario, such as a bill with your Ontario address or a letter from your school confirming your enrollment.
If you are working, volunteering, or studying somewhere that requires you to have your flu shot, please let your immunizer know that you require proof of influenza immunization. It is far easier to provide this documentation at the time of your vaccination then to look it up after the fact.
Make your visit to our clinic extra quick! Please download and complete the TBDHU consent form in either English or French before visiting a TBDHU Immunization Clinic for a flu shot. This helps support the flow of the clinic. Copies of the flu consent form will also be available on-site. Copies of the flu consent form will also be available on-site.
Do not attend an immunization clinic if you are feeling ill.