Vaccine Brands

FluMist®, FluLaval Tetra®, Fluzone® Quadrivalent

Vaccine Benefits

  • It is free in Ontario for children 6 months of age and older.
  • It is safe.
  • It protects children from four strains of the flu virus.
  • The vaccine helps a child’s immune system prevent flu but cannot give the flu. Children can get very sick from a flu infection.
  • The flu virus is always changing so a new flu vaccine is needed each year.
  • Influenza vaccines are about 50% effective to protect from a flu illness.

Choose the Vaccine for Your Child 2 to 17 Years Old

There are two types of vaccines for children 2 to 17 years of age. They are given as a needle or a spray in the nose. Canadian experts advise that either vaccine can be used in children of this age.

Children under 9 years of age, getting the flu vaccine for the first time, will need a second dose at least four weeks after the first dose.

Children 6 months to less than 2 years can only receive the vaccine, given as an injection.

Name of vaccine FluLaval Tetra,® Fluzone®, Quadrivalent
Type of vaccine injection in arm or thigh (babies)
Age 6 months to 17 years
Who cannot get it
  • previous severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a flu vaccine
  • allergy to a vaccine component such as thimerosal
  • previous Guillain-Barré Syndrome within 6 weeks of a flu vaccination
  • persons with a history of Oculorespiratory syndrome can get the vaccine but should speak with their doctor first
Delay vaccination
  • serious acute illness
Common side effects in children
  • pain, redness & swelling at injection site
  • fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness

Name of vaccine FluMist® Quadrivalent
Type of vaccine spray in nose
Age 2 to 17 years
Who cannot get it
  • a weak immune system
  • severe asthma or wheezing in last 7 days
  • takes medicine with aspirin in it
  • took influenza medicine (antiviral drugs) in the last 48 hours
  • previous severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to a flu vaccine
  • allergy to gentamicin, gelatin or arginine
  • previous Guillain-Barré Syndrome within 6 weeks of a flu vaccination
  • persons with a history of Oculorespiratory syndrome can get the vaccine but should speak with their doctor first
Delay vaccination
  • serious acute illness or very stuffy nose
  • if visiting someone with a severe immune condition (e.g. following a bone marrow transplant) within 2 weeks
Common side effects in children
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • cough, sore throat, wheezing
  • fever, headache, poor appetite, weakness

Vaccine Side Effects and Risks

  • Flu vaccines are safe and well-tolerated.
  • Symptoms are usually mild and last only a few days.
  • Severe side effects are very rare.
    • They may include allergic reactions such as rash, trouble breathing, swelling of the face and throat.
    • Oculorespiratory syndrome may occur, causing red eyes, swelling of the face, coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing.
    • The risk of getting Guillain-Barré syndrome following flu vaccination is very low about one in a million flu shots

Talk to your healthcare provider if your child has a concerning reaction to the flu vaccine.

Influenza Illness

  • Influenza is a virus.
  • The infection spreads by droplets when talking, sneezing or coughing.
  • Kids and adults can spread the infection before they have any symptoms.
  • Young children, seniors and those with a weak immune system have higher chances of getting very sick.
  • Influenza can worsen medical conditions such as heart disease or lung disease. It can cause pneumonia and blood infections.
  • The risk of getting Guillain-Barré syndrome following flu infection is much higher than following vaccination.
  • Getting the flu vaccine is the best way to prevent influenza infection. It takes two weeks for protection to develop.
  • Flu viruses can live on surfaces for hours.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rubs.
    • Avoid touching your face.

More Information

  • Flu vaccine for adults
  • Talk to your healthcare provider
  • Call our Immunization Line at 416-392-1250
  • This information on this page and vaccine consent forms are available in some languages. Email us at immunization@toronto.ca