Fall is here and that means flu season is back! Many parents have questions about the Influenza vaccine. Here is some information about the vaccines that are available and who might benefit the most from them.
WHAT is the flu (influenza)?
- Influenza is a virus that can spread easily, even before you show symptoms
- Symptoms might include fever, headache, muscle pain, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, cough
- Each year in BC, hundreds of people die from influenza or complications from the virus such as pneumonia.
WHAT is the flu vaccine?
- It is a vaccination that protects you and those around you from the flu and its complications.
- It does NOT protect against other viruses like the ones that cause colds.
- You CANNOT get the flu from the flu vaccine.
WHEN can we get the flu vaccine?
- It is given from October to mid-November
- It provides protection for the flu season which lasts from October to March
WHO should get the flu shot?
- All children over 6 months old should get a flu shot every year
- The flu vaccine is even more important for children who are at higher risk of complications from the flu. This includes children between the ages of 6 months to 5 years old and children who have various chronic medical conditions.
- Those who have children younger than 5 years old or who have children with any of the above health complications should have everyone in the household vaccinated.
- Pregnant women
- Caregivers who care for children less than 5 years of age
WHO should NOT get the flu shot?
- Babies under 6 months. The vaccine is not effective in this age group.
- Some children with egg allergies – talk to your doctor if this is the case. Most of the time, it is safe for these kids to receive the vaccine.
What is FluMist?
- FluMist is also a flu vaccine that is given as a nose spray instead of a shot.
- Healthy children over the age of 2 years can get it.
- It is made from weakened influenza viruses.
- It is the preferred vaccine for children ages 2 to 8 because it provides better protection to young kids over the flu shot.
Do I need to pay for the Flu Vaccine?
- New this year, FluMist is free for eligible children ages 2 to 17! Find out if you are eligible to receive a free flu vaccine here.
- If you are not eligible, you may purchase the flu vaccine at some pharmacies and travel clinics.
WHERE can I get the flu vaccine?
- Public health clinics, doctor’s offices, and so
me pharmacies can provide the vaccines.
- Find the closest flu vaccine clinic here or call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.