Be prepared for flu season
This past Tuesday, I joined health minister Kelvin Goertzen at Concordia Place, where he announced our government’s commitment to make available a new, high-dose flu vaccine free of charge to seniors living in personal care homes.
Manitoba leads Canada in this initiative, which will protect against three strains of influenza expected to circulate in Manitoba this fall and winter. The decision to make this vaccine available free of charge is based on research indicating seniors’ home residents are more frequently hospitalized with flu-related complications, especially respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to these complications and this new vaccine offers additional protection against a common illness that is a leading cause of death for often susceptible seniors.
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living encourages all Manitobans to get the free flu vaccine each fall. It is typically available from health care providers in early October, and seniors are encouraged to get the free pneumococcal (Pneu-P-23) vaccine at the same time. These vaccines are available at public health offices, nursing stations, doctor’s offices, QuickCare Clinics, ACCESS Centres, or dedicated immunization clinics, but it is best to call first to make sure vaccines are available and in stock. Your local pharmacist can also provide immunization services to people seven years of age and older. More information about these vaccines is available at http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/flu/
These efforts to provide better protection against influenza reflect our government’s strong commitment to assist vulnerable Manitobans. Since being elected 16 months ago, we have removed more than 2000 people from the tax roll and increased rental assistance for 3,500 additional people. Manitoba’s health budget for 2017 is $250 million more than any year under the previous NDP government, while the budget for the Department of Families has increased by $39 million since our government was elected.
Manitobans have a long history of facing their challenges together; a legacy of protecting the weak and caring for those in need. We support each other — in good times and bad. Those are the values — the Manitoba values — on which our province was built. They are the values that are reflected in the approach our government is taking on fiscal issues, on health, on education, on families, on Indigenous relations, on municipal issues, on culture and heritage, on trade, on agriculture, on infrastructure. We’re responding to our challenges with reasonable, practical solutions.
Providing high-dose flu vaccines for seniors living in personal care homes is only one of those practical solutions. I encourage all Manitobans to get the flu shot this fall.
Read more by Andrew Micklefield.