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An action plan that will help seniors in Ontario breathe easier

Nov 13, 2017

The Lung Association applauds the Government of Ontario’s recent announcement of developing Aging with Confidence: Ontario’s Action Plan for Seniors aimed at giving one of our most vulnerable populations more choices about their care – including healthcare.

One component of this plan, something The Lung Association has been advocating for, is the introduction of a free annual high-dose influenza vaccine, which will start in the 2018-19 flu season as part of the Ontario Universal Influenza Immunization Program.

Providing a high-dose flu vaccination that has four times the usual dose is important for individuals ages 65 and older because their immune system response to the standard flu vaccine is not as strong as it is in younger people, which makes them more susceptible to the virus – even though they may feel healthy otherwise.

Having free access to this high-dose vaccination will better protect them from the potentially debilitating effects of this viral infection.

It is estimated that there are an average of approximately 4,750 influenza-associated hospitalizations and 1,365 influenza-associated deaths each year in Ontario. The highest mortality rates typically occurring among adults 65 years of age and older.

This move is a step in the right direction in creating more access to a choice of healthcare options for those who need it most and to better protect the breathing of seniors in Ontario.