Burnaby, B.C. (September 6, 2019): BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is calling upon care providers across British Columbia to make the high-dose flu vaccine available for purchase to seniors living in long-term care.
As Australia grapples with a deadly influenza outbreak—claiming over 400 lives this year—experts warn that Canada could face a similar situation this fall.
The standard flu vaccine is an adequate measure against the virus for the general population. However, seniors, who have weaker immune systems, are particularly vulnerable to influenza and may require greater protection.
According to FluWatch, seniors account for 70 per cent of influenza-related hospitalizations and 90 per cent of influenza-related deaths in Canada.
“As we brace for a rough flu season, it is vital that we take all precautions to protect our most vulnerable population,” says BCCPA CEO Daniel Fontaine.
“The high-dose flu vaccine is our best shot at keeping seniors safe and out of hospital. Care providers are encouraged to make the vaccine available to seniors who may want to purchase it privately,” Fontaine adds.
Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that at an individual level, the high-dose flu vaccine—which contains four times the amount of antigen—should be offered over the standard dose flu vaccine to adults 65 years of age and older.
The high-dose flu vaccine is not publicly funded in B.C.
Manitoba was the first province in Canada to roll out the high-dose flu vaccine to seniors in long-term care, and over the past couple of years more jurisdictions have begun funding the vaccine, including Saskatchewan, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories.
In the United States, the high-dose flu vaccine has been available to seniors since 2009 and is funded by Medicare.
BCCPA has signed on to the International Federation on Aging’s consensus statement to raise awareness of adult influenza vaccination.
The statement, released Thursday, follows IFA’s Adult Influenza Vaccination meeting in Toronto in June 2019, which BCCPA attended. The event brought together experts and thought leaders from diverse disciplines and sectors to help promote the importance of influenza vaccination for at-risk populations.
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About BC Care Providers Association
Established in 1977, the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 340 long-term care, assisted living, home care, home support, independent living, and commercial members from across British Columbia.