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2020/2021 Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP)

The following provides information about the Ontario Ministry of Health (the ministry's) Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP) for the 2020/2021 influenza season. The UIIP offers influenza vaccine free of charge each year to all individuals six months of age and older who live, work or go to school in Ontario.

Vaccination against influenza will be important this fall given the potential for the co-circulation of COVID-19. Preventing the flu will be important not only to protect individual health and health of families and communities, but also to protect and mitigate impacts on our health care system. 

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Immunization of High-Risk Groups

Influenza immunization can begin as soon as influenza vaccine is available for all individuals six months of age and older who live, work or go to school in Ontario, especially groups at high risk and those capable of transmitting influenza to them.

To reduce the risk of severe illness that could potentially arise from co-infection with COVID-19 and influenza, individuals who are at high risk of severe COVID-19 related illness or those capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk of severe and critical illness related to COVID-19 are particularly recommended to receive the influenza vaccine this fall.

Per the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), individuals in the following four groups are particularly recommended to receive the influenza vaccine as soon as it becomes available starting in early October:

  1. Individuals at high risk of influenza-related complications or who are more likely to require hospitalization:
    • All pregnant women
    • People who are residents of nursing homes or other chronic care facilities
    • People ≥ 65 years of age
    • All children 6 to 59 months of age
    • Indigenous peoples
    • Adults or children 6 months of age and over with chronic health conditions as follows:
      • Cardiac or pulmonary disorders
      • Diabetes mellitus or other metabolic disease
      • Cancer
      • Conditions or medication which compromise the immune system (due to underlying disease, therapy or both)
      • Renal disease
      • Anemia or hemoglobinopathy
      • Neurologic or neurodevelopmental conditions
      • Morbid obesity (body mass index of ≥ 40)
      • Children and adolescents (6 months to 18 years) undergoing treatment with acetylsalicylic acid for long periods
  2. Individuals capable of transmitting influenza to those listed in #1 and/or to infants under 6 months of age:
    • Health care workers and other care providers in facilities and community settings
    • Household contacts (adults and children) of individuals at high risk of influenza related complications
    • Persons who provide care to children ≤ 59 months of age
    • Members of a household expecting a newborn during the influenza season
    • Those who provide services within a closed or relatively closed setting to persons at high risk (e.g., crew on a ship)
  3. People who provide essential community services
  4. Poultry industry workers

UIIP Influenza Vaccine Products

Table 1: Publicly funded influenza vaccines available through the 2020/2021 UIIP
Vaccine products Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine (QIV) High-Dose Trivalent Inactivated Vaccine (high-dose TIV)
FluLaval Tetra Fluzone® Quadrivalent Flucelvax® Quad Fluzone® High-Dose
Manufacturer GSK Sanofi Pasteur Seqirus Sanofi Pasteur
Vaccine Type Egg-based Egg-based Cell culture-basedß Egg-based
Micrograms of hemagglutinin 15 µg 15 µg 15 µg 60 µg
Dosage 0.5mL 0.5mL 0.5mL 0.5mL
Format Multi-dose vial Multi-dose Vial (MDV) Prefilled syringe (PFS) Prefilled syringe Prefilled syringe
Administration Route Intramuscular injection Intramuscular injection Intramuscular injection Intramuscular injection
Age indications
6 months 6 months 9 years 65 years
Most common allergens± Egg Protein*
Thimerosal
MDV Egg Protein*
Thimerosal
PFS Egg Protein*
Does NOT contain egg protein Egg Protein*
Post-Puncture Shelf Life 28 days^
MDV 28 days^
PFS N/A
N/A N/A

Package Dimensions
in cm
(l x w x h)

2.7 x 2.7 x 6.9
MDV 3 x 2.9 x 6.2
PFS 10.4 x 8.9 x 3.8
15.4 x 13.02 x 2.38 10 x 9 x 2.2

β ‘Cell culture-based’ refers to how the influenza vaccine is made. Flucelvax® Quad is a mammalian cell culture-based QIV that is authorized for use in Canada in individuals 9 years of age and older. Both egg-based and cell culture-based QIVs provide protection against four strains of influenza and are available in the UIIP for 2020/2021. Any of the available products can be used in the age group for which they are indicated.
±Any component in a vaccine may be a potential allergen. This table identifies the most common allergens.
* The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) indicates that egg allergy is not a contraindication for influenza vaccination and that egg-allergic individuals may be vaccinated against influenza using the full dose of any age-appropriate product.
^ Return vials with remaining doses to PHU or OGPMSS (for Toronto clients) as wastage.

Important Notes:

UIIP Vaccines for Specific Age Groups:

Table 2: Publicly funded influenza vaccine eligibility for specific age groups
Age Group Quadrivalent Inactivated Vaccine (QIV) High-Dose TIV
  FluLaval Tetra Fluzone® Quadrivalent Flucelvax® Quad Fluzone® High-Dose
6 months ≤ 8 years of age    
9 ≤ 64 years of age  
≥ 65 years

Product Availability

Timing of Product Availability

Table 3: Annual UIIP Vaccine Supply Timeline
 
Provincial Vaccine Supply
Mid to late-September The province begins receiving its initial supply of influenza vaccine doses in multiple shipments from manufacturers. Initial supply is prioritized for hospitals and long-term care homes.
Early- to mid-October The province continues to receive shipments of influenza vaccine throughout October from the manufacturers for distribution to all providers.

As provincial stocks are replenished, deliveries continue with priority to retirement homes, congregate care settings and then primary care and pharmacies.
Mid to late-October Provincial influenza vaccine supply is replenished following initial distribution and additional shipments from vaccine manufacturers.

Deliveries and orders continue across the province and settings.
November onward Province orders additional doses as required from vaccine manufacturers.

Deliveries and orders continue across the province and settings.

Vaccine Wastage and Cold Chain Requirements

Program Specific Information

Additional Resources and Information

Questions

For More Information

Please e-mail uiip.moh@ontario.ca or call Service Ontario, INFOline at 1 877-844-1944