Influenza vaccine injection. (Black Press files)

B.C. seniors need better vaccine protection, advocate says

Home support down, day programs up in annual rating

Both seniors and those around them need better vaccination coverage, B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie says in her latest report on services for the province’s growing elderly population.

“We clearly have work to do in terms of increasing our vaccination rates among seniors, and among the public as well,” Mackenzie said Thursday. “The public health data are clear: vaccine efficacy diminishes with age. The best protection for frail and elderly seniors is not only the vaccination of seniors, but of the people around them.”

The annual Monitoring Seniors Services report comes as B.C. is in the midst of its annual influenza vaccine drive. Opposition politicians have called for the health ministry to make a stronger version of the vaccine available for seniors.

The B.C. Nurses Union and other health care unions have negotiated changes to the health ministry policy in place since 2012 that requires people in health care facilities to get the annual flu shot or wear a mask in seniors’ and other patient care areas.

In a statement Dec. 4, the BCNU announced the agreement that means “an end to the punitive nature of the previous policy and is consistent with the flu prevention efforts released by the Office of the Provincial Health Officer.

“BCNU will continue to work with the employer to encourage vaccination as a strategy to reduce flu transmission and promote the use of personal protective equipment when appropriate.”

RELATED: Too many seniors in care homes, or at home on drugs

RELATED: Home care declines as B.C. seniors’ population grows

Mackenzie has been urging the government to increase home support services to keep seniors from moving to residential care before they need it. The latest report finds that the number of home support clients has increased 1.7 per cent by this year, but that is due to a five per cent increase in short-term home support, while long-term home care has declined slightly.

The report notes “marked improvement” in access to adult day programs for seniors, with 10 per cent more clients and a slight decrease in the waitlist for day programs.

Mackenzie’s report also called for more reliable information on “the magnitude and root causes of elder abuse and neglect.” She announced a review of the current system with recommendations to come in 2020.

The ministry’s seniors’ abuse and information line received 4,372 calls during the 2018-19 year, of which 31 per cent were related to abuse.

B.C.’s senior population has grown, from 14 per cent of the provincial population in 2008 to 18 per cent in 2018.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

PHOTOS: Cat owners in Chilliwack celebrate National Kitten Day

Chilliwack Progress readers share photos of their favourite felines on National Kitten Day

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

Foodies flock to drive-thru food truck fest in Chilliwack

The Greater Vancouver Food Truck Festival takes place this weekend at Chilliwack Heritage Park

UPDATE: Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Chilliwack

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read