Flu Shots

Anyone can catch the flu. Protect yourself – and others – by learning about the virus and recognizing the symptoms. The flu (influenza) is a contagious virus that anyone can get. But there are several things you can do to avoid catching it, or spreading it to others.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that everyone six months of age or older who does not have contraindications to the flu vaccine get one each year. A flu shot is especially important for people who are at high risk for other health problems from the flu, people capable of transmitting flu to those at high risk, people who provide essential community services, and poultry industry workers.

High risk individuals include: 
  • People above the age of 65 years of age
  • All pregnant individuals
  • All children 6 months to 4 years of age
  • Individuals from First Nation, Inuit, or Metis community, and/or who self-identify as First Nation, Inuit or Metis, and their household members. 
  • Individuals 6 months of age and older with the following underlying health conditions: 
    • Cardiac or pulmonary disorders
    • Diabetes mellitus or other metabolic disease
    • Cancer
    • Conditions or medication which compromise the Immune System
    • Renal disease
    • Anemia or hemoglobinopathy
    • Neurologic or Neurodevelopmental conditions
    • Morbid obesity (body mass index of >40)
    • Children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years) undergoing treatment with acetylsalicylic acid for long periods 
  • Health care workers and first responders

    If you think that you might have the flu you should stay home and self-isolate. You do not need to provide your OHIP number and all information is confidential. 

    To get your flu shot at one of our pharmacies:

    Some of the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to the flu, and it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. You may need a COVID-19 test to help confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis.

    The flu shot is your best defence

    Don’t take any unnecessary risks with your health. Get the flu shot and get it early. The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months old and older. It is:

    • safe (including for kids and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding)
    • free
    • available at all DrugSmart Pharmacy locations
    • proven to reduce the number of doctor visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to the flu
    • different each year because the virus changes frequently – so you need to get it every fall

    Flu season typically runs from late fall to early spring. You should get a flu shot as soon as possible because it takes two weeks to take effect.

    Where to get the flu vaccine by age

    6 months up to 2 years old

    Children six months to two years old can get their flu shot from a doctor, nurse practitioner or local public health unit. Children under two years old cannot get a flu shot at a pharmacy.

    2 to 64 years old

    Children as young as two years of age can now get their flu shot at DrugSmart Pharmacy.

    65 and older

    For the 2020/2021 season, if you're 65 and older, there are two different flu shots available – standard dose and high-dose.

    The standard-dose vaccine protects against four strains of flu virus. The high-dose vaccine, (also called "Fluzone® HighDose") protects against three strains of flu virus, but in higher doses. To get either the standard dose or the high dose:

        In addition to getting my flu shot, how else can I avoid getting – and spreading – the flu?

        • Wash your hands often. Even after getting the flu shot, washing with soap and water for at least 15 seconds helps keep the virus from spreading. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer (gel or wipes) with at least 60% alcohol.
        • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue and throw it out rather than putting it in your pocket, on a desk or table. If you don't have a tissue, cough into your upper sleeve.
        • Don't touch your face. The flu virus spreads when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk and droplets enter your body through your eyes, nose or mouth.
        • Stay at home when you're sick. Viruses spread more easily in group settings, such as businesses, schools and nursing homes.
        • Clean (and disinfect) surfaces and shared items. Viruses can live for 24 to 48 hours on hard surfaces such as countertops, door handles, computer keyboards and phones.
        Click here to learn more facts about the flu.

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