Global Coalition on Aging Partners with Canadian Organizations to Provide Vital Information Directly to Canada’s Caregivers on How and Why to Protect Themselves This Flu Season

The unique public education campaign highlights the difference between COVID-19 and influenza vaccines and opportunities to protect oneself against both viruses through a single visit to the doctor or pharmacy.

New York, NEW YORK and Ottawa, ONTARIO (September 27, 2022)—The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA), Immunize Canada, and other leading organizations across Canada have partnered on a unique public education campaign highlighting the need and opportunity for Canada’s caregivers to protect themselves against influenza. The education campaign, which launched this month, features an infographic and sharable social media materials, in English and French, providing usable data about influenza and immunization directly to Canada’s 8 million caregivers.

The campaign highlights the danger that a case of influenza poses to caregivers and those in their care, information about the different influenza vaccines available in Canada, and convenient opportunities to fit vaccination against influenza into a caregiver’s already busy day, such as getting the vaccine at the same time as a COVID-19 booster.

In an average year, 20% of Canadians will become ill with influenza, leading to 12,000 hospitalizations alone and negative health impacts that extend far beyond a case of the flu.

“Few people realize that just having the flu increases your risk of a heart attack by six times and your risk of pneumonia by eight times. These kinds of catastrophic health impacts are particularly devastating to caregivers and their families,” explained Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging. “Further, the stress of the caregiver role can lead to even greater susceptibility to the flu. Vaccination against influenza is one important way that caregivers can safeguard their own health as well as those in their care,” said Hodin.

Yet most Canadian caregivers are unprotected. “Only 42% of Canadian adults age 18 and older received the vaccine during the two influenza seasons between 2018 and 2020,” said Dr. Anne Pham-Huy, Chair of Immunize Canada. “Data from Australia suggests that the 2022-2023 flu season may be particularly bad, making it even more important that Canadian caregivers receive their seasonal influenza vaccination.”

The education campaign materials were developed in consultation with more than a dozen organizations across Canada, from caregiver and patient organizations, to academic and research institutions and private sector experts. The materials are easily accessible and sharable via social media and available for public use.

For more information or to partner on this campaign, contact Susan Wile Schwarz at [email protected].

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