Injectable flu vaccine must be administered once every fall. Those aged 6 months and older can receive the injectable vaccine unless contraindicated.
The flu vaccine does not protect against the common cold and respiratory infections caused by other viruses.
The quadrivalent injectable vaccine, which contains 4 different strains of the flu virus, is recommended for people aged 6 months and over with chronic illnesses. For a child younger than 9 years, 2 doses of the vaccine, given 1 month apart, are required when it is a first vaccination against the flu.
For the 2019-2020 season, the vaccine offered through the Québec Flu Vaccination Program contains the following strains:
- A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)
- A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)
For the 2019-2020 season, only the injectable flu vaccine will be offered in Québec. Due to supply difficulties, the intranasal vaccine will not be available for the 2019-2020 season.
Symptoms after vaccination
Some symptoms may be caused by the vaccine, such as redness at the injection site. Other problems may occur by chance and are not related to the vaccine, such as cold, gastro or headache.
The injectable flu vaccine is safe. Most reactions are harmless and do not last long.
|Frequency||Possible reactions to vaccine|
In most cases
Extremely rare reactions
Extremely rare reactions may occur after a flu vaccine.
The Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is one such reaction. This syndrome causes progressive paralysis, meaning that one or more parts of the body go numb until you are no longer able to move. This paralysis eventually disappears, but it can sometimes leave permanent effects. The cause of GBS is unknown. In most cases, GBS occurs following infection of the intestines or lungs. It mostly affects young adults and people aged 60 years and older.
The risk of having Guillain-Barré syndrome after receiving a flu vaccine, if such risk exists, is extremely low. In fact, there is less of a chance of developing GBS after flu vaccination than after contracting an infection such as the flu.
Serious allergic reactions are also extremely rare.
What to do after vaccination
Tips to follow immediately following vaccination
Wait 15 minutes before leaving premises where vaccine is received. If an allergic reaction occurs, the symptoms will appear a few minutes after the vaccination.
If you feel side effects, immediately inform the person giving the vaccine. That person will be able to treat you immediately.
Tips to follow at home
If you experience redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, apply a cold, damp compress on it.
Use medication for fever or discomfort if needed.
When to seek medical help
See a doctor if one of the following applies to you:
- You experience serious and unusual symptoms
- Your symptoms get worse instead of improving
- Your symptoms last over 48 hours
Last update: August 6, 2019