December 8th, 2022

Doctor calls on Houston to cover high-dose flu vaccine for seniors

HALIFAX– As families worry about the continued spike in respiratory viruses and influenza, doctors agree that the Houston government must provide coverage for the high dose flu vaccine for seniors.

“Flu season has begun and while things are absolutely dreadful right now, things could worsen in the coming months. This could be the tip of the iceberg,” said Dr. Jabu Mathew Abraham, a primary care physician in Nova Scotia. “The good news is that influenza is one of the most vaccine-preventable causes of death. Unfortunately, many of our seniors over 65 will not get the high-dose flu vaccine because it is not covered by the province for all seniors and it is quite expensive. The government should ensure the high dose flu vaccine is free of charge for anyone over the age of 65. Our Atlantic neighbours do, why can't we?”

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization strongly recommends that seniors get the high dose flu vaccine. Six other provinces, including New Brunswick and PEI, already provide the vaccine for free to residents of those provinces.

“We have many people reaching out to our offices confused about why they are left to cover the cost of this vaccine on their own,” said NDP Leader Claudia Chender. “Our province has a higher percentage of people over 65 than most, with high rates of cancer and other health conditions. It would make sense, especially when health care is under so much stress, to cover the cost of this vaccine for seniors this year and going forward.”

The high-dose flu vaccine costs around $80 or more out of pocket. The standard flu vaccine is free to every Nova Scotian.