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Bookings now open for Ottawa Public Health flu shot clinics

Ottawa Public Health is hoping to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population against the seasonal flu this year. File/Global News

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) will be holding daily flu shot clinics starting next week in a push to immunize as many residents as possible against the seasonal flu amid the double-whammy of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

OPH has a target to vaccinate 70 per cent of Ottawa’s population against influenza this year, according to Marie-Claude Turcotte, immunization program manager with the local public health unit.

OPH’s six flu clinics, which will run on an appointment-only basis starting Oct. 29, will have the capacity to provide 1,500 flu shots daily, she said.

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Canadians are urged to get the flu shot this year to avoid added pressure on medical centers – Oct 20, 2020

The clinics will run “for as long as they’re needed,” Turcotte said in a call with media Thursday morning.

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The more people OPH can vaccinate against the flu, the more vulnerable residents will be protected against possible infection and the lower the strain on the city’s health-care system — a factor that’s even more important to public health this year as flu season coincides with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Trevor Arnason, associate medical officer of health, said there’s no way to tell the difference between the common cold, the seasonal flu and COVID-19 based on symptoms alone.

Residents should seek a coronavirus test to rule out a possible infection if they are experiencing symptoms of any respiratory disease, Arnason said.

Read more: Kingston pharmacies experience high demand for flu shots early this year amid COVID-19

He also noted that if anyone is experiencing such symptoms now, it’s likely not influenza as flu season typically doesn’t start until November.

Bookings for OPH’s flu clinics opened at noon on Thursday. Appointment slots start at 9:40 a.m. and run until 7:30 p.m., seven days a week.

Clinics will have physical distancing and other coronavirus-prevention measures in place to avoid transmission. Walk-ins will not be accepted to avoid crowding at the sites.

There are six community clinic locations:

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  • Notre-Dame-Des-Champs Community Hall, 3659 Navan Rd., Orléans
  • Ottawa Public Library – Orléans Branch, 1705 Orléans Blvd., Orléans
  • Lansdowne – Horticulture Building, 1525 Princess Patricia Way
  • Mary Pitt Centre, 100 Constellation Dr., Nepean
  • Chapman Mills Community Building, 424 Chapman Mills Dr., Barrhaven
  • Eva James Memorial Centre, 65 Stonehaven Dr., Kanata

Ottawa residents can also get flu shots via their primary care providers or through participating pharmacies.

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Flu vaccine distribution amid pandemic leads to longer wait times – Oct 19, 2020

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