Manitoba Taking Strategic Action to Increase Access to High-Dose Influenza Vaccine
August 11, 2020
Province Doubling Orders to Meet Expected Demand for Flu Vaccine: Friesen
The Manitoba government is doubling its order of the high-dose influenza vaccine to address anticipated demand, and expanding the criteria for who can receive it free of charge, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.
“The flu season is always challenging, but COVID-19 will make it even more difficult. That’s why our government is taking every precaution to help keep Manitobans safe,” said Friesen. “By doubling our order of high-dose influenza vaccine and making it available to more people at high risk of contracting the flu, we are able to protect them, as well as our health-care providers on the front line.”
The high-dose influenza vaccine is an immunization formulated for people age 65 years and older. Manitoba was the first province to offer to that age group and those living in long-term care facilities, clients in interim or transitional care beds, respite care clients or unimmunized residents admitted to a long-term care homes during the flu season.
This year, the Manitoba government is expanding criteria for the vaccine to allow more seniors to get the high-dose influenza vaccine starting this fall including:
• residents of supportive and assisted living housing;
• those who are newly incarcerated or transferred from other federal or out-of-province correctional facilities;
• those receiving home care services while on a waiting list for admission into a long-term care facility;
• living on a First Nation or remote communities; and
• living north of the 53rd parallel of latitude.
In 2017, Manitoba became the first province to offer a high-dose version of the flu vaccine and many provinces have followed suit since then. Last year, Manitoba ordered 11,500 high-dose influenza vaccines and for the 2020-21 influenza season, the province will order up to 21,500 high-dose vaccine.
In 2019-20, over 26.3 per cent of all Manitobans received the flu vaccine, the highest ever, and demand is expected to increase this year, the minister noted. During the 2019-20 flu season, 29 Manitobans died from the flu.
Starting Aug. 17, pharmacies, physicians and other providers can start placing their influenza vaccine orders, with the vaccine expected to start arriving late September.
“Manitobans need to plan for a challenging flu season as COVID-19, influenza and colds will be occurring at the same time this fall,” said Dr. Brent Roussin, Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer. “Getting the flu vaccine or the high-dose influenza vaccine is an important step that will help keep you and those around you healthy this season. Staying home when you are sick, practising good hand hygiene and covering your cough also helps reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others.”
Visit Manitoba’s seasonal influenza website at www.manitoba.ca/flu or contact Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for more information.
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For more information:
Public information, contact Manitoba Government Inquiry: 1-866-626-4862 or 204-945-3744.
Media requests for general information, contact Communications Services Manitoba: 204-945-3765.
Media requests for ministerial comment, contact Communications and Stakeholder Relations: 204-945-4916.