COVID-19 and the Flu

Although COVID-19 and influenza may have similar symptoms, they are separate viruses, and one vaccine does not provide protection from both illnesses. It is advised that individuals receive both the COVID-19 and yearly influenza vaccines. Doing so can prevent severe complications from having both illnesses at the same time.

COVID-19 and the Flu Infographic and its text description

Infographic: COVID-19 and the Flu

Description: COVID-19 and the Flu


COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Currently more infectious and likely to be more serious than influenza.

May take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear after exposure.

Influenza (flu)

Influenza (flu) is caused by various influenza viruses such as H1N1.

A leading cause of infectious disease death in Canada over the last decade.

May take 1 to 4 days for symptoms to appear after exposure.

These two diseases have many common symptoms and only a lab test can tell them apart.

Anyone can be infected with either virus, in the community, workplace, or at home. Vaccination is one of the best preventive measures.

One vaccine does not work for both viruses.

Canadian health authorities and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that everyone eligible should receive both the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines.


  • Lower risks of infection, severe illness, hospitalization, and death for the diseases they protect against.
  • Lower risk of complications from having both diseases at the same time.
  • Are rigorously tested for safety. Serious side effects are rare.
  • Do not cause the disease. Short-term side effects may occur as the body responds to the vaccine.

How workplaces can help with vaccination

  • Develop a vaccination policy, especially if vaccines have been mandated in your setting.
  • Provide suitable accommodations for valid exemptions.
  • Provide information and training on vaccines.
  • Consider a workplace vaccination clinic.
  • Provide time off for vaccination appointments and recovery from any side effects from the vaccine.

Refer to your local public health authority or health care provider for information on where and when you can receive these vaccines.

Anyone who feels sick should stay home, regardless of vaccination status.

Always follow public health measures and layer multiple workplace controls to increase protection.

Everyone in the workplace is responsible for health and safety. Get vaccinated and help stop the spread of COVID-19 and the flu.

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Document last updated on: 2023-11-02