Immunization protects you from disease.Get protected, get immunized.
Everyone (6 months and older) should have influenza vaccine. It is free if you live, work or go to school in Alberta.
Everyone is at risk of influenza, and anyone can get very sick and develop complications. However, the risk is highest if you:
It is important for the above people and their close contacts (e.g., family, caregivers, healthcare providers) to get immunized every season.
There are many types of influenza vaccine. Every year, Alberta Health reviews information to make the best decision on which vaccines will be offered for free.
Your health care provider will talk to you about which vaccine is best for you.
If your child is less than 9 years of age, and getting influenza vaccine for the first time, your child will need 2 doses of vaccine this season. They are given at least 4 weeks apart.
For everyone else, one dose is needed each influenza season (late fall through winter).
The vaccine lowers your risk of getting influenza by about half. The influenza vaccine can keep you from getting influenza, make influenza less severe if you do get it and keeps you from spreading influenza to your family and others.
How well the vaccine works changes from one influenza season to another. A new vaccine is made every year to protect against the 3 or 4 viruses that are most likely to cause sickness that season. Even when the vaccine does not exactly match the viruses going around, it can still give some protection.
Protection starts about 2 weeks after you get the vaccine.
Influenza immunization is given at Alberta Health Services (AHS) Influenza Immunization Clinics, from late October to the end of March. To find local clinic schedules, visit
www.ahs.ca/influenza or call Health Link at 811.
Many family doctors and pharmacists offer free influenza vaccine. Call ahead before visiting to find out if your doctor or pharmacist is offering the vaccine.
If you want a type of influenza vaccine that is not free, you may be able to buy it at a pharmacy. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if it is right for you. Check with your health insurance provider as some plans may cover the cost.
Reactions to the vaccine are usually mild and go away in a few days. They may include:
It is important to stay at the clinic for 15 minutes after immunization because people can have a rare but serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
Unusual reactions can happen. Call Health Link at 811 to report any unusual reactions.
You may not be able to have the vaccine if you:
You can be immunized if you have an allergy to eggs or a mild illness (e.g., cold), even if you have a fever.
What it is
How it spreads
How to prevent spreading influenza
Current as of: July 1, 2017
Author: Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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