November 17th, 2022

Flu epidemic heightens need for high-dose flu vaccine for seniors

HALIFAX – Many seniors in Nova Scotia are left unable to access the high-dose flu vaccine because of the cost. This week the Public Health Agency of Canada declared a flu epidemic and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says that seniors should get the high-dose flu vaccine, which can be 80 dollars or more out of pocket.

“We have a health care system pushed to the brink already by an increase in respiratory illness among children and young people, with a flu epidemic across the country the Houston government should make sure any senior who wants the high-dose vaccine can get it,” said NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson Susan Leblanc.

While seniors in most other provinces and territories can get the high-dose vaccine for free, Nova Scotia residents cannot. When asked about this during Question Period last month the Houston government said it had no plans to cover the vaccine this year.

“Older Nova Scotians are some of the most at risk of serious issues connected with the flu and many end up in hospital,” said Leblanc. “When it costs, on average, over ten thousand dollars for someone hospitalized because of influenza, it seems like a simple solution to cover this vaccine to protect seniors and our health care system.”

The NSNDP tabled legislation last month that would have covered the cost of the high-dose vaccine for anyone over 65 in the province.