Starting today, the general public can book an appointment to get a fall booster shot for COVID-19 and influenza (flu) through Toronto Public Health (TPH) ahead of a potentially challenging season for respiratory illness.

TPH said the vaccine bookings are opening up to combat COVID-19 and the flu “in anticipation of a surge in respiratory illnesses this Fall.”

Toronto residents will be able to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same time at fixed-site vaccination clinics, pharmacies or primary health care providers. Bookings open today, with the first appointments for the general public starting on Oct. 30.

The city says thousands of appointments have been added at its vaccination sites.

You only need one appointment at a fixed-site vaccination clinic to get both shots.

Vaccine bookings for those in vulnerable and high-risk groups opened on Oct. 10.

Public health officials have urged people to get whatever shots they are eligible for in order to help stave off an anticipated wave of illness this fall and winter as people spend more time indoors.

Last year hospitals were overwhelmed by a so-called “triple whammy” of influenza, COVID-19 and RSV.

TPH recently said that it needs $5 million to help support infection prevention and control hubs, which work to minimize respiratory disease outbreaks in congregate settings ahead of a potentially challenging respiratory illness season.

The same report said vaccination remains the most effective way to prevent infection.

Toronto recently saw a spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations, though the latest data indicate that the spike may have peaked over the last couple of weeks.

There were 68 patients with COVID-19 in ICU in Ontario during the second week of October, the highest that number has been since late April.

You can find an appointment to get a flu and COVID-19 shot through either a TPH vaccination site or a pharmacy by going to the Toronto Public Health booking site