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 each influenza 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 will be offered for free.
Your healthcare provider will let you know which vaccine is best for you.
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 influenza viruses that are most likely to make you sick. Even when the vaccine does not exactly match the viruses that are spreading, it can still help protect you from getting influenza or getting as sick from it.
The influenza vaccine is the best way to lower your risk of getting influenza and developing health problems related to influenza. It can also help prevent you from spreading it to others.
The influenza vaccine will start to protect you about 2 weeks after you get the vaccine.
You can get the influenza vaccine for free:
To find local clinic schedules, visit
www.ahs.ca/influenza or call Health Link at 811.
Call your family 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. Call Health Link at 811 to report any serious or unusual side effects.
You may not be able to have the vaccine if you:
You can still have 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 have had a side effect from a vaccine in the past.
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 an infection of the lungs (pneumonia) or make other health problems worse.
Influenza can make healthy, young people very sick and die.
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 influenza can spread before symptoms start.
How can I prevent influenza from spreading? To prevent influenza from spreading:
Go to the
influenza page on MyHealth.Alberta.ca to find out more.
Current as of: September 22, 2020
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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