Influenza vaccine injection. (Black Press files)

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

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Castlegar City Council at a January Zoom meeting. Clockwise: Maria McFaddin, Bergen Price, Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff, Cherryl MacLeod, Florio Vassilakakis, Dan Rye.
Castlegar council temporarily fills vacancies left by departing mayor

Councillor Dan Rye will serve as the acting mayor until the byelection

Interior Health has set up a COVID-19 testing site in Castlegar. Photo: Betsy Kline
No new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Castlegar for Jan. 3-9

The BCDCD has begun to report more localized COVID-19 numbers in recent weeks

Community mental health workers are in high demand, and a new program at Selkirk College will provide opportunities in this field. File Photo
Selkirk College to train community mental health workers

Twelve students will complete two courses enabling them to work in health and human services

The City of Castlegar plans to move to renewable energy by 2050. Photo: Betsy Kline
City of Castlegar adopts West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy Plan

It represents a commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden arrives at U.S. Capitol for inauguration

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Most Read