Influenza A viruses (IAVs) cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, despite new strain-specific vaccines being available annually. As IAV-specific CD8+ T cells promote viral control in the absence of neutralizing antibodies, and can mediate cross-reactive immunity toward distinct IAVs to drive rapid recovery from both mild and severe influenza disease, there is great interest in developing a universal T cell vaccine. However, despite detailed studies in mouse models of influenza virus infection, there is still a paucity of data on human epitope-specific CD8+ T cell responses to IAVs. This review focuses on our current understanding of human CD8+ T cell immunity against distinct IAVs and discusses the possibility of achieving a CD8+ T cell mediated-vaccine that protects against multiple, distinct IAV strains across diverse human populations. We also review the importance of CD8+ T cell immunity in individuals highly susceptible to severe influenza infection, including those hospitalised with influenza, the elderly and Indigenous populations.