Each year there is a new vaccine to protect against the influenza virus strains that are expected in the coming influenza season. Even if the strains have not changed, receiving influenza vaccine every year is necessary to maximize protection.
This year's influenza vaccines will protect against either 3 (trivalent vaccines) or 4 (quadrivalent vaccines) influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the influenza season.
The 2018/19 seasonal influenza vaccines contain the following strains:
A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (in quadrivalent vaccines only)
The A/Singapore and B/Colorado strains were not contained in the 2017/18 season vaccine.
In BC, influenza vaccines will begin to be distributed to health authorities by the end of September.
Health authorities will arrange for distribution of vaccine locally.
All eligible individuals should have the opportunity to be vaccinated by late November. Health care providers are encouraged to offer the seasonal influenza vaccine as soon as it becomes available.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that quadrivalent influenza vaccine be used for children 6 months to 17 years of age. If a quadrivalent influenza vaccine is not available a trivalent vaccine should be used.
For further information regarding vaccine administration by age group of recipient, see the BC Immunization Manual, Part 4 - Biological Products, Influenza Vaccines.
For a complete list of those for whom influenza vaccine is recommended and provided free in BC, see the BC Immunization Manual, Part 4 - Biological Products, Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Eligibility.
Anyone not eligible for a free influenza vaccine who wishes to be immunized can purchase it at most pharmacies and travel clinics. Some employers also provide free vaccines to employees. In Canada, NACI recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older receives an influenza vaccination, with rare exception.