Not sure if you should get the flu or pneumococcal vaccinations?

Winter crowds leave Canadians more likely to have direct or indirect exposure to infected respiratory droplets from coughs, sneezes, and contact with contaminated surfaces. More time indoors means increased exposure to the germs that cause influenza and pneumonia, a potentially serious complication of the flu, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Approximately 12,200 Canadians are hospitalized with the flu each year, and 3,500 don’t survive. The risk of pneumococcal disease increases as we age — approximately 40 percent of cases occur in people over the age of 60, cites the Canadian Government. The pneumococcal vaccination uses a weakened version of the pneumococcal bacteria to help your body produce protective antibodies. Vaccination also reduces the risk of death and related complications in hospitalized adults who have community-acquired pneumonia, as per the report, Canadian Diabetes Association Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee.

Luckily, we can reduce our risks of developing these illnesses. Vaccination against the seasonal flu is recommended by The National Advisory Committee on Immunization for all Canadians age 6 months and older. Likewise, a one-time pneumococcal vaccination is advised for children up to 4 years of age, children and teens who have asthma,4 adults who have diabetes, asthma, kidney disease, alcoholism, or an immunocompromising disease, those who smoke cigarettes, and people over 65 years of age.

Vaccines411 wants to see more Canadians protected and help reduce the suffering that the nasty flu bug can cause. To date more than half a million Canadians have discovered that finding a vaccinating clinic near them is easy with Simply type in your postal code, choose the seasonal category and select the influenza vaccine; you will be directed to a list of vaccinating clinics closest to you offering this year’s flu shot!

The website also provides reliable flu-related resources, carefully chosen by the Vaccines411 team, to help you know what to do when you or a loved one has caught the flu bug and how to avoid transmission to others. You will also find up-to-date vaccine safety information.

Know where to go to find your nearest vaccinating clinic, visit