Get the information you need about influenza (flu) vaccines.

This year, influenza vaccination is free for everyone in B.C. six months and older.

The most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza is by getting the influenza vaccine, staying home when sick, and washing your hands regularly.

2021/2022 Influenza Vaccines Available

The strain components for the 2021/2022 Northern Hemisphere influenza vaccines are:

  • A/Victoria/2570/2019 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Cambodia/e0826360/2020 (H3N2)-like virus
  • B/Washington/02/2019-like virus
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus
  • What types of influenza vaccines are available?

    For the 2021/22 Influenza season, there are four inactivated influenza vaccines and one live attenuated vaccine available. Inactivated vaccines are made of killed influenza viruses and are given by needle. 

    Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent is an inactivated influenza vaccine that is provided for free in B.C. this year for those 65 years of age and older living in Long Term Care and Assisted Living facilities and First Nations Communities. It is available for private purchase at some pharmacies and travel medicine clinics.

    Children 2-17 years of age who are eligible for an influenza (flu) vaccine can receive FluMist® Quadrivalent by nasal spray.

    The nasal spray vaccine will be available at health units, some pharmacies and some doctors' offices. Pharmacists will be able to give the nasal spray flu vaccine to children two years of age and older. The Influenza (Flu) Clinic locator will list if a nasal spray vaccine is available at that clinic. Call ahead to confirm. The nasal spray vaccine is not approved for use in those younger than two years of age and they should receive their influenza vaccine by needle.

    See more information on ImmunizeBC. You can also follow up with your health care provider if you have additional questions about vaccine products.

  • Who can get a free seasonal influenza vaccine?

    This year, influenza vaccination is free for everyone in B.C. six months and older.

    • Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get a yearly influenza vaccination with rare exception. 
    • Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of serious illness from influenza (such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people with certain medical conditions) and those able to transmit or spread influenza to those at high risk. 
    • You can find information about the inactivated influenza vaccine in the HealthLinkBC File: Inactivated Influenza (Flu) Vaccine.
    • The vaccine is usually given as one dose. Children under nine years of age who have never had a seasonal influenza vaccine need two doses. The second dose of vaccine is important to raise their level of protection and should be given four weeks after the first dose.
  • Where can I get my free influenza vaccine?

    You can book your free flu shot in any of the following ways:

    1. Check the BC Flu Clinic Locator for clinic locations and times.  
    2. Call your family doctor to see if they have flu shots available.
    3. Call your local pharmacist to see if they have flu shots available. Pharmacists can administer flu shots to anyone aged five and above and can administer Flumist nasal spray vaccine to eligible children age two and above.
  • Why is it important for me to get my flu shot?

    As COVID-19 restrictions ease, we can expect a return of influenza circulation in the community. Influenza – or the flu – spreads very easily, and can cause serious complications or death in vulnerable people, including young children and hospital patients or long-term care residents. You can spread influenza for 24 hours before you have any symptoms, so you can pass influenza on to your family and friends before you even know you are sick.

    The most effective way to prevent the spread of influenza is by getting the influenza vaccine, staying home when sick, and washing your hands regularly. 

     
  • When do I need to be vaccinated?

    For best protection and to stop the spread of flu, get the influenza vaccine each year, ideally in the late fall. By doing this, you’re protecting yourself and your loved ones from influenza each season.

    The influenza season is generally from November to April, so if you are visiting loved ones in hospital or in long-term care during that time period, you should consider getting vaccinated.

     

Visitors to health care facilities

Visitors are requested to get their influenza vaccine when visiting patients during the influenza season (November to April). By following this policy, you will help to protect your loved ones you are visiting from getting a potentially serious illness.