It’s Flu Season: Protect yourself. Protect Others. Get a Flu shot.The arrival of fall means flu season is just around the corner. The flu shot is your best protection against the flu and is available to anyone aged 6 months and older who lives, works, or goes to school in Ontario. 

This year, it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot. With the presence of COVID-19, you can do your part to help reduce the demand on the healthcare system by getting your flu shot. Getting the shot will reduce your chances of getting the flu and having to go to the hospital. Given that the flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, getting the flu shot could also help reduce the demand on COVID-19 assessment centres. The fewer number of people who develop flu symptoms, the fewer who will need to get tested for COVID-19.

Where can I get my flu vaccine?

To get your free flu immunization, book an appointment with:

  • your primary care provider (i.e., doctor, nurse practionner)
  • a local pharmacy (2 years of age and older)
  • a community clinic

6 months- 2 years old:  Primary care provider and community clinics

2 years of age and up: Primary care providers, community clinics and pharmacies

Note:  High-dose flu vaccines (adjuvanted flu vaccines) are recommended for 65 years and over and only available through pharmacies and primary care providers, not at the health unit community clinics. The standard flu vaccine is also acceptable for those 65 and over if you are not able to get a high-dose vaccine. 

How many doses of the flu vaccine do I need?

All individuals 9 years of age and older require one dose of the flu vaccine annually. Children six months to eight years old, who have not received the flu shot previously, require two doses at least four weeks apart.

Children six months to eight years old who have had the flu shot in previous years, require one dose.

What is the flu (influenza):

The flu (influenza) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person from droplets released in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people close by and can be inhaled into the lungs. They can also live on hard surfaces for 24 to 48 hours, infecting those who touch the surface and then touch their nose or mouth.

Symptoms:

  • Typical flu symptoms include the sudden onset of fever, cough and muscle aches. Other common symptoms include headache, chills, loss of appetite, fatigue and sore throat.
  • Children can also get nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Who can get the flu shot?

In Ontario, anyone aged 6 months and older who lives, works, or goes to school in Ontario is eligible to get the flu shot. 

Can I get the flu from the flu shot? 

No. You can’t get the flu from the flu vaccine. The flu shot is made with non-active viruses, so it can’t give you the flu. 

Do I need to get the flu shot every year?

Yes. Everyone who is 6 months and older should get a flu shot each year. 

Can I get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time, or any time before or after other vaccines like the flu shot.

Will the flu shot protect me against COVID-19?

No. However, getting the flu shot will help protect you and those around you from getting the flu. By getting your flu shot, not only are you reducing the chance of spreading infection, you are also helping to reduce the burden of hospitals and the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do I know if I have the flu or COVID-19? 

The best way to know whether you have the flu or COVID-19 is to isolate, and arrange for a COVID-19 test. 

What are the side effects of the flu shot?  

The most common side effects are mild and can include soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, fatigue, headache, loss of appetite and muscle aches may also occur. If they do, they usually begin 6 to 12 hours after getting your flu shot, and last one to two days.

How long does it take for the flu shot to take effect?

It takes about two weeks to develop protection. 

Who can get the flu shot?

In Ontario, anyone aged 6 months and older who lives, works, or goes to school in Ontario is eligible to get the flu shot.

Do I have to pay for my flu shot?

No, the flu shot is available free of charge to individuals who live, work or attend school in Ontario.

How long does it take to recover from the flu?

Most people recover from the flu within 1 week to 10 days (National Advisory Committee on Immunization), however the very young, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions could develop serious life threatening complications. Sometimes the cough and fatigue can go on for several weeks, making the return to full activity difficult.

How can I prevent myself from getting the flu? 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Stay home if you are experiencing symptoms
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve
  • Clean high-touch surfaces regularly with disinfectant
  • Get your flu shot each year

 

For more information visit WWW.IMMUNIZE.CA

You and the Flu

Have you ever wondered how the flu vaccine is made - Click here .

Health Care Provider Q&A

2021/2022 Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP) 

Information for individuals 6 months to 64 years of age

Information for individuals 65+ years of age

 

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