News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 1, 2018

PROVINCE URGES LONG-TERM CARE FACILITY RESIDENTS TO GET SPECIAL HIGH-DOSE SEASONAL FLU VACCINE

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Available for Senior Residents in Long-term Facilities: Friesen

The province is reminding Manitoba seniors that the high-dose influenza vaccine is once again available for residents of long-term care facilities aged 65 years and older, Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“The high-dose vaccine is being made available for a second consecutive year at no charge to seniors at long-term care facilities, who often are at a higher risk of suffering from complications due to the flu,” said Friesen.  “The goal in offering this particular vaccine is to further mitigate the health risks that come for Manitobans living in these care facilities when flu outbreaks occur, which in turn reduces the strain on emergency departments and urgent care centres.  I encourage all Manitobans who are eligible to receive this vaccine to get it.”

The vaccine is also available at no charge for clients of long-term care facilities in interim or transitional care beds, respite care clients and new, unimmunized residents admitted during the flu season.

In 2017, Manitoba became the first province in Canada to offer the high-dose vaccine.  Five other provinces have since followed suit.  Results from the first year of using the high-dose flu vaccine on Manitoba seniors in long-term care facilities showed promising results.  When comparing the 2017-18 influenza season to the 2014-15 influenza season, which had a similar flu strain, timing of season and severity, there were:
•    fewer outbreaks of influenza A in long-term care facilities,
•    fewer confirmed cases of influenza among long-term care facility residents aged 65 and over,
•    a statistically significant decrease in the risk of getting influenza A, and
•    fewer all-cause deaths in immunized residents aged 65 and over.

The numbers are all the more impressive when considering last year’s flu season was the worst since the H1N1 outbreak in 2009-10, the minister said.  Last winter, 46 people with lab-confirmed cases of influenza died and a further 35 people were admitted into intensive care.  In total, there were 505 hospitalizations, which is more than the previous two winters combined.

Friesen noted the annual influenza immunization campaign is underway, providing the basic flu vaccine free of charge to all Manitobans aged six months and older.  The flu shot helps protect the individual and people around them, especially for those at increased risk of serious illness from the flu, their caregivers, and close family and friends.

The flu vaccine and Pneu-P-23 vaccine, which help protect against pneumococcal disease and is offered free of charge to seniors, are available at local public health offices, nursing stations, doctors’ offices and Access centres.

People seeking the vaccine should contact providers first to ensure they are available.  Pharmacists can also provide immunizations to people seven years of age and older.

Check Manitoba’s seasonal influenza website or contact Health Links–Info Santé at 204-788-8200 in Winnipeg or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free) for dates, times and locations.  For more information about the flu, visit www.gov.mb.ca/health/flu/index.html.

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