Who should get the flu shot?

Just about everyone.

Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that influenza vaccine should be offered annually to anyone 6 months of age and older who does not have contraindications to the vaccine, with focus on the groups for whom influenza vaccination is particularly recommended, such as:

Adults 65+

The flu can be very serious for people 65+.

In 2018, adults 65+ accounted for about 17% of Canada’s population. Yet, during the 2013-2018 flu seasons, adults 65+ accounted for up to 70% of influenza-related hospitalizations and up to 91% of influenza-related deaths according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Adults 65 years of age and older are particularly vulnerable to influenza.

That’s why it is important to help protect yourself

Adults and children with chronic conditions

Additional recommendations

NACI also recommends flu vaccination for:

  • Healthy pregnant women
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Those who are residents of nursing homes and other chronic care facilities
  • Those who are capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk
  • Healthcare providers in facilities and community settings
  • Household contacts of persons at high risk of complications including infants < six months of age
  • Providing care for children ≤ 59 months of age
  • Those who provide services within close or relatively close settings to persons at high risk
  • Those who provide essential community services
  • People in direct contact with poultry infected with avian influenza during culling operations

The risks of the flu in different groups

Adults 65+

74% of Canadians 65+ reported having at least ONE chronic condition, many of which may put them at high risk for influenza and its complications.

Adults 50+

Compared with younger adults, people 50+ have medical conditions more frequently linked to complications from the flu.

Nearly 1 in 2 adults 50+ has at least one high-risk medical condition, such as:

· Asthma

· Diabetes

· Obesity

· Heart disease

· Stroke

Adults 40+

In the days after getting the flu, adults 40+ are 10x more likely to have a first heart attack and 8x more likely to have a first stroke.

Getting the flu can:

· Worsen pre-existing chronic conditions

· Put you at risk of secondary microbial infection

· Lead to loss of physical and/or mental function

Influenza may also be a concern for people because of the following:

· Effects on their ability to work

· Their health as they age

Other people with chronic diseases

People with pre-existing chronic illness have an increased risk of influenza-related complications or hospitalization.

Children

Children, especially those younger than five years of age, are at high risk for developing complications from the flu.

Although most people can get vaccinated against the flu, there are certain people who should not.

People Who Can’t Get The Flu Shot:

There are people who shouldn’t get the flu shot. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if the flu shot is recommended for you.

Your healthcare provider can help you decide whether you should get a flu shot and which one might be right for you.

Related articles