Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
The influenza vaccine protects against the influenza virus.
You should get the influenza vaccine if you’re age 6 months and older. Everyone is at risk of influenza.
Influenza can make you very sick and lead to other health problems, especially if you:
It’s important to get the influenza vaccine each year if you:
The vaccine is free if you live, work, or go to school in Alberta.
If you’re under age 9 years, the first time you get the influenza vaccine you’ll need 2 doses, at least 4 weeks apart.
Everyone else only needs 1 dose of the influenza vaccine each influenza season. The season starts in late fall and lasts through the winter.
There are many types of influenza vaccines. Every year, Alberta Health looks at information about influenza to help them decide which vaccines to offer for free.
If you're age 65 years and older, you'll get the high-dose inactivated (killed) influenza vaccine. The high-dose vaccine has more inactivated influenza virus than the regular (standard-dose) vaccine. If you're age 65 years and older, you're at high risk for serious (severe) illness from influenza. Because your immune system changes as you age, you may not respond to the immunization as well as younger people. The higher dose means that you'll have a better response to the vaccine to protect you against influenza.
If you're under age 65 years, you'll get the standard-dose inactivated influenza vaccine.
Both vaccines protect against 4 types of influenza virus.
Your healthcare provider will let you know which vaccine you can get.
How well the vaccine works is different each influenza season.
A new vaccine is made every year to protect against the 3 or 4 influenza viruses that are most likely to make you sick. Even when the vaccine doesn't exactly match the viruses that do end up spreading where you live, it can still help protect you from getting influenza or getting very sick from it.
The influenza vaccine is the best way to lower your risk of getting influenza and having health problems related to influenza. It can also help stop you from spreading it to others.
The influenza vaccine will start to protect you about 2 weeks after you get the vaccine.
Children under age 5 years and their families can get the influenza vaccine for free at Alberta Health Services (AHS) Influenza Immunization Clinics (from late October to the end of March).
To find influenza clinics where you live, visit
www.ahs.ca/influenza or call Health Link at 811.
You can also get the influenza vaccine from many family doctors and pharmacists:
Call your doctor or pharmacist to find out if they offer the vaccine.
If you want a type of influenza vaccine that isn’t free, you may be able to buy it at a pharmacy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if it’s right for you. You can also check with your health insurance provider to see if they cover the cost.
There can be side effects from the influenza vaccine, but they tend to be mild and go away in a few days. Side effects may include:
It’s important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after your vaccine. Some people may have a rare but serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. If anaphylaxis happens, you will get medicine to treat the symptoms.
It’s rare to have a serious side effect after a vaccine. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
You may not be able to get this vaccine if you:
You can still get the vaccine if you have an allergy to eggs or a mild illness, such as a cold or fever. Always tell your healthcare provider if you have allergies or if you've had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.
Check with your doctor or a public health nurse before you get the vaccine.
What is influenza?
Influenza is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that’s caused by a virus. Symptoms start suddenly and may include:
In some cases, influenza can lead to a lung infection of the lungs (pneumonia) or make other health problems worse.
Even healthy, young people can get very sick or die from influenza.
Each year, more than 12,000 people in Canada have to stay in the hospital and 3,500 will die from influenza.
How does it spread? Influenza spreads:
It’s important to know that you and others can spread influenza before symptoms start.
How can I stop influenza from spreading? To stop influenza from spreading:
Go to the
influenza page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more.
Current as of: September 10, 2021
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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