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Drug Info > F > Fluviral
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DIN (Drug Identification Number)


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Common Name
influenza vaccine

In this drug factsheet:

DIN (Drug Identification Number)


How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

This medication belongs to a group of medications known as vaccines. It is used to prevent influenza (the flu). Influenza is a common viral illness caused by 2 types of virus: influenza A and influenza B.

Each year, different strains (new, slightly different versions of the virus) appear. Scientists predict which strains will be most likely for the coming year, and then these strains are used to make up the year's influenza vaccine. Each year's influenza vaccine contains 3 to 4 virus strains that are likely to circulate in Canada in the coming winter. The vaccine only provides protection against the strains of flu virus used to prepare the vaccine.

It usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for the protection against these viruses to be effective, and the protection lasts for 6 to 12 months. Annual vaccination is necessary to make sure you are covered for the new virus strains that are expected each year.

The vaccine increases a person's defenses against the influenza virus. It works by introducing very small amounts of viral components (parts) into the body. These components are enough to stimulate the production of antibodies (cells designed to attack that particular virus), which will remain in the body ready to attack that same virus in the future. The vaccine is used to prevent influenza for people over 6 months of age who want to reduce their chances of getting the flu.

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends annual vaccination for:

  • any healthy person wanting protection from influenza
  • children aged 6 months to 18 years who are being treated with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) for long periods of time
  • health care workers
  • healthy children aged 6 to 59 months
  • healthy pregnant women
  • household contacts (including children) of people at high risk who cannot be vaccinated or who may not respond to vaccination
  • people at high risk of complications of influenza that are travelling to areas where influenza is likely circulating
  • people over 65 years of age
  • people who have HIV
  • people with certain chronic health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, cystic fibrosis, anemia, or kidney disease
  • residents of nursing homes or chronic care facilities
  • people who provide regular care to children ages 0 to 23 months
  • people who provide essential community services
  • people who provide services within relatively closed settings to persons at high risk (e.g., crew on a ship)
  • people in direct contact with poultry infected with avian influenza, during culling operations

Your doctor may have suggested this vaccine for conditions other than the ones listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are receiving this vaccine, speak to your doctor.

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How should I use this medication?

The influenza vaccine is given once a year, usually in October or November, as an injection into a muscle (usually on the upper arm). It is given by a health care professional.

It is important this medication be given exactly as recommended by your doctor. If you miss an appointment to receive the influenza vaccine, contact your doctor as soon as possible to reschedule your appointment.

This medication is stored in the fridge and should be kept out of the reach of children. It should be protected from light and not allowed to freeze.

Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each 0.5 mL dose of whitish, slightly opalescent suspension liquid contains 3 strains of influenza virus. Nonmedicinal ingredients: phosphate buffered saline (composed of: sodium chloride, potassium chloride, sodium phosphate dibasic heptahydrate, potassium phosphate monobasic, and water for injection), thimerosal (as a preservative), and small amounts of egg proteins, formaldehyde, sodium deoxycholate, and sucrose.

Who should NOT take this medication?

The influenza vaccine should not be used by anyone who:

  • is allergic to any of the ingredients of this medication or any trace products found in this medication
  • has an active neurological disorder
  • has an acute illness (except for minor illnesses)



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