Canada’s largest flu vaccine supplier, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), is having difficulty providing enough flu vaccines this year. The trouble is pinpointed at the production facility in Ste. Foy, Quebec, and leaves the country with 800,000 fewer shots than needed.
In response to the shortage, the Public Health Agency of Canada has ordered 1.2 million doses of the shot from its other three suppliers. According to the spokesperson for the agency, there will not be a shortage of flu vaccine this season. However, rumors of bad vaccines and supplier problems have some citizens re-thinking their annual immunization plans.
The Public Health Agency is continuing to encourage everyone to get vaccinated this year. All vaccines are subject to rigorous testing and there is no reason to fear you will get a bad vaccine. The expected delivery of GSK’s vaccines is the third week of October, but shots from the other suppliers will begin arriving by the middle of September as planned.
Last flu season, influenza was responsible for 344 deaths and over 5,000 hospitalizations. Along with pregnant women, infants and those with compromised immune systems, seniors are at the greatest risk. All seniors over the age of 65 are encouraged to get immunized against influenza. Because a flu shot can take up to two weeks to provide full protection, it’s important that seniors make appointments early in the fall to provide protection for the entire season which generally starts in November.
As a leading provider of home care in Toronto, we know the importance that flu shots can have in protecting a senior’s health and longevity. Along with getting the flu shot, family caregivers should also make sure that loved ones under their care are hydrated, wash their hands regularly, and avoid close contact with others who may be sick.
If you provide care for an aging parent or loved one and are concerned they have contracted the flu, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Especially for seniors, influenza can lead to other respiratory illnesses whose risk and impact can be minimized if the proper treatment and medication is provided early.
For more information about care for aging parents and loved ones, reach out to the home care experts at Home Care Assistance of Toronto. While we specialize in Toronto live-in home care, we also provide hourly care services to seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living. Call 416-448-8777 and speak with a Care Manager – we’re available to answer questions 24/7.