VANCOUVER – Pamela Hardy will get her 11-year-old twins inoculated against flu when a vaccination program starts yet she’s stressed over how general wellbeing authorities will manage any congestion at clinics to diminish transmission of COVID-19.
“The primary concern is getting to the immunization and not having long setups,” Hardy said in a meeting from Coquitlam, B.C.
The Public Health Agency of Canada expects more popularity for flu antibodies in the midst of a potential one-two punch of COVID-19 and influenza diseases. It’s suggesting regions and domains consider interchange approaches to convey inoculation programs this season.
Spokeswoman Maryse Durette said the agency has ordered 13 million doses of the flu vaccine compared with 11.2 million last year.
A study by the University of British Columbia researchers published recently in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests the COVID-19 pandemic may be motivating more parents to get their children vaccinated for flu.
It found that was the case for 54 per cent of parents, up 16 percentage points from last year, among 3,000 families surveyed in Canada, the United States, Japan, Israel, Spain and Switzerland.
Hardy said she’s expecting health officials to provide early and widespread information about where flu vaccines will be available, especially because working parents who rely on high-risk grandparents for childcare will want to ensure their families are immunized.
“I think they need to go across all platforms because not everyone uses Facebook, especially older generations, and not everyone uses Twitter,” said Hardy.
Countries including Australia in the Southern Hemisphere have experienced lower than usual flu infections this year, likely due to COVID-19 precautions, such as mask-wearing, physical distancing and higher immunization rates for flu.
British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said flu rates in the Southern Hemisphere are a “slight glimmer of hope” but they do not always reflect what happens in the Northern Hemisphere so vaccination against flu is important, especially for high-risk populations like seniors who are also vulnerable to COVID-19.
“My message to people in British Columbia is we all need to do our part to stop influenza this year as well and that means getting the flu shot, even if this is the first time you’ve ever had it,” she said, adding the province is working to mount a strong campaign in an effort to increase immunization for flu.
Alberta Health spokesman Tom McMillan said a record amount of vaccine has been ordered this year, up by 23 per cent from last season.
Ontario’s Health Ministry has ordered an additional 300,000 doses and is exploring the purchase of more, said spokesman David Jensen.
Naus said only about 60 per cent of seniors typically get vaccinated but that decreases to 50 per cent for people with chronic heart and lung disease.
“Somebody with both influenza and COVID will be more ill,” Naus said, noting people with any type of respiratory sickness would be required to stay home and may have to get tested to rule out the novel coronavirus.
“The overall burden on the population, on the health-care system, on testing, all of that, will be reduced if we can have more people vaccinated to prevent flu transmission.”
Photo credit: JOE RAEDLE / GETTY IMAGES
News source: The Canadian Press