Flu (Influenza) Vaccines for Adults
FluLaval ® Tetra (QIV), Fluzone® (QIV), High-Dose Fluzone® (TIV)
*New* High-Dose Flu Vaccine Is Free for Seniors, 65 Years +
It is the preferred vaccine for seniors. It provides better protection against influenza A than the standard vaccine. Influenza A, H3N2 can make seniors very sick.
Young children, seniors, persons with a weak immune system and those with heart, lung and other diseases can get very sick from a flu infection and be hospitalized.
The vaccine is about 50% effective in healthy adults to protect from a flu illness. How well the vaccine works, depends on how well the vaccine strains match what is circulating. The vaccine can provide some cross-protection even when the match is not exact.
People Who Should Not Get the Vaccine
- Have had an allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a previous flu vaccine
- Have had previous Guillain-Barré Syndrome within six weeks of a flu vaccination
Persons with a history of Oculo-Respiratory Syndrome can get the vaccine but should speak with their doctor first. Delay getting the vaccine if you are sick or have a fever.
Side Effects and Risks
Flu vaccines are safe and well-tolerated. Reactions are usually mild. Common side effects include pain, redness and swelling at the injection site, which can be worse with high-dose vaccine. Some people may have a headache, fever, muscle aches and tiredness. Symptoms are usually mild and last only a few days with standard vaccine. High-dose flu vaccine can give side effects that are a bit more and last a bit longer.
In rare cases, serious allergic (anaphylactic) reactions such as trouble breathing, rash, swelling of the face and throat may occur. Allergic reactions can be treated and are usually temporary. The risk of Oculo-Respiratory Syndrome or Guillain-Barré Syndrome after flu vaccination is very low, about one case in a million flu shots.
The virus is spread by droplets when talking, sneezing or coughing. The infection can spread before symptoms appear. Flu viruses can live on surfaces for hours, so touching infected door knobs, shared toys and keyboards can also spread infection.
The risk of getting Guillain-Barré syndrome following flu infection is much higher than flu vaccination.
Talk to your health care provider, visit toronto.ca/health or call our Immunization line 416-392-1250.