Influenza (Flu) Vaccines
2017/2018 influenza vaccines
This year's influenza vaccines will protect against the following influenza viruses:
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
- B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (in quadrivalent vaccines only)
What types of influenza vaccines are available in B.C.?
There are several inactivated influenza vaccines and one live attenuated influenza vaccine available in B.C. Inactivated vaccines are made of killed influenza viruses and are given by needle. The live attenuated vaccine is made from weakened live influenza viruses and is given as a nasal spray, called FluMist.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends FluMist as a safe and effective option for children between the ages of 2-17 years of age. In B.C., FluMist is free to eligible children between the ages of 2-17 years of age (inclusive). NACI does not recommend FluMist over the inactivated vaccines for children in this age group.
Fluzone High-Dose for seniors
Fluzone High-Dose is an inactivated influenza vaccine that is approved for adults 65 years of age and older. Although this vaccine is not provided for free in B.C., it is available for purchase from local pharmacies. NACI does not recommend Fluzone High-Dose for seniors over the other influenza vaccine available for this age group.
Who can get a free seasonal influenza vaccine (flu shot)?
In B.C. people at high risk of serious illness from influenza are eligible for a free influenza vaccine including:
- children 6 months to less than 5 years of age
- pregnant women
- seniors 65 years and older
- residents of any age living in residential care, assisted living or other group facilities
- Aboriginal people
- children and teenagers required to take Aspirin® or ASA for long periods of time due to a medical condition
- children and adults with certain medical conditions, including:
- heart or lung disorders that require regular medical care, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or cystic fibrosis;
- kidney disease, chronic liver disease such as hepatitis, diabetes, cancer, anemia, or weakened immune system
- those with health conditions causing difficulty breathing, swallowing, or a risk of choking on food or fluids, such as people with severe brain damage, spinal cord injury, seizures or neuromuscular disorders; and
- those who are very obese
People able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk of serious illness from influenza including:
- household contacts of people at high risk
- household contacts, caregivers and daycare staff of children under 5 years of age
- doctors, nurses and others working in health care settings who have contact with patients
- visitors to health care facilities and other patient care locations
- people who live or work in confined settings, such as correctional facilities; and
- those who provide care or service to people at high risk in potential outbreak settings such as cruise ships
Other groups also eligible to receive the influenza vaccine for free include:
- people who provide essential community services such as police officers, firefighters and ambulance attendants; and
- farmers and other people who work with live poultry
Where can I get my free influenza vaccine?
- Book an appointment with your family doctor or local pharmacist (pharmacists can immunize those 5 years of age and older)
- Visit one of our drop-in public health influenza clinics. Check the BC Flu Clinic Locator for clinic locations and times
- Book an appointment at one of our public health family flu clinics (for children 6 months to 4 years of age inclusive and their immediate household members)
To book an immunization appointment with public health:
Residents of Fraser East (Mission, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz and Hope), call 604-702-4906.
Residents in any other area of Fraser Health, call 604-476-7087.
Anyone not eligible for a free influenza vaccine can purchase it at their local pharmacy or travel clinic.
Visitors to health care facilities
Visitors are requested to get your influenza vaccine or wear a mask when visiting patients during the influenza season (December - April). By following this policy, you will help to protect your loved ones (the people you are visiting) from getting a potentially serious illness. For more information, read our FAQs.
Looking for general information about influenza?
Visit our Influenza page for information including influenza symptoms.
Spread the word (not the bug)
Getting your influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself. Download posters and share videos to help spread the word.