Flu shots are now available to Ontarians six months and older, with thousands of new appointments open in Toronto.
This is the first batch of vaccines available to the general public. Previous immunization efforts were reserved for individuals considered high-risk.
Keeping up to date with vaccines is the best way to avoid illness and unnecessary trips to the hospital this season, the province said in a news release Tuesday.
"Getting your flu shot as early as you can helps keep each other and our most vulnerable loved ones healthy," Health Minister Sylvia Jones said.
The province is also encouraging COVID-19 booster shots, saying it is safe to get your COVID-19 vaccine and flu shot at the same time.
COVID-19 vaccines are available to anyone six months and older, and the bivalent booster to those 12 and older.
The province says flu shots are available at doctors' and nurse practitioners' offices, some public health units and at participating pharmacies.
While some experts say it's difficult to predict the severity of the upcoming flu season, trends in Australia from this year could offer some clues.
Australia's seasons occur at the opposite time from North America's, and that typically provides an idea of what to expect. CBC News previously reported that data from that country's Department of Health and Aged Care shows infections were higher this year than the five-year-average, with cases spiking early in the season.
Toronto's Associate Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vinita Dubey says the city is seeing the same trend, with 200 cases of the flu already reported.
"We're definitely seeing much more flu activity this year compared to this time even last year," she said.
"Getting vaccinated is the first step."
Toronto Public Health (TPH) has 4,000 slots for the flu vaccine available by appointment at all six of its immunization sites. Anyone who wants the shot can use the TPH appointment booking system. Additional appointments will be added weekly as the month goes on.
Other ways to avoid the flu
Here are some other tips from TPH on how to steer clear of the flu:
Clean your hands often.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands.
Wear a mask especially in indoor public settings or crowded places.
Socialize outdoors when possible.
Cover your cough or sneeze.
Stay home if you are sick.