Flu vaccination plan (announced last fall) cancelled: Michael
NDP Health Critic Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) is questioning government’s commitment to public health, in light of reports that the Department of Health and Community Services is backtracking on its decision last fall to provide the influenza vaccine free of charge to all who want it. Part of that plan would have been giving residents of the province the option to get the shot from pharmacists.
“We have learned that Government is cancelling its plan for free universal flu vaccination that would include pharmacists along with physicians as providers,” Michael said in the House of Assembly today. “On Oct. 29 past Government said more people should get the shot to protect those who are vulnerable, but this cost-cutting measure is doing the opposite.
“I ask the Premier is his Minister flip-flopping on a universal vaccine program at the expense of public health in this province?”
The NDP MHA pointed to an analysis in Ontario, which demonstrated health cost savings as a result of a similar program.
“An evaluation of Ontario’s free universal flu vaccine program shows a reduction of flu cases by 61 percent and mortality by 28 percent. Health care costs due to the flu dropped by 52 percent,” said Michael.
“It is a public health program that saves lives and makes economic sense.
I ask the Premier why has his government chosen this petty short-term cut over significant savings in hospitalization costs?”
Michael adds she shouldn’t have to point out to government that for many rural communities the pharmacist is the only health care professional readily available, and it makes sense to include them in a universal free vaccination program covered by MCP.