Influenza is a serious illness. Those already hospitalized – especially the very young, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly – are highly susceptible to influenza, and each year there are around 3,500 flu-related deaths in Canada.
Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and others against influenza, especially when used with other infection prevention practices such as proper hand hygiene and staying home when sick.
The influenza vaccine provides protection against two kinds of influenza A (H3N2 and H1N1) and against influenza B. Both inactivated and live attenuated influenza vaccines are authorized for use in Canada; some are trivalent formulations (protecting against three strains of the virus) and some are quadrivalent formulations (protecting against four strains).
Who should get the flu vaccine?
National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older gets a flu vaccine, with rare exception.
Who is eligible for a free flu vaccine?
In BC, the flu vaccine is provided free to people who are at high risk of serious illness from influenza (such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions) and those able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk.
Where can you get your flu vaccine?
Your family doctor
A walk-in clinic
A public health clinic