New High Dose Flu Vaccine Provided Free For Seniors
NACI is the National Advisory Committee on Immunization. Their 2018-2019 statement regarding the seasonal influenza vaccine was released in June. This statement acknowledges that “together, influenza and pneumonia are ranked among the top 10 leading causes of death in Canada. Although the burden of influenza can vary from year to year, it is estimated that, in a given year, there are an average of 12,200 hospitalizations related to influenza and approximately 3,500 deaths.”
NACI recommends influenza vaccination for all individuals aged six months and older who do not have contraindications to the vaccine, with particular focus on people at high risk of influenza-related complications or hospitalization and people capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk of complications.
The flu vaccine is available in a few different formulations. The quadrivalent vaccine contains 4 different strains of the influenza virus and is not a live vaccine. This vaccine will be available at Ontario pharmacies and physicians offices provided at no charge through public health. For people age 65 or older, a high potency trivalent vaccine (containing 3 different strains of the influenza virus) is now available at no charge through family physicians only. This is not a live vaccine, so you cannot get the flu from receiving the vaccine. New studies have shown this high potency vaccine to be more effective than the standard-dose vaccine in preventing influenza-like illness, hospitalization and serious cardiorespiratory events possibly related to influenza. For this reason, we suggest people age 65 or older contact their family physician to receive this vaccine.
The flu vaccines will be available starting mid-October. Pharmacies offering the standard dose vaccine, may offer flu clinics on specific days along with open drop-in times without appointments. It is suggested that you call ahead to see if your community pharmacy is taking appointments for flu shots.
Carolyn Whiskin is the Pharmacy Manager for Charlton Health. Carolyn specializes in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, pharmaceutical compounding, women’s health, pain and smoking cessation. Carolyn has won provincial and national awards for her commitment to patient care and public service.
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