Lung Vaccination Working Group

Who We Are

In 2018, Asthma Canada partnered with several national health care organizations interested in working collaboratively to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination and to increase rates of immunization among adults affected by respiratory conditions. This working group of like-minded organizations includes representatives from Immunize Canada, Canadian Network for Respiratory Care, Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada, COPD Canada, Canadian Public Health Association, Canadian Thoracic Society, Canadian Lung Association, and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The Importance of Vaccination for the Lung Community

Within Canada, vaccine uptake continues to be a significant area of concern, especially when it comes to high-risk populations. For those living with asthma and others in the respiratory disease community, vaccination plays a vital role in disease management. Canadians with chronic lung diseases are at higher risk of serious effects and complications from preventable illnesses like influenza and pneumonia, which is why vaccination awareness is of vital importance to this community.

For the past three years, the Lung Vaccination Working Group has been working to establish and implement an evidence-based strategy to increase vaccination rates among our patient communities.

Read our Literature Review

Read our Position Statement

Read our White Paper

Frequently Asked Questions about Vaccination in People with Chronic Lung Conditions 

I have a lung condition. Which vaccines are recommended for me?


People with chronic lung conditions have sensitive airways which can worsen from infection, no matter how mild the symptoms may be. 

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends influenza (yearly), pneumococcal and COVID-19 vaccination for people with chronic lung disease.

Is it safe for me to get a COVID-19 vaccine?

It is safe for people with chronic lung diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or pulmonary hypertension to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Even though COVID-19 vaccines are being developed more quickly than usual, vaccine safety is still a top priority in all phases of vaccine development, approval and post-approval monitoring. While steps are being streamlined or overlapped, none of them are being skipped.

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety, visit COVID-19: Vaccine Safety and Side Effects

Source: Immunize Canada

I'm worried/anxious about getting vaccinated. What should I do?

Some people are afraid or anxious about needle injections. Planning ahead of vaccination day can help ease your anxiety. The CARD™ system is a tool developed by experts and based on science that can help you improve your vaccination experience. Below are some tips that can help you plan for your vaccination:

  • Try to eat something before your vaccination and afterwards.
  • You will receive the vaccine in your upper arm. Wear short sleeves or something easy to pull up so that the upper arm can be reached easily.
  • Bring any supplies you need, such as a facemask and something to distract you.
  • Do not tense your arm – keep it loose or jiggly.
  • If you feel faint or get dizzy during needles, you can squeeze your knees together or ask to lie down.
  • Have acetaminophen available in case you experience any side effects after, but there is no need to take it prior to the vaccine. Let your healthcare provider know if you are experiencing any side effects that worry you.
  • Keep a record of the vaccine you received.
  • To learn more about the CARD™ system, visit https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/card
What are the common side effects of vaccines?


Just like any medication, vaccines can cause some reactions.

Some people can experience mild reactions from vaccines, such as:

  • pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
  • mild fever after the vaccination

Depending on the vaccine received, some people may also experience a mild rash, fatigue and aches. All of these are common reactions and resolve in a few days. A reaction is an excellent sign that your immune system has properly responded to the vaccine. It means it is working.

Severe reactions, such as an allergic reaction to a vaccine, are rare. If you or your child has had a serious allergic reaction to a previous dose of a vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider.

Source: Immunize Canada

What if I have an allergy to vaccine ingredients?

If you are concerned about the ingredients within vaccines, we encourage you to talk to your doctor/and or immunologist prior to getting a vaccine. They can answer any questions you may have and determine the safest way for you to get vaccinated.

View more Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about allergies and the COVID vaccine here: CSACI: COVID19 Vaccines FAQ

Will receiving an influenza, pneumococcal or COVID-19 vaccine impact the medications I’m taking to manage my lung condition?



Can I receive both the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine?


Yes! If you are living with a lung condition, it is recommended that you receive your annual influenza vaccination, pneumococcal vaccination, and COVID-19 vaccine. Getting your annual flu shot is an important way to help protect yourself, your family and high-risk groups in your community against seasonal flu. It will also help reduce the burden on Canada’s healthcare system during this unprecedented time. Receiving a COVID-19 vaccine is also an important way to protect yourself against serious disease.

Source: Immunize Canada

I’m on biologic therapy. Can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?


It is safe for people with asthma on biologic therapy to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Canadian Thoracic Society and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology recommend that:

  • The COVID-19 vaccine should not be administered on the same day as a biologic therapy for asthma where possible.
  • Patients with asthma should ideally receive a COVID vaccine 72 hours apart from their regular biologic, to make it easier to tell what injection may have caused a problem if the patient has a reaction.
  • Individuals with a history of reaction to injectable medications, or a previous COVID-19 vaccine must advise the staff at the vaccination site.

Learn more here: https://cts-sct.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Final_Biologic-Therapy_COVID-19-Info-Sheet_EN.pdf

Source: Canadian Thoracic Society

Work with Us

Join us! The Lung Vaccination Working Group welcomes the opportunity to create tangible connections with health care organizations across Canada to maximize awareness of the importance of vaccination for Canadians with lung conditions. 

Email: info@asthma.ca for more information.