Santé Montréal

Flu or influenza


Flu vaccination in Montréal


The vaccine is safe and contains no live virus. It cannot transmit the flu. However, it does not protect against less serious infections like colds, which are often mistaken for flu.

Where to get the flu shot in Montréal? 

The injectable vaccine is given for free to the following people:

  • Children from 6 to 23 months
  • People with certain chronic illnesses
  • Pregnant women with chronic illnesses, throughout their pregnancy
  • Pregnant women in good health, in their 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy
  • People aged 60 years old and over

In order to reduce the risks of contamination, the vaccine is also given free to other people:

  • Close relations of people listed above, including their caretakers
  • Close contacts of children less than 6 months old
  • Healthcare workers
  • People living in remote or isolated communities may also get vaccinated for free.

The intranasal vaccine is given for free to children from 2 to 17 years old:

  • Living with certain chronic illnesses
  • Living with the following people:
  • Children from 6 to 23 months
  • People with certain chronic illnesses
  • Pregnant women with chronic diseases, throughout their pregnancy
  • Pregnant women in good health, in their 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy
  • People aged 60 years old and over

These children may also receive the injectable vaccine, instead of the intranasal vaccine. Both vaccines may be offered free of charge to them.

The flu is a respiratory infection caused by influenza A or B virus. In Québec, flu season usually runs from December to March. It is a very contagious respiratory tract infection.

The flu can cause serious complications, especially in young children, elderly people and people with chronic illnesses.

The flu should not be mistaken for a cold. A cold is a milder respiratory illness. For more information about colds, see the Montreal Children's Hospital or Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux fact sheets

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 It starts with a sudden onset of

  • fever,
  • cough,
  • body aches,
  • fatigue,
  • runny nose,
  • sneezing,
  • headache, and
  • sore throat.
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When to Consult

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Protection and prevention

Décision assistant

The flu is a respiratory infection that is spread easily. It is caused by the influenza virus.

In Québec, it especially spreads during the end of the fall to the beginning of the spring.

Flu symptoms and their severity can vary depending on age and health condition. The main symptoms are the following:

  • Sudden fever between 38 °C and 40 °C (100,4 °F and 104 °F)
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscular pain
  • Acute general discomfort lasting several days

Children can also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains.

Flu is often confused with other respiratory infections such as the cold.

Certain protection and cleanliness measures can also help prevent transmission of the flu:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or against your upper arm rather than into your hands
  • Keep your immediate environment clean

If you have flu symptoms, the Decision Assistant will help you decide what is best for you and your family:

Adults or children

I don’t have a fever (less than 38°C or 100.4°F), but I do have the following symptoms:

  • Blocked nose
  • Runny nose
  • Cough


I probably have a cold and need to rest.

Adults or children

I have a sudden fever (higher than 38°C or 100.4°F) as well as the following symptoms:

  • Sudden cough
  • Sore throat
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headache


I probably have the flu.
I can treat myself at home.
I can get information at
If need be, I can call info-santé 8-1-1.

Adults or children at risk for complications

I have flu symptoms and belong to the category of individuals at risk for complications (children less than 5 years of age, adults 65 and over, pregnant women or women who gave birth in the last 4 weeks, persons suffering from a chronic disease).


I need to call info-Santé 8-1-1. A nurse will assess my condition and recommend steps to be taken, depending on my condition.

Adults or children

I have flu symptoms and one of the following applies to me:

  • Increasing or persistent pain when I breathe
  • A rising fever or one that has lasted for more than 5 days
  • Symptoms that deteriorate or do not improve after 7 days


I must see a doctor today.

Adults or children

I have one or more of the following apply to me:

  • Difficulty breathing that persists or increases suddenly
  • Blue lips
  • Intense headache that persists or gets worse
  • Drowsiness, difficulty staying awake, weakness
  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Seizures (body stiffens and muscles contract in a jerky and involuntary manner)
  • No urine output for 12 hours, excessive thirst
  • Fever in a child who seems too calm and less energetic than usual or who
  • refuses to play or is agitated
  • Fever in a baby less than 3 months old


I must go to the emergency department of a hospital immediately. If I require assistance, call 9-1-1.

 The printable version of the Decicion assistant is available here.

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Risk factors

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Help and Resources

Where to get the flu shot in Montréal?

To get the vaccine, contact your family doctor, a clinic that offers the shot, or your integrated university health and social services centre (CIUSSS) and select your region in the List of Regions.




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Audio messages

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People at Risk

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Dernière mise à jour le : 2016.10.13