KeepHealthCare.ORG – High-dose flu vaccine coming for seniors in care this fall
A new high-dose flu vaccine is coming for seniors ahead of the next flu season.
The province announced Thursday it will buy 7,000 doses of the specially formulated vaccine to be provided to people living in long-term and residential care facilities across Nova Scotia.
It will be available this fall.
The province said the new vaccine is four times the strength of the standard vaccine and is “significantly” more effective in protecting elderly people from influenza, including those with chronic conditions.
“Nova Scotians living in long-term care facilities have the highest rates of severe illness and hospitalizations from influenza,” Health Minister Randy Delorey said in a news release.
The province said research indicates giving the high-dose vaccine to people in long-term care would result in 100 fewer hospital stays.
Though adults 65 and older represent only 15 per cent of the Canadian population, they experience 67 per cent of influenza-related complications and 88 per cent of influenza-related deaths, according to the province.
The H3N2 strain, the predominant Influenza A strain circulating in Canada this season, produces particularly severe illness in the elderly, said the province.
“Because the immune system declines as we age, older adults are more susceptible to influenza even when they are vaccinated and this is especially true of individuals in long-term care,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, in the news release.
He said the high-dose vaccine also cuts down on complications for those who do catch the flu.
He said standard vaccines are adequate for the general population. The standard, updated flu vaccine will still be available for Nova Scotians this fall.