10/23/2014 04:08 EDT | Updated 12/23/2014 05:59 EST

Flu shots offered at Toronto clinics, pharmacies

It's that time of year again, and provincial and city officials are reminding everyone to get a flu shot — whether at a doctor's office, a pharmacy or one of the several free clinics. 

Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins was at a downtown Loblaws grocery store on Thursday — giving a shot to the company's president Galen Weston — while Dr. David McKeown, Toronto's medical officer of health, got his shot at one of the 13 clinics available across the city. 

"Flu season has arrived in Toronto," McKeown said, citing recent confirmed cases of Influenza A and B. 

"Anyone can get the flu. Everyone is susceptible." 

McKeown reminded the crowd that the flu, unlike the common cold, can worsen existing ailments and, in some cases, prove fatal. Some 12,000 people are hospitalized by the flu across Canada in a typical year, he said, and millions of others are otherwise affected. 

"Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself, your family and your co-workers," McKeown added. 

Flu shots are available for free, without a health card, from doctors' offices, at 450 pharmacies around the city, and at 13 special clinics operating across the city until Oct. 29.