Image copyright Ottawa Public Health Image caption Greater Toronto has some of the highest rates of flu in Canada
Health officials in Toronto have announced they will ramp up the number of vaccinated children over the next month, after the province refused to make the flu shot mandatory.
Children should receive either the nasal spray COVID-19, or the shot, health officials said.
Only the nasal spray was recommended for healthy children, over the age of six months.
The Ontario health ministry said it was waiting for a longer-term recommendation from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
Image copyright Ottawa Public Health Image caption There is strong demand for the vaccine in Toronto
Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins said the decision was based on “the belief that the flu vaccine is fairly well understood and that it’s right for the children in this province”.
PHAC spokesman Blair Feickert told BBC Radio 4 that the national agency had recommended national vaccination programmes to help prevent influenza a decade ago and that COVID-19 was the ideal vaccine for children with no asthma.
In Canada, Alberta and Manitoba have made the shot mandatory for children over six months old.
Clinics with a history of operating at a high level of immunisation rates are stepping up vaccine efforts for children under six months of age.
Some 350 clinics will be looking after almost 500,000 patients, making up about 70% of the population of Toronto.