Influenza (sometimes referred to as the flu) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs caused by a virus. It spreads through the air or by touching objects that have been coughed or sneezed on by someone with the virus.
Most people who get sick with influenza recover, but it can require hospitalization or even cause death. That's why we encourage all Albertans 6 months and older to get an influenza immunization (vaccine) each year.
The influenza vaccine is available free of charge. It is especially important for seniors, pregnant women, Indigenous people and people with chronic health conditions as they have a higher risk of severe complications.
Prevent the spread
Actions you can take
There are things you can do to prevent getting sick and to protect others.
- Get your COVID-19 and influenza immunizations
- Stay home when feeling sick;
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, whenever possible;
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
- Cover your coughs and sneezes, then clean your hands;
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items at home, especially when someone is sick;
- Wear a well-fitting mask in crowded indoor spaces to help reduce the risk of becoming sick and to help protect others from being exposed.
Antibiotics do not work against the influenza virus (or any other virus). Antiviral medications may be used for treatment or prevention of influenza.
Influenza vaccination and COVID-19
- The influenza vaccine won’t prevent COVID-19, but it will reduce your chances of getting sick with influenza.
- COVID-19 vaccine may be offered to eligible individuals 6 months of age and older with each influenza vaccine appointment booked. In most cases, a separate COVID-19 vaccine appointment is not needed. We recommend confirming with the provider at the time of your influenza appointment if you can receive both vaccines.
- By keeping influenza counts low we can make sure our health-care system has capacity to respond to treating people with other illnesses and injuries.
Influenza cases in Alberta
See how seasonal influenza is circulating in Alberta. The interactive influenza dashboard provides aggregate data on cases and vaccinations. It is updated weekly on Thursdays.
Influenza facts and stats
Yearly immunization rates
Year | Influenza vaccination rate
- 2022 to 2023 – 28%
- 2021 to 2022 – 27%
- 2020 to 2021 – 37%
- 2019 to 2020 – 33%
- 2018 to 2019 – 31%
- 2017 to 2018 – 29%
- 2016 to 2017 – 27%
- 2015 to 2016 – 27%
- 2014 to 2015 – 30%
- 2013 to 2014 – 27.6%
- 2012 to 2013 – 23%
- 2011 to 2012 – 22.5%
- 2010 to 2011 – 22%
- Alberta has offered universal influenza immunization free of charge since 2009. Before 2009, the program targeted those most at risk of disease and complications.
- For the 2022-23 season:
- the Alberta government purchased 1.9 million doses of influenza vaccine
- In the 2021-22 season:
- the Alberta government purchased 2.1 million doses of influenza vaccine
- 27% of Albertans (roughly 1.2 million people) received the influenza vaccine
- there were 2,906 lab-confirmed influenza cases, 523 hospitalizations and 14 deaths (in hospital) among people with lab-confirmed influenza
- Learn more about influenza
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