Getting your recommended vaccines — including for COVID-19, flu, pneumonia, and RSV — is an important part of safeguarding your health this season.
It’s respiratory infection season, and you have every intention of getting the vaccinations you need to keep you safe. But, between updated COVID-19 vaccines, flu shots, the pneumonia vaccine, and now a brand-new vaccine for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), it’s easy to get overwhelmed about which vaccines are recommended, who they’re recommended for, when they’re available, and where to get them.
The best thing to do is to speak to your family doctor, nurse practitioner, or pharmacist. You can find a helpful tool on the Canadian Lung Association website to bring with you to record which vaccines are recommended for you and when you receive them. If you have lung disease or live with someone who does, it’s especially important to get vaccinated. Underlying conditions can increase the risk of serious illness, hospitalization, or even death from an otherwise preventable respiratory infection.
So what vaccinations do I need?
In general, the flu vaccine is recommended annually for everyone six months old and older. If you’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 at least six months ago and it’s been at least six months since you’ve had COVID-19, it’s important that you get an updated COVID-19 vaccination this fall. This will help protect you against the new strains of the virus. You can get your COVID-19 and flu vaccines during the same visit.
The pneumonia vaccine for adults is typically a one-time vaccine recommended for those 65 years old and older, and for adults of any age who have certain underlying health conditions (including chronic lung disease) and are at increased risk of serious illness. Those who smoke are also considered at higher risk.
In August, Health Canada approved an RSV vaccine for adults 60 years and older. Availability of the vaccine and recommendations for who should receive it may vary by province or territory, so be sure to ask your provider about this one.
To learn more respiratory infection season, visit lung.ca/vaccinations.