Getting a flu shot can help to prevent lung infections and pneumonia. During flu season, usually from November to January, patients will be offered a flu shot upon discharge from the hospital. Talk to a member of the Patient Care Team for more information.
For the protection of our patients and visitors, free flu shot clinics are provided for staff and volunteers of the hospital.
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m healthy. Do I really need a flu shot?
Healthy people are not immune to severe flu. Some people have only mild symptoms, and you can spread the flu even before you show any symptoms. The only way to prevent transmission to others when you have no symptoms is the flu shot. Children and older persons are at higher risk of complications and hospitalization from the flu. If you get a flu shot, you also protect your family.
I heard the flu shot does not work. Is this true?
No, in healthy adults the flu shot is 70-90% effective in preventing the flu.
Is the flu shot safe for pregnant women and their babies? What if I’m breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed my baby?
Healthy pregnant women are at greater risk of flu-related complications and hospitalization than women who are not pregnant. The flu shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is highly recommended for these groups.
Infants born during flu season to mothers who got a flu shot are protected against the flu. Antibodies against the flu are transferred across the placenta, or through breast milk. Infants less than 6 months of age cannot get the flu shot.
Who should not get the seasonal flu shot?
People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a flu shot in the past, and those with a documented severe allergy to eggs or any other component of the vaccine should not get a flu shot. If you have a fever, you can still get the flu shot as long as you are feeling well.
I heard that there is a preservative called thimerosal in the flu shot. Is it dangerous?
No. Harmful effects have not been reported from Thimerosal.
Can I get the flu from the shot?
No. The flu shot does not contain living virus. You cannot get flu from the shot.
What are the side effects of the flu shot?
The flu shot can cause your arm to be sore for up to 2 days. Some people will feel unwell and develop a fever and muscle aches after getting the shot. Taking Tylenol when you get the shot can help reduce these side effects.
Less common side effects include allergic reactions, red eyes and breathing symptoms. There is no conclusive proof that the flu shot is linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome. The shot does not weaken the immune system.
For further information, please see the links below.
Flu Shot Clinics
Information about the Flu
- Pandemic Influenza (Government of Canada)
- Flu Resources – Ottawa Public Health
- Immunize Canada
- Influenza Fact Sheet – World Health Organization
Last updated on: April 5th, 2018