Written by By Kyunghee Park, CNN
Canada, under the auspices of Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), is expanding its use of the seasonal flu vaccine. No longer will travelers travelling to this country be required to take a side line from their serum to the hospital.
Part of the reason for the protocol change is that vaccination enables better detection of influenza strains in the Northern Hemisphere by showing immunization may have resulted in greater proportion of protection, explained Dr. Grant MacDonald, deputy director of the PHAC’s National Influenza Centre.
One downside is that, for the last eight years, the U.S. government has charged travelers to the North American country for the seasonal flu shot — although the difference in price is reportedly a negligible sum for American visitors.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu shot is available from several local health care facilities and public pharmacies, and is free to those who are uninsured or on Medicaid.
According to a press release issued Tuesday, the move is part of the government’s ongoing effort to “increase access to life-saving vaccines through a variety of affordability strategies.”
This initiative also includes revising the policies for using seasonal vaccines in association with government-subsidized housing units, for example; or the exclusion of vaccines that could be harmful in the short term from several health programs.
The Canadian government also added that it had recently removed some of the exemptions for recipients of government-subsidized housing to vaccine coverage; and said it is reviewing the collection of certain other data to help set “better policies” about vaccine coverage.