CSL Seqirus commends the Government of Quebec for maintaining universal access to the influenza (flu) vaccine as part of the province’s Immunization Program for the 2023-24 flu season. Announced on May 30, the recently renewed program provides free access to influenza vaccines for all residents of Quebec who wish to receive it, to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses during periods of high transmission and avoid creating increased strain on frontline medical services.1
Quebec’s decision to continue providing the influenza vaccine free to its residents is key in the province’s efforts to help prevent the disease and its complications. While continuing to offer a universal immunization program this fall is beneficial to people of all ages, access is especially critical for individuals at higher risk of developing complications from influenza, such as those aged 65 and over, have chronic health conditions, young children and pregnant women.2
By continuing to include the influenza vaccine in the Quebec Immunization Program, the province is taking the right steps to help protect residents from severe illness and mortality due to influenza, as well as reduce hospitalizations this flu season. CSL Seqirus strongly encourages the Quebec government to make its commitment to influenza prevention permanent by providing access to free vaccination for all residents every flu season. Additionally, as people aged 65 years and older are at highest risk of developing additional complications and secondary infections,3 we also encourage including an enhanced influenza vaccine to offer these Quebecers an option that helps provide protection.4
As one of the largest influenza vaccine providers in the world, CSL Seqirus, based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is a major contributor to the prevention of influenza globally and is committed to supporting Quebec’s Immunization Program.5
Influenza causes an average of 12,200 hospitalizations and approximately 3,500 deaths each year in Canada.6 Although influenza can affect anyone, adults 65 years of age and older are at higher risk due to immunosenescence, the age-associated decline of the immune system.
1 Pour le patient - Québec annonce le maintien de la gratuité du vaccin contre l'influenza: May 2023. Retrieved from https://www.quebec.ca/nouvelles/actualites/details/pour-le-patient-quebec-annonce-le-maintien-de-la-gratuite-du-vaccin-contre-linfluenza-48247. Accessed June 2023.
2 Pour le patient – Québec annonce le maintien de la gratuité du vaccin contre l’influenza : May 2023. Retrieved from https://www.quebec.ca/nouvelles/actualites/details/pour-le-patient-quebec-annonce-le-maintien-de-la-gratuite-du-vaccin-contre-linfluenza-48247. Accessed June 2023.
3 National Institute on Ageing (2021). Lessons Learned: What Successful COVID-19 Immunization Efforts Taught Us About Improving Vaccine Coverage Among Older Canadians for Other Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Toronto, ON: National Institute on Ageing, Ryerson University. Retrieved from https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5c2fa7b03917eed9b5a436d8/t/61def51ac8568f1c6d94fd2f/1642001709606/NIA_Vaccine+Hesitancy+-+Final+-+Updated+Dec+2021.pdf. Accessed June 2023.
4 BCCDC: Influenza vaccines for adults 65 years of age and older: Question and Answer Document: August 2022. Retrieved from http://www.bccdc.ca/resource-gallery/Documents/Guidelines%20and%20Forms/Guidelines%20and%20Manuals/Immunization/Vaccine%20Info/Influenza-vaccines-adults-65-older-QandA.pdf#page=1&zoom=100,93,649. Accessed June 2023.
5 CSL. (2023). CSL Seqirus. Retrieved from https://www.csl.com/we-are-csl/our-businesses-and-products/csl-seqirus. Accessed July 2023.
6 Government of Canada. (2020). Canadian Immunization Guide Chapter on Influenza and Statement on Seasonal Influenza Vaccine for 2020–2021. Retrieved from: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/vaccines-immunization/canadian-immunization-guide-statement-seasonal-influenza-vaccine-2020-2021.html. Accessed June 2023.