WINNIPEG — Anticipating a greater demand than usual for the seasonal influenza vaccine, the Manitoba government is doubling its order and expanding the criteria for who can receive it.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen says with COVID-19, this flu season will be even more difficult.
“By doubling our order of high-dose influenza vaccine and making it available to more people at high risk of contracting the flu, we are able to protect them, as well as our health-care providers on the front line,” Friesen said.
The high-dose influenza vaccine is typically formulated for people 65 years of age and older. This year, the province has expanded the criteria to allow more seniors to get the vaccine beginning in the fall, including:
• Residents of supportive and assisted living housing
• Those who are newly incarcerated or transferred from other federal or out-of-province correctional facilities
• Those receiving home care services while on a waiting list for admission into a long-term care facility
• Living on a First Nation or remote communities
• Living north of the 53rd parallel of latitude
Manitoba will order up to 21,500 high-dose vaccines for the 2020-21 influenza season — an increase from 11,500 doses last year.
The province says more than 26.3 percent of all Manitobans received the flu vaccine in 2019-20, the highest ever. During the same flu season, 29 Manitobans died from the virus.
The vaccine is expected to start arriving at pharmacies and doctor’s clinics in late September.