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With flu season approaching amid a pandemic, Manitoba has announced it is doubling its order of the high-dose influenza vaccine and expanding the criteria for who can receive it free of charge.
"Manitobans need to plan for a challenging flu season as COVID-19, influenza and colds will be occurring at the same time this fall," the chief provincial public health officer said in a news release Tuesday.
"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," Dr. Brent Roussin said.
The high-dose influenza vaccine is an immunization formulated for people age 65 and older.
This flu season, the high-dose vaccine will be made available for free to 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, people living on a First Nation or in remote communities, and Manitobans living north of the 53rd parallel.
Manitoba began offering a high-dose version of the flu vaccine in 2017. Last year, the province ordered 11,500 of the high-dose influenza vaccine. For the coming flu season, the province will order up to 21,500 shots.
Starting Monday, pharmacies, physicians and other providers can start placing influenza vaccine orders, with the vaccine expected to start arriving late September.
In 2019-20, close to 26.3 per cent of all Manitobans received the flu vaccine, the highest number recorded. The province said it expects demand to increase this year. During last year's flu season, 29 Manitobans died from influenza.
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