The Government of British Columbia is making an investment of $1.6 billion to strengthen their preventative health measures ahead of what is certain to be an extremely unpredictable flu season.
CARP welcomes the announcement, which aims to recruit 7,000 health-care workers in long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities and funds 45,000 high-dose flu vaccines for vulnerable seniors in congregate care.
We have long advocated that the best-in-class vaccines that protect seniors from influenza, shingles and pneumonia be fully funded and easily accessible across Canada—an integral measure that has yet to be implemented in all provinces/territories.
While this announcement is a step in the right direction, the high-dose flu vaccine should be made available to all adults over 65, not just those in long-term care, as seniors have the highest overall hospitalization rate (60%), and the highest likelihood of death from the easily-preventable disease; including those who live at home. However, given that residents in care settings are at the highest risk of infection and serious complications, protecting them from the flu alongside COVID-19 should be a top priority.
Until every older adult is protected from preventable illnesses with the best recommended vaccines, CARP will continue putting pressure on governments to step up to the plate for the wellbeing of their older populations.