Find important information about the 2018-2019 influenza vaccine program.

Key messages

  • Health units will begin influenza vaccine distribution starting during the 2nd week of October 2018. Please begin arranging for multiple vaccine pickups, storage and fridge space.
  • Vaccine eligibility and use: similar to direction provided last year, the National Advisory Committee of Immunization (NACI) is no longer recommending preferential use of FluMist® (LAIV) for children 2-17 years. Therefore, either use FluMist® (LAIV) or Fluzone® (QIIV) for this population.
  • Influenza vaccine product and ordering information is enclosed. See Influenza Vaccine Order Form (Appendix 1). 

Vaccine distribution:

Health units will begin influenza vaccine distribution once supplies are available in enough quantities for equitable distribution. This is anticipated to be the 2nd week of October 2018.

Please indicate the number of doses you require on the order form attached. If you are offering an influenza clinic in a location away from your office/store, please order the vaccine from the health unit closest to that flu clinic site. Note that health units receive and distribute vaccines in batches during the influenza season. Therefore, a request for a full season’s supply of vaccine may not be satisfied at the beginning of the season as demand from community vaccine providers often outpaces supplies received.

  • FluMist® and Influvac® come in prefilled syringes which can take up to 9-12 times more space than multi-dose vials.  As such, you will need to pick up vaccines more than once this season and you will require additional coolers and fridge space for vaccine transport and storage.  Fluviral and Fluzone QIIV are supplied in multi-dose vials.

You must bring an appropriate cooler, ice pack and packing material (paper/bubble wrap) for vaccine transport.

Information for pharmacies:

  • Pharmacare will not be funding pharmacist administration of publicly funded FluMist® vaccine for the 2018-2019 season. Pharmacists may request FluMist® on a case by case basis but will not be reimbursed and will not be able to charge eligible clients for its administration.

Vaccine storage:

See the BCCDC Guidelines for community vaccine management.

  • All vaccines should be stored between 2 to 8 degrees Celsius
  • Fluviral has a shelf-life of 28 days once opened
  • Fluzone QIIV can be used up to the expiry date indicated on the vial label once opened

Vaccine eligibility and use: 

Eligibility criteria for publicly funded influenza vaccine remains the same as last year:

  • People at high risk of serious illness from influenza
  • People able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk of serious illness from influenza
  • Visitors to acute care or long-term care facilities

Find more information and the full eligibility list.

The 2018/19 Influenza vaccination program consists of four products: 

The 2018/19 Influenza vaccination program consists of four products: 

  1. Fluviral® (GSK)Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine
  2. Influvac® (Mylan)Trivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine
  3. Fluzone® (Sanofi) Quadrivalent Inactivated Influenza Vaccine (QIIV)
  4. Flumist® (AstraZeneca) Quadrivalent Live Attenuated Influenza Vaccine (LAIV)

The 2018/19 Influenza vaccines contain the following strains:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus;
  • A/Singapore /INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2)-like virus**;
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like virus**;
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (in quadrivalent vaccines only).

** The A/Singapore and B/Colorado strains were not contained in the 2017/18 season vaccine.

2018/19 Influenza Vaccine Intended Use

Age group 



 6 - 23 months

 Fluzone® Quadrivalent 

  • For children 6-23 months of age, Fluzone®QIIV is the recommended product. 

  • If Fluzone® QIIV is unavailable, Fluviral® can be used. 

 2 - 17 years 

Flumist® Quadrivalent 
Fluzone® Quadrivalent 


  • For children 2-17 years of age, either Flumist® or Fluzone® QIIV can be used.

  • If Fluzone® QIIV or FluMist is unavailable, Fluviral® or Influvac® can be used (Note that Influvac® is approved for those 3 years of age and older)


18 years of age
and older*




  • Influvac® may be used for individuals with a known hypersensitivity to thimerosal or for pregnant women who request a thimerosal-free product. 

* * In the event of a surplus of Fluzone® Quadrivalent in the provider’s inventory beyond that required for those under 18 years old, this vaccine may be provided to those 18 years of age and older (including to those 65 years of age and older).

Note that ‘Fluzone High- Dose’ for seniors is not publicly funded in British Columbia. The BCCDC has produced a Q&A document for health care providers. 

Find additional information on the influenza vaccine.


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