Video: CARP Expert Panel “The True Cost of Influenza”

September, 2016

Influenza is one of the most important public health issues our country faces,[1],[2] with seniors accounting for 70 per cent of total influenza-related hospitalizations and 90 per cent of total influenza-related deaths. 

On Thursday September 22nd, 2016, CARP hosted a panel of leading experts to take a closer look at the impact, burden and prevention strategies for influenza on our aging population.

Influenza, also known as the flu, is an unpredictable and highly contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs.[3]  Influenza viruses travel through air droplets when an infected individual coughs, sneezes or talks.[4]

Moderated by Libby Znaimer, Vice-president, News and Information, ZoomerMedia, the panel discussed the implications of influenza on healthy aging, the cost to the Canadian healthcare system, and the role of immunization as a simple way to promote healthy aging among older Canadians as part of a larger national senior’s strategy.

Meet the experts:

  • Candace Chartier, Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Long Term Care Association
  • Janet McElhaney, M.D. and Vice President of Research & Scientific Director, Health Sciences North Research Institute, Sudbury, ON
  • Dr. Samir K. Sinha, MD, DPhil, Chair in Geriatrics and Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health System (Toronto), Provincial Lead of Ontario’s Seniors Strategy
  • André Picard, Public Health Reporter and Columnist at The Globe and Mail
  • Dr. Brian Aw, Family Practice Practitioner

Panel topics included:

  • Frailty and loss of independence: the true cost on our aging population and healthcare system
  • Worsening of other medical conditions: influenza as a trigger of non-lung conditions such as stroke, diabetes and renal disease
  • Seniors immune systems: natural weakening of the immune system as you age, increased risk of complications and decreased response to vaccinations
  • Seniors-tailored immunization programs: access to vaccines designed for better immune response for those 65+ and a national strategy for immunization.

Find out more about the new flu vaccine for seniors here


[1] Statistics Canada. 2011 Census of Canada: Topic-based tabulations.

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older.

[3] Government of Canada. About the Flu.

[4]   Mayo Clinic. Causes.