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LETTER – B.C. healthcare system should start providing the quadrivalent flu vaccines to seniors

Dear editor,

Why won’t B.C. and our public health system provide seniors over 65 with the far more effective quadrivalent flu vaccine when every other province in Canada publicly offers some way to get this vaccine?

The manufacturer states that it prioritizes the delivery of this life-saving vaccine to provinces and territories that publicly offer this – so even if I can afford to pay for it – it is very difficult to obtain the limited amounts we will get in B.C.

The B.C. government feels there is “not enough evidence to justify the cost” – in spite of studies showing the vaccine is 24 per cent more effective in preventing the flu than standard vaccines in adults 65 and older.

Since seniors (according to the Centre for Disease Control) are more vulnerable to the flu due to weakened immune systems, and account for up to 90 per cent of seasonal flu deaths, with up to 70 per cent of flu-related hospitalizations – I would really like to know why B.C. and public health does not think this is important, especially during a pandemic when every hospital bed and ICU bed is so precious.

It seems the lip service about caring for our seniors is just that – lip service!

My husband is recovering from major surgery, is over 65, very vulnerable to the flu and our family doctor agrees he should have this vaccine – but even he has trouble locating and getting this vaccine! I am growing very tired of hearing B.C.’s public health officials wax poetic regarding caring about our seniors’ health – while in reality, making health care decisions that affect our health care choices – with finances being the main consideration and the real motivator.

I feel so sorry that I ever voted NDP, and as an angry and worried senior here in the Comox Valley – I won’t make that mistake again. Politicians need to understand that there are repercussions to the choices they and their political parties make.

Terry Chaney,

Courtenay

flu seasonLetter to the Editor