CanAge, Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization, is applauding a recent announcement made by the Government of Yukon that the best-in-class shingles vaccine (Shingrix) is now available to all adults aged 65-79 in pharmacies.
The previous age cutoff for the vaccine was 70 and options for where to get the required 2 doses were limited and unclear, leaving many older people in the territory vulnerable to shingles—a debilitating and painful virus that can lead to permanent nerve damage and loss of vision.
The announcement follows a critical review of the territory’s adult immunization efforts by CanAge earlier this year, which placed Yukon among the worst performers across Canada in vaccinating seniors.
“By expanding coverage and access to the recommended shingles vaccine (Shingrix), the Government of Yukon has taken a major step toward keeping seniors in the territory safe from what can be a truly excruciating viral infection with life-long effects,” says Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO of CanAge. “Other parts of Canada need to step up and follow the strong example set by Yukon.”
Earlier this year, CanAge released Adult Vaccination in Canada, a first-of-its-kind report that assigned each province a territory a letter grade on how well they vaccinate older adults against common and preventable illnesses like seasonal flu, shingles and pneumonia. The Government of Yukon was given a failing overall grade of F due to significant gaps in vaccine coverage, limited access and lack of clear information for the general public about where to get their shots.
“This announcement will definitely earn Yukon a higher score in this year’s vaccine report card,” notes Tamblyn Watts, in reference to the upcoming second edition of Adult Vaccination in Canada, set to be released in early 2022. “While there are still important gaps to be filled in how the territory vaccinates older adults, we’re glad the Government of Yukon took to heart the recommendations we made earlier this year and are already taking steps to improve.”
Note: CanAge is Canada’s National Seniors’ Advocacy Organization, a non-profit working to improve the lives of older adults through advocacy, policy, and community engagement.
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