Seasonal Influenza

Find out where residents can get the flu vaccine in Niagara. Learn about immunization delivery during COVID-19.

Don't Take the Risk this Season

Influenza vaccination is expected to be particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic, benefiting individuals, the larger community and the overall health system. Make a strong recommendation for your patients to get the flu shot.

Universal Influenza Immunization Program

Each year, the Ministry of Health provides publicly funded influenza vaccine through the Universal Influenza Immunization Program.

Public Health supports Niagara's health care professionals in implementing this program by providing:

  • A pre-determined, equitable, initial allotment of influenza vaccine for vulnerable and high-risk groups. The exception is agencies and workplaces, who receive influenza vaccine based on ordering.
  • Additional vaccine for subsequent orders based on availability
  • Information regarding the influenza vaccine products, supply and distribution
  • Details on local flu activity and surveillance
  • Posters

Groups Requiring Immunization

An influenza vaccination should be offered to all patients who are six months of age and older this fall, unless contraindicated.

The initial allotment of influenza vaccine should be used for vulnerable and high-risk groups, including:

  • Health care workers
  • Essential workers
  • Individuals at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • Those at high risk for influenza complications

Groups considered to be high-risk are residents of long-term care and retirement homes, other chronic care and congregate facilities, and those 65 years of age and older.

Immunization of the general population commences when the Ministry of Health does the official launch of the 2020-2021 Universal Influenza Immunization Program.

Influenza Vaccines for 2020-2021

  • Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine (QIV) for clients six months of age and older (pre-filled syringe or multi-dose vial)
  • High-Dose Trivalent Inactivated Vaccine (High-Dose TIV) for clients 65 years of age and older, if applicable to your practice (pre-filled syringe)

FluMist won't be available as part of the publicly funded program for the 2020-2021 influenza season.

Vaccine orders may include both multi-dose vials and pre-filled syringes. Make the necessary room in your vaccine fridge to accommodate the packaging. Pre-filled syringes will require the addition of a 1-inch to 1.5-inch safety-engineered needle tip.

In anticipation of a cold chain inspection before receiving influenza vaccine, review how to monitor the vaccine fridge temperature and how to handle a cold chain excursion.

Ordering the Influenza Vaccine

Primary Care

As a primary care provider, your initial allotment of the publicly funded influenza vaccine is based on the products and quantities that Public Health receives. We aim for an equitable distribution to all health care providers interested in participating in the Universal Influenza Immunization Program.

The distribution of influenza vaccine doses is expected to begin in late September to Public Health Units and continue across the province in October when additional doses are received from manufacturers. Public Health will send you a letter detailing 2020-2021 influenza information including the specifics about your initial allotment of influenza vaccine.

After you receive your initial allotment in October, you will be able to order more flu vaccine from Public Health using the Seasonal Influenza Vaccine order form.

Public Health is unable to take your unused influenza vaccine back to use or redistribute. To help ensure less waste, only order influenza vaccine in amounts that you're certain your office can use. You can order more vaccine as required.

Pharmacies

Pharmacies have a different distributor for the influenza vaccine (not Public Health).

Pharmacies that have successfully completed the prequalification process need to refer to the Universal Influenza Immunization Program or contact the Ministry of Health for information related to vaccine ordering, return, reporting and reimbursement. The Ministry of Health will notify all approved pharmacies in an email before the launch of the 2020-2021 Universal Influenza Immunization Program in fall 2020.

Prequalified Facilities

The Ministry of Health will notify all approved vaccine providers in an email before the launch of the 2020-2021 Universal Influenza Immunization Program in fall 2020. Facilities that have successfully completed the pre-qualification process can order from Public Health using the Universal Influenza Immunization Program order form.

Influenza Vaccine Delivery during COVID-19

The following measures should be considered regardless of how you offer the influenza vaccine to patients:

  • Give the influenza vaccine to patients and their accompanying person when they are seen for other reasons
  • Use booked appointments to reduce crowding and maintain physical distancing
  • Schedule appointments when well persons are visiting. For example, have immunizations and well patient visits in the mornings and sick patient visits in the afternoon.
  • Use a dedicated entrance / exit to establish one-way traffic flow through the clinic
  • Avoid waiting room use by having patients come directly to the immunization room. Conduct assessment, provide immunization, and allow for the 15-minute post-vaccine wait period in the same room.

If you're considering a satellite, temporary or off-site location to hold a flu clinic, here's a list of resources. Remember that Canadian guidance prevails in the event of any conflict with the following international resources:

Refer to the Guidance for influenza vaccine delivery in the presence of COVID-19 for additional adaptions recommended by National Advisory Committee on Immunization.

Additional Resources

Questions and Answers for Health Care Providers

Recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization and Public Health Ontario

For more information, call the Vaccine Preventable Disease program at 905-688-8248 or 1-888-505-6074 ext. 7396 from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

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