Common Questions About the Flu Shot

Written by
SpotCare
Medical Editorial Team
DISCLAIMER
Please talk to your healthcare provider if you have any medical questions or concerns. Information presented in the CareGuide articles is only meant for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

What is influenza?

Influenza also known as the “flu” is a viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is spread via coughing, sneezing or by touching contaminated objects. Symptoms of influenza can include fever, headache, fatigue, cough, muscle aches and loss of appetite.

Why should I get vaccinated against influenza? 

The influenza vaccine (“flu shot”) can not only prevent you from getting ill from influenza but can also help prevent the spread of influenza to those at risk of more serious complications. Getting the flu shot every year is important as it helps build your defence against influenza as the virus changes year to year.

Who should get vaccinated against influenza? 

Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an influenza vaccine, with rare exceptions. Some people are at high risk of serious illness from influenza, such as children 6 months to less than 5 years of age, pregnant women, seniors 65 years and older and people with certain medical conditions. Vaccination is especially important for these people 

Why do I need a flu shot every year?

A flu shot is needed every year for two reasons: 1. Influenza viruses are constantly changing, so each year, the viruses used to make the vaccine change to protect you against the viruses circulating that year. 2. Protection from the influenza vaccine declines over time.

Can the flu shot give me influenza?

The inactivated influenza vaccine (flu shot) cannot give you influenza. This vaccine contains killed influenza viruses that cannot cause infection. 

How well do flu shots work? 

The influenza vaccine is the best way to protect against influenza. How well the vaccine works varies from season to season. It depends on how well-matched the influenza vaccine is with the viruses circulating during the season and on the health and age status of the person being vaccinated. When the influenza vaccine is well-matched with the circulating viruses, it prevents influenza in about 60% to 80% of adults and children receiving the vaccine. It is less effective in elderly adults, but studies have shown that the influenza vaccine decreases the incidence of pneumonia, hospital admissions, and death in the elderly population. 

Who is eligible for a free flu shot?

All citizens of British Columbia are eligible for free influenza vaccination (flu shot). 

Who should get the flu shot?

It is recommended that everyone 6 months of age or older get the vaccination. You should speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns or questions about the flu shot. 

What viruses do the 2021/22 influenza vaccines protect against?

A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus, A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus, B/Washington/02/2019-like virus and B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus. The A/Victoria and A/Cambodia strains were not contained in the 2020/21 season vaccines.

Is it important this year to get the flu shot?

Yes! Getting the influenza (flu) vaccine is more important than ever during the 2021/22 flu season, to protect yourself and the people around you from flu, and to help reduce the strain on the healthcare system responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The symptoms of COVID-19 and flu can be similar and make people sick enough that they have to go to the hospital. By getting your flu shot, you can help the health care system keep resources available to help those with COVID-19. Getting a flu shot every year is the best way to protect yourself against flu, and its serious complications. It is also important to make sure you wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and being around sick people. And remember, if you don't feel well, stay home. 

Why should I get a flu shot?

The influenza vaccine (“flu shot”) can not only prevent you from getting ill from influenza but can also help prevent the spread of influenza to those at risk of more serious complications. Getting the flu shot every year is important as it helps build your defence against influenza as the virus changes year to year.

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