Join the Conversation About Influenza

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By getting an influenza vaccine, you are protecting your own health, the health of seniors and other vulnerable people around you, and Alberta’s health system so it can provide care to those who most need it.

Vaccines are a critical way to limit the spread of respiratory illness. They are effective and safe for protecting our health, as well as the health of our families and community members. Our goal is to immunize Albertans as safely and effectively as possible.

We know you have questions and want to ensure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family. Ask a question below.

In addition to getting immunized, the best defense against influenza and COVID-19 viruses is to wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when sick.

By getting an influenza vaccine, you are protecting your own health, the health of seniors and other vulnerable people around you, and Alberta’s health system so it can provide care to those who most need it.

Vaccines are a critical way to limit the spread of respiratory illness. They are effective and safe for protecting our health, as well as the health of our families and community members. Our goal is to immunize Albertans as safely and effectively as possible.

We know you have questions and want to ensure you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family. Ask a question below.

In addition to getting immunized, the best defense against influenza and COVID-19 viruses is to wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home when sick.

Do you have questions about influenza immunization?

Post your question here and an AHS expert will provide accurate and up-to-date information. Answers provided are accurate as of the time of posting.

You can also find answers to commonly asked questions.

Please note: AHS is pleased to answer respectful questions seeking information or clarity about influenza immunization. Repetitive and disrespectful questions will not receive a response.

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    My 1 year old has continously cold and cough can I give her the flu shot? She doesn't have any fever

    Faiza Ladak asked 1 day ago

    Before each immunization, Alberta Health Services uses a Fit to Immunize assessment process to determine whether it is safe to proceed. Generally, if someone is recovering and not feverish or acutely ill, they will be able to receive their immunization.

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    How long after having covid do I have to wait to be immunized

    JodyBRB asked 3 days ago

    Thank you for your question.

    It is recommended to wait eight weeks after a COVID-19 infection before beginning or completing a primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine.

    It is recommended to wait three months after a COVID-19 infection before getting a booster dose.

    As long as you do not have symptoms of an active respiratory infection, you can receive your influenza vaccine. It is recommended for all individuals 6 months of age and older.

    For more information about vaccines please visit: immunizealberta.ca.

    Dr. Kristin Klein, Lead Medical Officer of Health, Communicable Disease Control




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    I am 72 years old and get sick from flu vaccines so I have not gotten one on years. I am very sensitive to medications. I want to try a flu vaccine this year but do not want to get the senior vaccine as it will be too strong for me. What is a better alternative?

    Katen asked 3 days ago

    Thank you for your question.

    The influenza vaccines offered in Alberta contain inactivated virus, meaning that the virus is no longer infectious and it cannot cause the flu. There are, however, side effects from the influenza vaccine that can occur, though they are usually mild and may last a few days. Common side effects from influenza vaccine include sore arm, and redness or swelling around the injection site. Other side effects include headache, fever, muscle aches, joint pain, and feeling tired. 

    Individuals who are 65 years of age and older are at risk for serious complications of the flu, in part because as we age, the immune system becomes weaker. A weakened immune system may prevent a senior from developing a good immune system response to a standard influenza vaccine. As such, Fluzone High Dose Influenza Vaccine is preferentially recommended for persons 65 years of age and older. This particular vaccine contains four times the antigen (i.e., the part that stimulates the immune system) than standard dose influenza vaccine. It is important to note that the Fluzone High Dose Influenza Vaccine may cause side effects to last a few days longer than the standard influenza vaccine.

    If you still have concerns about receiving the Fluzone High Dose Influenza Vaccine, you could request the standard dose influenza vaccine at your flu appointment. 

     Allison Gonsalves, MD, FRCPC

    Medical Officer of Health – South Zone

     

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    A local pharmacist told me that my 9 year old had to get her Flu Shot through AHS. Another pharmacist told me there is now a shortage of the flu shot. It is tough to know what is true when every where I go I get a different message.

    NicoleK asked 1 day ago

    Children under 5 and their families can be vaccinated at an AHS clinic, all other Albertans are encouraged to get immunized at their local pharmacy. You can learn more at ahs.ca/vaccine. We are encouraging all Albertans to get immunized against influenza.

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    Is the nasal spray as effective as the shot ?

    Tim asked 1 day ago

    Nasal spray is not available and has not been purchased for influenza vaccination in Alberta for a number of years. The decision to stop ordering nasal spray vaccine in Alberta was related to a number of factors but effectiveness was not one of those factors. Nasal spray vaccine covers the same influenza strains and would provide a similar level of protection as an injectable vaccine product.

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    As there is a significant issue with influenza A and children under 5 must be vaccinated at an AHS clinic has there been consideration to the following: 1) Allowing children to receive flu vaccine and COVID vaccine at same time? other jurisdictions in North America are doing this. 2) Increase number of clinics where under 5 flu shots are available and/or increasing hours? It is very difficult to get a flu shot booking for children under 5 in Calgary right now.

    jmsteele asked 4 days ago

    The only vaccines that are not currently given at the same time are influenza and COVID-19 for children under 5. This is a precautionary measure to help determine if a potential side effect is due to a COVID-19 vaccine or a different vaccine, due to the relative newness of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, at parent request, AHS will co-administer these vaccines. Please speak to the immunizing nurse at your appointment.

    Regarding your second question, there were many appointments available early in the influenza season as we saw low uptake when the campaign began on October 17. Since that time people learned of the impact influenza is having on kids, and as a result there has been much more demand for vaccine.

     AHS is trying to accommodate as many children as possible. The clinics in Calgary are open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. to allow parents to bring children in for their immunizations after work. AHS has also added appointments as the demand has grown. As an example, clinics were added Saturday and Sunday the past two weekends. We also have large clinics in Okotoks and Cochrane that are not as well attended and would encourage people to see if times at those locations meet their needs. Learn more or make an appointment.

    Dr. Karla Gustafson

    Medical Officer of Health, Calgary Zone

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    I have 2 kids (4 and 5). Can we walk into the Richmond clinic for Covid or flu vaccines or is an appointment required?

    Natasha asked 3 days ago

    Booking an appointment is the most efficient way to get immunized for influenza and COVID-19. However, our clinics will also try to accommodate walk-ins whenever possible. To increase accessibility, many clinics across the province are offering immunizations in evenings and on weekends. Appointment availability can be found at ahs.ca/vaccine or by calling 811.

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    My kids had RSV this week and it’s unlikely that he will get fully recovered before his second flu vaccine (due to next Friday)Should I reschedule the appointment? It’s already late because his last sickness. I don’t want to delay twice. However I am not sure if he can get the shot when his RSV not fully recovered?

    Jing asked 3 days ago

    Before each immunization, Alberta Health Services uses a Fit to Immunize assessment process to determine whether it is safe to proceed. Generally, if someone is recovering and not feverish or acutely ill, they will be able to receive their immunization.

    Dr. Jack Pang

    Medical Officer of Health, North Zone

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    WHERE in Sherwood Park, Alberta can I receive a influenza shot for Age 65+?

    Tom asked 2 days ago

    Thanks for your question and for wanting to get immunized. Whenever possible, we encourage adults to get their influenza immunization at a local pharmacy. You can book online or by calling a local pharmacy to see if they’re booking appointments or taking walk-ins. If you’re unable to find a pharmacy, you can also book your appointment at the Strathcona County Health Centre by visiting the online booking tool or calling Health Link at 811.

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    My parents are here for a visit. Are they okay to have the flu vaccine? They don't have alberta health ID.

    Joyce asked 1 day ago

    Anyone 6 months of age and older who lives, works, goes to school or is visiting Alberta can receive the provincially funded influenza vaccine. Book your vaccine at ahs.ca/vaccine. Those who do not have an Alberta Healthcare Card can call 811 to book an appointment.