Province to buy several thousand high-dose flu vaccines for people in long-term care facilities

The provincial government says thousands of people living in long-term care facilities will have access to a new flu vaccine this fall.

It says the high-dose vaccine is significantly more effective for the elderly than the standard vaccine, and it will be buying more than 7,000 doses to distribute to adults in long-term and residential care facilities throughout Nova Scotia.

Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey says people living in those facilities have the highest rates of severe illness and hospitalizations from the flu and will benefit the most from added protection. 

Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health says the standard flu vaccine is best for the general population. 

Dr. Robert Strang says evidence shows that for elderly people with multiple chronic conditions, the high-dose vaccine yields better protection and fewer complications from the flu.

Adults 65 and older represent only 15 per cent of the Canadian population, but experience 67 per cent of influenza-related complications and 88 per cent of influenza-related deaths.

The H3N2 strain, which is currently the predominant circulating Influenza A strain in Canada, produces particularly severe illness in the elderly.