Influenza Vaccine

Each year, the World Health Organization recommends an influenza vaccine that includes three strains of influenza virus (two of type A and one of type B) based on the strains that were circulating worldwide during the previous flu seasons in the Southern and Northern Hemispheres. The vaccine is then produced for the next flu season.

Because influenza is a serious disease that results in both excess mortality and serious economic losses, many countries provide routine annual vaccination against influenza.  The vaccine is recommended especially for elderly persons and persons with underlying chronic illness.

Due to cost and limited production globally, however, the vaccine is generally not available in developing countries.

If travelling to the Southern or Northern hemisphere during that area's winter season when flu viruses are actively circulating, travellers should obtain this vaccine before they depart if possible.

What are the side effects?

The flu vaccine is usually well tolerated and serious problems are rare.  Mild side effects may include soreness, redness or swelling where the injection was given, mild fever, sore throat, muscle aches, headache, itching and fatigue.

People who are allergic to eggs or egg products should not take this vaccine because they may have a severe allergic reaction.

What is the dosage schedule?

The flu vaccine is administered in one dose and must be repeated yearly since the vaccine changes to adjust to changes in the viruses.