Take Your (Flu) Shot

A registered nurse at the University Health Centre on the importance of the flu vaccine and how the U of A community can get their shots this year.

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Though COVID-19 is the virus on everyone's mind, we cannot overlook the importance of staying protected against the influenza virus. Getting the flu vaccine keeps you healthy, prevents you from getting secondary infections, and prevents you from needing to go to the hospital with a serious infection. Tamara Hutchings, a registered nurse at the University Health Centre, shares some advice about the importance of the flu vaccine and how the U of A community can get their shots this year. Flu shots are not mandatory on campus, but are recommended to keep yourself healthy and protect our healthcare system.

Any time you are sick it's important to stay home for the health and safety of others. COVID-19 and the flu can have similar symptoms, so this year it's important to address symptoms as if they might be COVID-19.

Why is it important to get an influenza immunization (flu vaccine) annually?

There are different strains of influenza viruses and they're constantly changing. Every year, the World Health Organization looks at what strains have been circulating in the southern hemisphere during their flu season, and then they make an educated guess about which strains will affect the northern hemisphere. Because of this, the flu vaccine changes every year. Your body makes antibodies specific to different viral strains, and the strains that you were vaccinated against in a previous year may not be what is circulating this year. On top of that, flu vaccines offer no immune memory, and the antibodies that your body makes only have a lifespan of six-to-twelve months. Getting a flu vaccine once does not offer ongoing protection

Is the flu vaccine important even if you have been fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine?

Your body makes antibodies specific to different viruses. If you get the flu vaccine, you have no protection against the COVID-19 virus because it's specific to those four strains that are in the flu virus vaccine. Subsequently, the COVID-19 vaccines do not protect you against any viruses other than the COVID-19 virus. 

Do you need to wait any time between getting the flu vaccine and other vaccines?

No! When COVID-19 vaccines first came out experts were advising to wait between receiving different vaccines, but now studies have shown that there is no need to wait. You can get a flu shot and your COVID-19 shot on the same day at the same time. 

Why is it important to stay home when you are sick?

Any time you are sick, whether it's with the flu, COVID-19, or something else, it's important to stay home for the health and safety of others. COVID-19 and the flu can have similar symptoms, so this year it's important to address symptoms as if they might be COVID-19—including getting tested. If you have any symptoms or are not feeling well, you must stay home and not come to campus.

How can someone get a flu vaccine on campus at the U of A this year?

Starting October 18, the University Health Center will have a dedicated team administering flu shots every weekday from 8:30 am - 4:20 pm by appointment only. After November 5, the UHC will offer flu shots by walk-in only. Flu shots are also available at the UHC Pharmacy by appointment and by walk-in on a first-come, first-serve basis. Augustana is hosting an on-campus flu vaccination clinic on November 4 from 12:30 - 3:00 pm in the Faith and Life Lounge.


Influenza immunization is available at the University Health Centre at no charge to Albertans five years of age and older with a valid Alberta Health Care number. If you have out-of-province or out-of-country health insurance you can request a vaccine appointment by calling 811. Visit the influenza season website to learn more about the virus, vaccine, and University Health Centre resources.