The influenza (sometimes called the flu) vaccine is given:
The injection is free. The nasal spray may be available from a pharmacist, but you need to pay for it. Talk to your pharmacist to find out.
Yes. In Canada, vaccines are tested in the laboratory and in people (clinical trials). Vaccines must pass a strict licensing process with the federal government before they can be used. Once a vaccine has been approved for use, every batch that is made at the same time (called a lot) is tested for safety and quality. Canada and other countries also continually monitor the safety of vaccines being used.
can’t get influenza disease from the influenza vaccine. The vaccine given by injection is made with inactivated (killed) viruses or only a part of the virus, and so it can’t cause illness. The nasal spray contains live viruses that are weakened so that they will not cause illness either.
Yes. You need to get the influenza vaccine every year. Influenza viruses change ever year, and new influenza viruses appear each year. When viruses change, so do the vaccines.
The World Health Organization identifies the strains of influenza that they predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. This information is used to develop the vaccine to protect against these strains.
The immunity you get from your vaccine gets lower over time. This means you need to get immunized every year to stay protected even if you've been immunized against the same strain before.
If you live, work, go to school, or are visiting in Alberta, you can get immunized for free at any of the Alberta Health Services influenza immunization clinics. For example, you can get the vaccine for free if you:
You can find an immunization clinic near you at
Immunization Clinic Schedule.
Getting immunized is one of the best ways to prevent influenza. It’s a good idea for everyone in Alberta to get immunized, even healthy people that aren’t at risk of complications (serious health problems) from influenza. If you have influenza, you can be sick for 5 to 10 days, but it can take weeks to fully recover.
By protecting yourself, you help protect people around you who are at risk of complications from influenza. If more people are protected, fewer people will get sick from influenza.
It’s a good idea for everyone to get immunized for influenza
every year. Influenza vaccine is the best way to lower the chances that you will get influenza and spread it to others.
Even if you’ve had influenza disease (including H1N1) before, it’s still important to get immunized every year. It's unknown how long your protection from disease will last, and the strains going around this year may be different than the one you had before.
If you’re pregnant (or planning to get pregnant), it’s safe to get immunized with the inactivated influenza vaccine (injection). The live influenza virus nasal spray vaccine is not recommended if you're pregnant.
If you’re breastfeeding, both the injectable and the live influenza virus nasal spray vaccines are safe.
If you have a latex allergy, it’s safe to get the vaccine. There’s no latex in the vaccine, the packaging, or the syringe.
Yes, it’s safe to get the inactivated vaccine (injection) with most types of medicine. Talk to your healthcare provider at the immunization site about the medicines you’re taking.
You can get the influenza vaccine at the same time or any time before or after most vaccines. However, certain vaccines have a waiting period. If you had another vaccine in the last 2 weeks, check with your healthcare provider about when you can get the influenza vaccine.
You don't have to wait before you can donate blood.
If you’ve already donated blood, you don’t have to wait to get the influenza vaccine.
It takes about 2 weeks after getting the vaccine to be protected from influenza. You can be protected for up to 1 year. The vaccine won’t protect you from colds or other respiratory (lung and breathing system) illnesses that aren't caused by influenza.
How well the influenza 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 does not exactly match the viruses that spread where you live, it can still help protect you from getting influenza or getting very sick from it.
Research shows that the vaccine can lower:
Current as of: August 17, 2022
Author: Provincial Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.