World Immunization Week

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Take control of your health for World Immunization Week

World Immunization Week, led by the World Health Organization every year during the last week of April, is a time to talk about the critical role vaccines play in keeping older people safe and healthy. 

For us at CanAge, that conversation never stops.

We’ve been tirelessly pushing all levels of government in Canada to work together to ensure every older adult has free and easy access to the best-in-class vaccines they need to stay protected against preventable diseases like seasonal flu, shingles and pneumonia. 

We don’t accept that only an estimated 3% of adults are up to date with their vaccines, and neither should you! As older people across the country continue to wait in line for their COVID-19 vaccines, it’s never been more important to protect yourself by keeping up to date with your shots.

We promise to keep calling for changes in the way Canada approves, purchases and distributes vaccines to our aging population until no senior is left unprotected. This is our commitment to our members—real older people and their caregivers across the country who deserve to live without fear of contracting an easily preventable and life-threatening illness during the pandemic (and beyond).

We’re asking the federal and provincial governments to:

  • Fully cover the recommended best-in-class seniors’ vaccines for influenza, shingles and pneumonia, as recommended by NACI (National Advisory Committee on Immunization) 
  • Streamline vaccine approval and purchasing at the federal level
  • Improve public awareness and education on the importance of vaccines
  • Ensure all older adults and their caregivers are prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine (including the vast majority living at home)
  • Include all people 60 and older during the pandemic as “designated immunocompromised” due to their high-risk status for infection
  • We use our policy platform ‘VOICES: A roadmap to an Age-Inclusive Canada’ to make these and over 100 other evidence-based recommendations.

Get protected

The best thing you can do this week to take control of your health is to ensure you’re up to date with your routine vaccinations. 

Use the handy schedule below to track your shots and talk to your doctor about getting any you’re missing.

CanAge is working for you

Better immunization is a core pillar of our advocacy. Here’s are some highlights of what we’ve done recently to send a strong message that you and your loved ones deserve the best available vaccines.

Earlier this year, CanAge published a groundbreaking and scathing report, Adult Vaccination in Canada: Cross-Country Report Card 2021’. The average overall score across the country was a D-, raising serious concerns for the health and safety of Canada’s more than 6.8 million seniors.

Budget submissions

CanAge made several actionable recommendations in federal and provincial budget submissions over the last few months. Some of them have been included in funding, but most have not. 

Our Federal Budget submission recommendations included:

  • National Vaccination Strategy. Invest in an integrated National Vaccination Strategy to provide for the current, and future needs of Canadians.
  • National Adult Vaccination Schedule. Create and fund a National Vaccination schedule, similar to existing vaccine schedules for children
  • National Vaccination Registry. Create and invest in an integrated, accessible and modern National Vaccination Registry

Our Ontario budget submission recommendations included:

  • Deploy immediate COVID-19 vaccinations for seniors in long-term care (LTC), congregate care and community settings. Create drive-thru and door-to-door vaccination systems and walkable community vaccination hubs.
  • Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) Hub program.

While the province performs better than other parts of Canada on adult immunization, there is more work to be done to ensure no senior is left unprotected.

Our Quebec budget submission recommendations included:

  • Fund programs for best in class vaccines for all seniors (65 and over) and also those who are immunodeficient.
  • Create and fund a vaccination program against shingles, the best in its class, to reach all people 50 years and older.
Unfortunately, Quebec has left serious gaps in their budget on immunization. We’ll continue putting pressure on the government to make the changes needed to protect seniors.

Learn more

Here are some other useful resources you can use to learn more about vaccines and the critical role they play in protecting you from preventable illness and potentially long lasting harm.

Find out more about World Immunization Week

General Vaccine and Immunization Information

Influenza

Seasonal influenza epidemics occur annually in Canada, generally in the late fall and winter months. Influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5-10% in adults.

There are several specifically formulated flu shots for seniors, but coverage and access is inconsistent across the country. 

To learn more visit:

Pneumonia

Streptococcus pneumoniae infections are a major cause of illness and death worldwide.

  • Invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) is most common in the very young, the elderly and persons at high risk due to underlying medical conditions or lifestyle factors..
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide 23-valent (Pneu-P-23) vaccine efficacy against IPD is estimated to be 50% to 80% among the elderly and in high-risk groups

To learn more visit:

Shingles

In recent studies, the lifetime risk of Herpes zoster has been estimated to be as high as 30% in the general population. In Canada, it is estimated that each year there are 130,000 new cases of HZ, 17,000 cases of Post-herpetic neuralgia and 20 deaths.

The newer and more effective shingles vaccine is not covered in most provinces, leaving the vast majority of older Canadians without the best available protection.

  • Nearly 1 in 3 Canadians develops HZ in their lifetime. The incidence and severity of both HZ and PHN increases sharply after 50 years.
  • Treatment options for HZ and PHN have limited effectiveness.
  • HZ vaccines are safe and effective in reducing the incidence of HZ and PHN

To learn more visit:

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