Should you get the flu shot?

Sept 22, 2023

It’s just a little flu, so what’s the big fuss? Did you know that the flu is among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada? With so much misinformation around, we’re here to clarify the truth about the flu shot.

Influenza or the “flu” as it is commonly called, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. To protect against and significantly reduce the risk of infection and its associated complications, our team recommends that you get your flu shot (flu vaccine) prior to the start of the flu season.

Why should you get the flu/influenza shot?

Simply put, the flu shot is your best defense against the flu. In fact, it’s recommended that everyone over the age of six months should have this shot annually. Although it is only a preventative measure against flu viruses, the vaccine may reduce the severity of the flu symptoms if contracted, and prevent severe complications such as hospitalization and even death.

Why do you need the flu shot every year?

As flu viruses change over time, the latest shot usually includes the strains of the flu that are expected to circulate for the season. Additionally, as the effectiveness of the flu shot wears off over time, it is recommended to have it annually to be best protected. Typically, the vaccine protects against 3-4 strains of the flu virus each season.

Who is at higher risk of complications from the flu/influenza?

Those at high risk of complications from the flu are people with pre-existing health conditions, those over 65 years, people living in long-term health-care facilities, pregnant women, and children under the age of five.

What are the side effects of the flu shot?

Common side effects include soreness, redness, or swelling at the site of injection; fever, headache, muscle soreness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or chills for one to two days.

How does the flu/influenza vaccine work?

Like most vaccines, the flu vaccine works by introducing a small, weakened, or inactivated form of the influenza virus into the body. This triggers an immune response, and the body produces anti-bodies to protect against the virus. By taking the vaccine, your body builds resistance and immunity to fight off the flu if you do contract it in the future. The vaccine DOES NOT give you the flu!

When is the 2023 flu shot available at Well and Truly RX?

The flu shot is usually available in the third week of October*

*Time can vary depending on availability from the Alberta government

What flu shots are available?

There are two strengths available for the flu shot. A standard dose for those under the age of 65 and a stronger dose for people over 65. As you age, your immune system weakens, therefore it is recommended that people 65+ years get the high dose flu shot to better protect against influenza.

Both dosages protect against the four strains of influenza.

What is the cost of the flu shot?

The influenza vaccine/flu shot is a publicly funded vaccine and has no charge attached to it.

Are you considering getting the flu shot and have some concerns? Book a consultation with one of our pharmacists for personalized advice based on your health status and medical history. To find out when the vaccine is available, check our Well and Truly RX website regularly for updates.

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health-care regimen.

Source: Alberta Health Services, Public Health Canada