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Sharp Rise In Cases Prompts Health Officials To Push Flu Shot

Health officials are urging anyone who hasn’t yet received a flu shot to visit a clinic to get a jab as higher-than-normal rates of the virus have been reported in the city and across the province.

Toronto Public Health has opened additional flu clinics after 739 laboratory-confirmed cases of the bug were reported. The five-year average, excluding the 2009-10 pandemic flu season, for this time of year is 109 cases, according to the local health unit.

Increased cases are being reported among kids under four and senior citizens.

“It’s not too late to get your flu shot,” Dr. Vinita Dubey, the city’s associate medical officer of health said. “The flu season peaks from December to March. By getting your flu shot now, you can still protect your loved ones, your co-workers and the public.”

Every year 20 per cent of Canadians get the flu, and while most won’t fall seriously ill, people with underlying medical problems, young kids and seniors are particularly vulnerable.

This year’s shot includes the H3N2 strain, which is the main strain circulating in Ontario, and the H1N1 strain that was widespread last year.

The city’s flu clinics run through to Jan. 21. Here’s a list of the locations and times:

Monday, January 10, North York Civic Centre, 4 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, January 11, Toronto City Hall, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Tuesday, January 11, Scarborough Civic Centre, 4 to 8 p.m.
Wednesday, January 12, Etobicoke Civic Centre, 4 to 8 p.m.
Thursday, January.13, East York Civic Centre, 4 to 8 p.m.
Saturday, January 15, North York Civic Centre, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday, January 20, Metro Hall, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.