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Vaccinations and lung disease

  • People with chronic lung disease, like asthma or COPD, have a greater risk of getting seriously ill from diseases that vaccines prevent. Vaccinations are an important measure to keep everyone healthy. Vaccination provides the best protection against vaccine preventable diseases.
  • Vaccines are one of the safest ways for you to prevent disease. Being vaccinated, quitting smoking and managing your chronic disease work together to keep you safe.
  • Vaccine side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. These include things like soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. Some people may also experience mild fever after vaccination. Severe side effects are very rare.
  • People with chronic lung diseases, such as asthma, COPD, or cystic fibrosis, are at increased risk of complications of influenza and pneumococcal infection. People with these lung diseases and people who smoke should get the influenza vaccine every year. They should also get the pneumonia vaccine.

What vaccines do you need?

  • COVID-19 vaccine. Canadians with chronic lung disease may be more likely to experience severe illness, including hospitalization due to COVID-19. It is important to get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is available to you. Find out more here.
  • Flu (influenza) vaccine. This type of vaccine can reduce the risk of serious illness, such as infections requiring hospitalizations.  The flu vaccine can prevent flare-ups of your COPD. People with asthma are more likely to experience complications from the flu.
  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccines. Canadians with existing lung disease are more likely to become severely ill from pneumonia. Some types of pneumococcal (bacterial pneumonia) infections are prevented with vaccination. People aged 65 and over only need a single pneumococcal vaccination. This vaccine is not given annually like the flu vaccine.  As there are two pneumonia vaccines, some people with chronic lung disease, including asthma may require two different vaccines to obtain better protection. Check with your doctor to find out what type of pneumonia vaccine you may need.

Where to get vaccinated?

Contact your local health unit, your pharmacy or doctor's office or visit for more information. You can get vaccines at most pharmacies and travel clinics.