Ontario Giving Parents More Choice with Free Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

FLU Vaccine Nasal Mist

Ontario is now offering parents more choice in helping to protect their children and youth against the flu with a free nasal spray flu vaccine.

Starting on October 26, nasal spray flu vaccine will be available for children and youth aged two to 17 as an alternative to an injection in the arm.

The nasal spray flu vaccine will help offer broader protection against four flu viruses instead of three. The added protection comes against an additional B-strain of the flu virus, which affects children and youth more frequently than adults.

Parents still have the option to vaccinate their children using an injection. The new injection for children and youth aged six months to 17 years will also protect against the same four flu viruses as the new nasal spray.

Dr. Eric Hoskins
Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care

“This year, parents will have new options when they get their child vaccinated against the flu. The flu nasal spray is a good option for children who don’t like getting needles, and it provides broader protection by protecting against four strains of the flu. We want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for parents to protect their kids, and all Ontarians, by getting their kids vaccinated against the flu.”

The flu vaccine for adults will remain available in an injectable form, with protection against the three flu viruses most likely to circulate during the flu season.

Preventing the flu through immunization is part of the government’s plan to improve the health of Ontarians through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which provides patients with faster access to the right care; better home and community care; the information they need to live healthy; and a health care system that is sustainable for generations to come.

“Quadrivalent influenza vaccines aim to give broader protection against potentially circulating flu viruses by protecting against a second B-strain virus, which evidence shows is more likely to affect children and youth. Since it can take up to two weeks to build immunity, I am urging young people to plan to get the shot or nasal spray as soon as it’s available.” – Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Acting Chief Medical Officer of Health

Quick Facts

  • Flu germs from sneezes can travel up to six feet, and the flu can live on surfaces for up to eight hours.
  • The new nasal spray flu vaccine and new injection flu vaccine, which are made to protect against four flu viruses instead of three, will be available for children and youth aged two to 17 years at health care providers’ offices, local public health units and—for children aged five years and older—participating pharmacies.
  • For kids under five, health care providers’ offices and local public health units will continue to be the places to go for flu vaccines, including for these new products
  • The flu can be serious for children, especially for those under five years of age. School-age children are most likely to spread the flu virus to others because of their close proximity to other children in school or when participating in extra-curricular activities.
  • Ten to 20 per cent of Canadians get sick with the flu every year. It is estimated that 12,200 people are hospitalized and about 3,500 die.

Background Information

Additional Resources