A national seniors advocacy group gives the province a D- when it comes to protecting older residents with vaccines.
The National Seniors Advocacy Organization of Canada, also known as CanAge, advocates on behalf of people over the age of 65 in Canada.
The organization’s CEO, Laura Tamblyn Watts, says the advocacy group looks at three key areas before a*signing grades.
“First there is what is publicly funded for vaccines, and those are the vaccines recommended by NACI,” Tamblyn Watts said.
“The second thing we’re doing is looking at how accessible these vaccines are. And the third thing we do is judge based on how the government communicates about adult vaccination.
More than 200,000 seniors live in Saskatchewan and getting vaccinated will give them a better chance of leading healthy lives, advocates say.
Dr. Nazeem Muhajarine, professor and chair of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan’s Faculty of Medicine, says older adults are particularly vulnerable and vaccines are like an insurance policy for protect them against disease.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of vaccines, especially for this demographic. You know, the elderly people we are talking about are people over 65 years old,” Muhajarine said.
However, according to CanAge, funding and distribution of vaccines recommended by NACI are not enough.
There are three vaccines that are essential to adult health: shingles, pneumonia and the flu. And while the provincial government has done a good job funding flu vaccines for seniors, Tamblyn Watts says it’s failing to fund other important areas.
“There is no coverage for the shingles vaccine. NACI recommends the shingles vaccine, which is very effective. It’s just not available unless you buy it privately for several hundred dollars in Saskatchewan,” Tamblyn Watts said.
“The final piece is we’re doing a really poor job of getting pneumonia vaccinations in getting vaccine coverage and getting people into arms, especially the most vulnerable. Now that a brand new pneumonia vaccine has been around for about six months, there doesn’t seem to be any plan to do better and increase that coverage to make it the most modern.
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“So we’re really behind in Saskatchewan. »
While the province received $61 million from the federal government earlier this year to fund health care, Tamblyn Watts says more proactive measures are needed so our seniors can get vaccinated.
PKBNEWS contacted the Ministry of Health for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.
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