Why is it important?
Vaccinations cause antibodies to develop in your body to protect you against infection if you happen to be exposed to the influenza virus (the flu). The flu can affect people differently, but patients with cancer may be at an increased risk of having complications from an infection. While some people who get the vaccine might still get sick from the flu, the vaccine can reduce the chances of severe symptoms and being admitted to the hospital for treatment.
Why do you need a flu vaccine every year?
Your protection or immunity from the vaccine declines over time, so an annual shot is needed to keep you safe. Also, the influenza viruses are smart and constantly changing! The flu vaccine is updated each year to protect you from the virus strains that are likely to be the most common during this year’s flu season.
What about my family?
We know many cancer treatments can lead to a weakened immune system and increase the risk of infections. That is why it is also important for family members and caregivers of people with cancer to receive the annual flu shot to protect people with cancer from becoming sick.
When can I get the vaccine?
Certain cancer treatments may influence when the safest time is for you to receive vaccines. If you are a person with cancer in Ottawa, feel free to call Extend Pharmacy to speak with a specialized oncology pharmacist who can help you to determine the best time for your flu and other vaccines during your treatment!