Toronto residents can now get free flu shots at one of four vaccine clinics across the city.

The flu vaccine is available for anyone over the age of six months and does not require a health card. The city-run clinics will open Friday afternoon and remain in operation for one week.

Those who want to get a flu shot at one of the clinics are asked to call 416-338-7600 to make an appointment, although officials say that walk-ins are also welcome.

The clinics are located at the Toronto Reference Library, Centerpoint Mall, Etobicoke Civic Centre, and the East York Town Centre. The city’s website tells residents when the clinics are open each day and how many appointments are available.

The high-dose flu vaccine, which is meant for vulnerable adults over the age of 65, will also be available at the clinics.

"These four free flu immunization clinics for the public and the clinics being planned for vulnerable populations in local shelters and drop-in centres are one of the many ways Toronto Public Health works behind the scenes in our community to protect and promote good health among all of our residents,” Joe Cressy, chair of Toronto’s board of health, said in a statement.

“Anyone can get the flu, and getting vaccinated really is the best way to prevent it."

Flu shot

Health officials say that the flu vaccine is the most effective method of protection against influenza. Symptoms of the flu include high fever, chills, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Recovering from the flu usually takes a week to 10 days.

More than 12,000 hospitalizations occur in Canada each year due to the flu, Toronto’s medical officer of health said.

“Typically the flu starts to circulate in late fall, so this is why we are reminding residents to get their flu shot early to prevent illness in our community,” Eileen de Villa said.

Residents can also get the flu shot through their health care providers or their local pharmacy.