Universal Influenza Program Frequently Asked Questions From Immunizers
The Universal Influenza Vaccine Program provides annual influenza vaccine free to all individuals living in Prince Edward Island.
What vaccine is publicly available for this influenza season?
The following influenza vaccines are available for the Universal Influenza Program for the 2023-2024 influenza season:
- QIV (Fluzone®) injectable inactivated quadrivalent vaccine for both adults and children 6 months of age and older.
- HD QIV (Fluzone High Dose®) is recommended for adults aged 65 years and older.
- QIV Live attenuated vaccine (Flumist®) nasal spray for healthy children age 2 to 17 years. Flumist® will be provided to Health PEI Public Health Nursing (PHN) for public clinics, pediatric units in hospital and physicians/nurse practitioners for children in their practice.
Is High Dose Influenza vaccine available for everyone aged 65+ in PEI?
High Dose influenza vaccine (Fluzone High Dose®) is being provided to all Islanders 65 years and older in the 2023-2024 flu season. The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations (NACI) has concluded that High Dose influenza vaccine (HD QIV) should be used over Standard Dose (SD), based on evidence of HD QIV vaccine providing better protection in adults 65 years of age and older.
Who should receive the seasonal influenza vaccine?
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends influenza vaccination for all individuals aged 6 months and older, with particular focus on the priority groups at high risk for influenza-related complications or hospitalization listed below:
- All children 6 to 59 months of age;
- All pregnant women (the risk of influenza-related hospitalization increases with length of gestation, i.e. it is higher in the third than in the second trimester);
- Children and adults with the following chronic health conditions:
- cardiac or pulmonary disorders (including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis and asthma);
- diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases;
- cancer, immune compromising conditions (due to underlying disease and/or therapy);
- renal disease;
- anemia or hemoglobinopathy;
- morbid obesity (BMI≥40);
- children and adolescents (age 6 months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid, because of the potential increase of Reye’s syndrome associated with influenza; and
- neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions (includes neuromuscular, neurovascular, neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental conditions, and seizure disorders [and, for children, includes febrile seizures and isolated developmental delay], but excludes migraines and psychiatric conditions without neurological conditions).
- People of any age who are residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities;
- All people ≥65 years of age; and
- Indigenous Peoples.
People capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk
- Health care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who, through their activities, are capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk of influenza complications;
- Household contacts (adults and children) of individuals at high risk of influenza-related complications (whether or not the individual at high risk has been immunized):
- household contacts of individuals at high risk, as listed in the section above;
- household contacts of infants <6 months of age as these infants are at high risk of complications from influenza but cannot receive influenza vaccine; and
- members of a household expecting a newborn during the influenza season.
- Those providing regular childcare to children <59 months of age, whether in or out of the home; and
- Those who provide services within closed or relatively closed settings to persons at high risk (e.g. crew on a ship).
- People who provide essential community services; and
- People in direct contact during culling operations with poultry infected with avian influenza.
Who should not receive FluMist vaccine (LAIV)?
A small supply of Flumist® is available for children 2 to 17 years of age at Health PEI Public Health Nursing (PHN) public clinics, pediatric units in hospital, and some physicians/nurse practitioner offices. Flumist® should not be offered to the following children:
- Children with severe asthma (including those with medically attended wheezing in the past 7 days)
- Children currently receiving aspirin or aspirin-containing therapy
- Children with immunecompromising conditions
- Adolescents who are pregnant
What training do I need to administer the influenza vaccine?
How can I order influenza vaccines?
Immunizers in physician offices/clinics, hospitals, and long term/community care homes can order influenza vaccine from the Provincial Pharmacy by completing the online order form.
Pharmacies will continue to receive vaccine through pharmacy distribution sites.
What are my responsibilities as an Immunizer?
Immunizers are required to adhere to the Annual Influenza Policy and to record and report all vaccines administered to the Chief Public Health Office under the Immunization Regulations of the Public Health Act R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. P-30.1.
What Infection Prevention and Control procedures are required this year when immunizing clients?
Gloves are not required unless administering intranasal vaccine due to the risk of contact with mucous membranes and bodily fluids.
How do I report vaccine administrations?
Immunizers are encouraged to electronically report vaccine administrations. If you already enter client information into an electronic health system database (such as CIS, ICS, ISM, DIS, PeopleSoft), then you are already fulfilling your reporting requirements under the Immunization Regulations. Those who are unable to report through an electronic health system database complete the Immunization Reporting Form and submit via fax, mail, or email. If you have any questions about your reporting requirements, please contact the Chief Public Health Office at (902) 368-4996.
What does the Chief Public Health Office do with the vaccine reports?
The Chief Public Health Office maintains an electronic Immunization Registry that is accessible to Immunizers to view a patient’s vaccine history. Immunizers must have access to the Immunization Registry by contacting the Chief Public Health Office at (902) 368-4996.
What do I do with leftover vaccines at the end of the season?
Immunizers are responsible for returning any unused vaccines to the Provincial Pharmacy. Unused and expired vaccines are returned at the end of the season to the manufacturer for a rebate. Please ensure that your name and location is clearly identified on any returned vaccines.
What do I do if there is an adverse event following immunization (AEFI)?
All immunizers must monitor the health and safety of the individuals to whom influenza vaccine is administered; Immunizers shall have in place protocols for management of anaphylaxis and influenza vaccine must only be administered in settings where these protocols are in place.
All unexpected adverse events following administration of influenza vaccine must be reported to the CPHO within 24 hours as soon as observed or reported using the Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) form.