The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) (external link), which advises the Public Health Agency of Canada, recommends the flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. It is especially recommended for persons:
- at high risk for complications of flu;
- who might spread influenza to high-risk people; and
- who provide essential community services.
Individuals who should not get the flu vaccine include anyone who:
- has had severe allergic reaction to a past influenza vaccine such as:
- throat and/or tongue swelling
- difficulty breathing or shock
- has a severe allergy to any part of the vaccine except egg;
- has a new or worsening illness, with or without fever (however, if you have a cold or other minor illness, you can still be immunized);
- has had Guillain-Barré Syndrome within 6 weeks of a past influenza vaccine;
- has had Oculorespiratory syndrome with lower respiratory symptoms;
- is under 6 months of age.
If you fall into any of the above categories, depending on the situation, you might need to speak with your physician, or return after an appropriate time interval.
A flu vaccine is available for:
- people six months and older, which provides protection against four common strains of flu virus; and
- older adults, age 65 and older, that provides protection against three common strains of flu virus.
Note: Older adults, age 65 and older, are eligible to receive either the regular quadrivalent (4-strain) flu vaccine, which is subject to availability, or the high-dose trivalent (3-strain) flu vaccine.
Talk to your doctor about any questions you have about the flu vaccine.