October 1, 2014
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Drug Factsheets

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Vaxigrip

(influenza vaccine)

DIN (Drug Identification Number)

02223929 VAXIGRIP INTRAMUSCULAR SUSPENSION

Feeling under the weather?

Could your symptoms be signs of the flu?

Answer a few quick yes-or-no questions to help get you on the road to diagnosis and recovery!


Do I have the flu?

Results

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  • sudden onset of fever or
  • sudden onset of cough


  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • sore throat
  • body or muscle aches
  • chills
  • headache
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • poor appetite
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea


  • people 65 years old or over
  • children under 5 years old
  • pregnant women
  • people who are obese
  • people living in a long-term care facility or nursing home
  • people with any of the following medical conditions:
    • asthma
    • cancer
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
    • diabetes
    • heart disease
    • kidney disease
    • weakened immune system (e.g., HIV/AIDS)


YES YES      NO NO

It's unlikely that you have the flu.

You may have the flu.

You probably have the flu.

But you do have at least 1 risk factor that puts you at risk of flu complications. If you do experience any flu symptoms, talk to your doctor or visit a walk-in clinic as soon as possible.

And you may also have at least 1 risk factor that put you at risk of flu complications.

Talk to your doctor or visit a walk-in clinic if your symptoms concern you or if they get worse.

Talk to your doctor or visit a walk-in clinic as soon as possible.

Enter your postal code to find a clinic near you:  

Know the flu basics and how you can protect yourself and your family.

NOTE: If your symptoms still concern you, speak to your doctor or go to a walk-in clinic as soon as possible.

Flu complications include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, or worsening of existing chronic conditions

If your doctor prescribes an antiviral medication, start the medication within 48 hours after your symptoms begin. Antivirals, when started within 48 hours after symptoms begin, can help relieve flu symptoms and make the flu less severe.

Home treatment options for the flu include getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, treating symptoms (such as using a pain reliever for body aches and fever), and avoiding contact with others.

Other treatment options for the flu include home treatments like getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, treating symptoms (such as using a pain reliever for body aches and fever), and avoiding contact with others.

Get the facts about the 2 main types of medications used to treat the flu and home treatments you can try.

If you experience any of these severe symptoms, seek medical help right away:

  • shortness of breath, rapid or difficulty breathing
  • chest pain
  • bluish or grey skin colour
  • bloody or coloured mucus/spit
  • severe or continuous vomiting
  • sudden dizziness or confusion
  • high fever that's lasted more than 3 days
  • low blood pressure
  • stiff neck, sensitivity to light

Other resources about flu:


How does Vaxigrip 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 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.

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 23 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 essential community services
  • people who provide services within relatively closed settings to persons at high risk (e.g., crew on a ship)

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.

How should I use Vaxigrip?

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 form 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 Vaxigrip come in?

Each dose of 0.5 mL contains 3 strains of influenza virus. Nonmedicinal ingredients: formaldehyde, neomycin, isotonic sodium chloride solution, sodium phosphate-buffered, thimersol, sucrose, and Triton® X-100.

Who should NOT take Vaxigrip?

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 (for a complete list of ingredients and trace products, see "What forms does this medication come in?"
  • has an active neurological disorder
  • has an acute illness (except for minor illnesses)

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