The 65+ age group comprises 15% of Canadians. However, this small group also represents:
70% of all flu-related hospitalizations
90% of flu-related deaths.
This population is also significantly more likely to develop secondary infections, such as pneumonia.
Fluzone HD (high dose) is a flu vaccine introduced to the Canadian market in 2016, indicated specifically for individuals over the age of 65. It has been used extensively in the US for the past several years. It is not offered as part of the Alberta government's influenza campaign. It costs $80 a dose.
Fluzone HD is very effective, as shown in a study of around 32,000 people published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Specifically, they found a 24.2% reduced risk of contracting the flu compared to the regular flu vaccine.
For those patients with a private drug coverage plan in addition to Alberta Senior's Blue Cross, we can check to see if it is covered. Many major insurers, such as PSHCP, will cover the majority of the cost of this vaccine.