With many Nova Scotia without access to the high-dose flu vaccine in the midst of a pandemic, the Progressive Conservatives are questioning why the Liberal government did not prepare by ordering enough to meet demand.
PC MLA Elizabeth Smith-McCrossin R.N., says Nova Scotians should have confidence that the government is thinking ahead. She says our limited supply shows the government either dropped the ball, or purposely left out seniors from it’s planning.
"If the government understands the need for a high-dose flu vaccine, then they should make it available to everyone over the age of 65,” said Smith-McCrossin. “Our seniors should not be discriminated against if they have made the choice to stay in their home rather than move to a long-term care facility.”
In Nova Scotia, seniors in nursing homes receive the high-dose shot free of charge, while other seniors have no guarantee of receiving it at all.
“I’d like to know when and why the government decided some seniors weren’t a priority,” continued Smith-McCrossin.
Prince Edward Island and Ontario made it a priority to order the high-dose vaccines for seniors. Barbara Adams, the MLA for Cole Harbour - Eastern Passage says that this begs the question: When did former Minister of Health and potential Stephen McNeil replacement Randy Delorey submit the request for high-dose flu vaccines?
“This is not showing dignity for our seniors,” says Adams. “Both seniors living in long-term care homes and those living in their own homes require the high-dose version of the vaccine, but only long-term care homes are scheduled to receive it.”
Adams says many seniors can’t afford the $100 price tag to pay out-of-pocket.
The high-dose vaccine better equips seniors in combating the influenza virus. Flu season often increases the burden on hospitals making it important for people to get their flu shots this year as COVID-19 remains a reality.
“If the McNeil Liberal government cannot properly plan to vaccinate seniors leading into flu season,” asked Adams. “How will they be able to secure, deliver and administer a COVID-19 vaccine for all Nova Scotians when the time comes?”
“The Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia is 100% in support of the Nova Scotia Government providing the high dose vaccine to our senior population, regardless of where they reside.”
-Allison Bodnar, CEO (PANS).