CanAge - Canada's National Seniors Advocacy Organization
April 1, 2021
Description / Summary
The first of its kind in Canada, this report card assigns each provincial/territorial government an objective letter grade on their immunization efforts in the core areas of coverage (funding), access and public awareness. The findings were disappointing, albeit unsurprising given Canada’s historical under-prioritization of adult vaccination; much attention is paid to vaccinating our children every year, with older people left by the wayside.
Key findings include:
No province or territory in Canada is effectively vaccinating their older population against influenza, shingles or pneumonia — the "Big 3" vaccine-preventable illnesses. As a result, seniors are at risk of severe health outcomes, hospitalization and death.
Few provinces or territories are effectively educating their population about the importance of staying up to date with the recommended adult vaccine schedule.
The average grade across provinces and territories is D-.
The provinces with the highest grade are Ontario and PEI.
The provinces with the lowest grades are Nunavut, Yukon Territory and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Information about vaccinations is generally lacking or hard to navigate. Most Seniors' Guides are out of date and/or do not contain useful information about vaccinations.
The impetus of this important work was our policy platform ‘VOICES: A Roadmap to an Age-Inclusive Canada’ which, as you are no doubt aware, was unveiled last year. The report is grounded under “I: Infection Prevention and Disaster Response” and, specifically, several of its key issues:
Issue #16: Vaccine Uptake and Reform
Issue #17: Prioritize Adult Vaccination During COVID-19
Issue #18: Adult Vaccine Schedule and Uptake Tracking
Our goal with this report card is to arm policymakers with the facts and an unbiased view of the current landscape of adult vaccinations in their jurisdictions — information we hope will be used to make significant investments in the protection of older people across the country.
In this time of healthcare crisis brought on by COVID-19, we have a unique opportunity to rethink vaccine approvals, prioritization, budgeting and rollout. We ask that you read the report and share it widely.