The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect against influenza, an infection of the upper airway caused by influenza A or B. Seasonal influenza epidemics occur annually in Canada, generally in the late fall and winter months. Influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5-10% in adults and 20-30% in children. The influenza vaccine does not protect against viruses or bacteria that cause colds or the stomach flu.
Symptoms of influenza include:
- sudden onset of fever
- muscle aches
- loss of appetite
- sore throat
Most people will recover from influenza within 7 to 10 days but some people are at greater risk of severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) or death. Influenza can also worsen certain chronic conditions such as heart disease.
Facts about the influenza vaccine:
- the vaccine is safe and well-tolerated
- the vaccine cannot cause an influenza infection because inactivated influenza vaccines do not contain live viruses
When you get vaccinated, you help protect others as well by reducing the spread of the influenza virus. Vaccination is especially important for individuals at high risk of complications or serious illness from influenza (e.g. young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people with certain medical conditions, etc.) and those able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk.
The usual dose for adults is 1 dose for each influenza season. Children under the age of 9 years who have never received a seasonal influenza vaccine will need 2 doses given 4 weeks apart.
Vaccines Available – updated Oct 13, 2020
The following flu vaccines are available at BioPro:
Fluviral (inteded for 18+)
Flulaval (intended for 2-17 years of age)
Agriflu (intended for 18+)
Flumist (nasal vaccine intended for 2-17 years of age)
More information about influenza and the influenza vaccine can be found here:
Health Link BC (https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/inactivated-influenza-vaccine)
Canadian Immunization Guide Chapter on Influenza and Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2020–2021 (https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/vaccines-immunization/canadian-immunization-guide-statement-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-2020-2021.html)