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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.

Get vaccinated

The annual vaccine helps protect people from the most common strains of influenza expected to circulate that year. Experts from the World Health Organization review seasonal influenza data and trends from around the world to make these predictions.

Vaccine effectiveness varies from year to year but vaccines are still the best protection from severe illness. The effectiveness of the current vaccine won't be known until the season progresses.

  • Children 6 months to 5 years

    • Children 6 months to 5 years of age can only be vaccinated at:
      • AHS public health clinics
      • participating doctor's offices
      • participating public health clinics
    • To book an appointment:
      • Book online
      • Call 811
      • Call your local doctor's office or clinic

    Parents and household members can be vaccinated at these locations at the same time.

    Read the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s letter to parents and guardians on influenza.

  • Albertans age 5 to 65

    • Albertans 5 years of age or older are encouraged to get their influenza vaccine at a pharmacy. Many accept walk-in appointments.

    Read the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s letter to parents and guardians on influenza.

  • Albertans 65+

    • Albertans 65 years of age or older can get a regular or a high-dose influenza vaccine free of charge:
      • at a local pharmacy or medical clinic if they are mobile
      • by calling Health Link 811 if they need assistance
    • To book an appointment:
      • Book online
      • Call 811
      • Call your local doctor's office or clinic
      • Walk-in to a participating pharmacy

Prevent the spread

  • Actions you can take

    Help prevent seasonal influenza from spreading by:

    • getting the influenza vaccine every year because the virus changes each year
    • washing your hands often
    • staying home when sick
    • cleaning and disinfecting surfaces frequently
    • maintaining good respiratory etiquette (for example, cover your cough, sneeze into a bent elbow, wear a mask if symptomatic) 
    • avoiding or limiting time spent in crowded indoor places
    • minimizing close contact with anyone showing cold-like symptoms

    Wearing a mask can help reduce your risk of becoming sick and help protect others from being exposed. People should be supported regardless of their choice to mask or not.

    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 vaccines, including boosters, may be offered to individuals 5 years 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 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.

View Alberta influenza statistics

Influenza facts and stats

  • Yearly vaccination rates

    Year | Influenza vaccination rate

    • 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%

    Read seasonal influenza summary reports.

  • Influenza facts

    • 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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