As flu season approaches, I encourage everyone in Fort Garry and all Manitobans to get the flu vaccine, and, if eligible, for seniors to receive the high-dose flu vaccine.
Manitoba seniors have been tragically and disproportionately affected in a plethora of ways throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Seniors have continued to do their part by social distancing, wearing masks, and isolating when necessary.
While seniors have done their part, the Pallister government has fallen short by not ensuring that all Manitoba seniors can access the high-dose flu vaccine free of charge.
The provincial government announced it will increase eligibility of high-dose flu vaccines for seniors who are residents of home care services, on wait lists for long-term care homes, those on First Nations and those living north of the 53rd parallel. But the government has not ensured that there will be a vaccine program implemented immediately for all seniors in Manitoba.
According to CanAge, a non-profit organization that advocates for issues that matter to Canadian seniors, it can cost upwards of $16,000 to pay for hospitalization due to viral pneumonia, but a high-dose flu vaccine costs the government just $50. It makes more sense for us to invest in health prevention now for seniors.
Many seniors in Fort Garry have shared with me that they simply do not meet the current criteria for a high-dose flu vaccine, such as those who are living independently or those who have loved ones caring for them. It is incredibly important for all seniors to have access to the high-dose flu vaccine, as it develops a stronger and more effective immune response by containing four times the amount of influenza virus antigens per strain.
I would like to thank all front-line workers for their continued efforts in ensuring our seniors are well taken care of, as well as thank seniors for doing their part throughout the pandemic. My hope is that the government matches these efforts by ensuring all seniors will be able to access the high-dose flu vaccines as we enter the winter season.
My colleagues and I will continue to advocate for high-dose flu vaccine accessibility for all seniors in the province regardless of their income and current living situation.
If there is anything I can help you with during this challenging time, please get in touch with my office at 202-1383 Pembina Hwy., or contact us at 204-421-4241 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fort Garry constituency report
Mark Wasyliw is the NDP MLA for Fort Garry.