CanAge, a national organization advocating for senior citizens in Canada, has given Ontario a disappointing grade for its efforts in helping seniors access the vaccines they require for their age-related health challenges. According to CanAge’s third annual Vaccine Report Care (2022-2023), Ontario has received a grade of “D,” prompting an urgent call for action within the province.
The high number of seniors in Ontario, accounting for 18.36% of the total population with over 2.77 million individuals aged 65 and older, highlights the critical need for effective vaccination strategies. CanAge emphasizes the importance of updated pneumococcal vaccine supply and guidelines, highlighting that the province has not implemented the recommendations provided by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) for over six months.
Laura Tamblyn Watts, the founder and CEO of CanAge, stresses the significance of best-in-class pneumonia vaccinations, particularly for vulnerable seniors and those residing in long-term or congregate care settings. The organization warns against the deadly consequences of infectious pneumonia, emphasizing that many deaths can be prevented with the new pneumonia vaccine.
CanAge also questions the accessibility of vaccines in Ontario, particularly given that pharmacists in the province have a broader scope of practice. The organization raises concerns regarding the lack of public funding and availability of shingles and pneumonia vaccines at pharmacies for older adults.
In addition to pneumococcal vaccinations, CanAge advocates for the broad distribution of NACI-recommended pneumonia vaccines, similar to flu vaccines. They suggest considering pharmacy distribution, reinforcing the importance of making these crucial vaccines widely accessible.
While Ontario does provide public funding for shingles vaccines for seniors aged 65-70, CanAge suggests implementing a catch-up campaign for those who may have missed their opportunity to receive the shingles vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CanAge Vaccine Report Card can be accessed online for further details on the vaccination landscape in Canada.
– Pneumococcal vaccine: A vaccine that protects against pneumococcal bacteria, which can cause serious illnesses such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.
– National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI): A committee in Canada that provides recommendations on the use of vaccines to provincial and territorial governments.
– CanAge Vaccine Report Care (2022-2023)