The influenza vaccine is given by an injection or a nasal spray.
Yes. In Canada, vaccines undergo laboratory and field-testing. They must pass a strict licensing procedure with the federal government before they can be used. Once a vaccine has been approved for use, every lot is tested for safety and quality. You can’t get influenza disease from the influenza vaccine.
If I was immunized last year, do I need to get immunized again this year?
If you live, work, or go to school in Alberta, you can get immunized for free at any of the Alberta Health Services influenza immunization clinics. For example, if you usually live in Nova Scotia but are working in Alberta, or you live in Ontario but are going to university in Alberta, you can get the vaccine for free. 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 not at risk of complications. 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, less 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 decrease the chances that you will get influenza and spread it to others.
Even if you have had influenza disease (including H1N1) before, it is still important to get immunized every year. The strains circulating 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). If you’re breastfeeding, it’s safe to get immunized with the inactivated influenza vaccine (injection) or the live influenza vaccine (nasal spray).
If you have a latex allergy, it’s safe to get the vaccine. There is no latex in the vaccine, the packaging, or the syringe.
Yes, it’s safe to get the inactivated vaccine (injection) if you take most types of medicine. But, if you take antiviral medicine, the live influenza vaccine (nasal spray) might not work well or it may affect how your medicine works. If you take antiviral medicine, do not get the live influenza vaccine (nasal spray) until 48 hours (2 days) after you’ve stopped taking your medicine. If you get the live influenza vaccine, do not take antiviral medicine for 2 weeks unless your doctor tells you to. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor.
Yes, the inactivated influenza vaccine (injection) has a killed virus, which means it can be given at the same time as other vaccines. Pneumococcal vaccine or routine childhood vaccines are often given at the same time as the inactivated influenza vaccine.
Because the nasal spray influenza vaccine is a live vaccine, it’s important to tell the immunizing nurse if you (or your child) have had a live vaccine in the past 4 weeks or if you plan to get any other live vaccines. Live vaccines can affect each other if they aren’t given at the same time or spaced out as needed. Live vaccines include:
If you get the inactivated influenza vaccine (injection), you have to wait 48 hours (2 days) before you can donate blood. If you get the live influenza vaccine (nasal), you don’t have to wait to donate blood.
If you’ve 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 illnesses not caused by influenza.
How well the influenza vaccine works can vary widely from season to season. It also depends on the age and health of the person being immunized. When the influenza strains in the vaccine are the same as the strains in the community, influenza illness can be prevented in healthy adults and older children.
Research shows that the vaccine can decrease:
If your child is eligible to get the influenza vaccine, it doesn’t matter which type is given. The nasal spray and injectable vaccines are interchangeable.
There is no concern if your child sneezes after the nasal spray vaccine or if it’s only given in one nostril. There is enough of the vaccine to help protect the child from influenza in both of these cases.
No. You don’t need to worry. Your child was assessed to make sure the nasal spray vaccine was safe for him or her. The information on the Internet may have been from the United States or another country. Every country has different standards for who can have the nasal spray vaccine.
Last Revised: August 1, 2014
Author: Influenza Immunization Program, Alberta Health Services
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