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It’s Not All About COVID: Seniors’ Vaccines and How MPGL Can Help Them Stay Current

One of the most widely discussed topics in the spring of 2021 is Canada’s rollout of the COVID vaccines, and how it affects long-term care residents in particular. When it comes to routine immunizations, a topic that is dwarfed by the pandemic but important to highlight, is the alarmingly low rate seniors are vaccinated against preventable diseases, such as the seasonal flu, pneumonia and shingles.

According to CanAge – the national seniors’ advocacy organization – only 3% of seniors in Canada are up to date on their routine vaccinations, which are imperative for preventing severe health outcomes and hospitalizations.

“For many seniors, getting the vaccinations they need is quite literally a matter of life and death,” says Laura Tamblyn Watts, CEO, CanAge.

CanAge’s Adult Vaccination in Canada: Cross-Country Report Card 2021, the first report of its kind, assigned a grade to each province/territory on its immunization efforts, and the resulting average across Canada is a grade of D-. Most provinces/territories do not provide adequate education to seniors on their recommended vaccine schedule, with the information found in Seniors’ Guides often out of date or lacking useful vaccine information. The goal of this report is to demonstrate to provincial governments the acute need to keep older Canadians healthy and safe with these expert-recommended vaccines.

At Medical Pharmacies, our Better Coordinated Cross-Sectoral Medication Reconciliation (BOOMR®) program helps to address this vaccination-related oversight. The award-winning program is a pharmacist-led and resident-centered medication reconciliation process for improving resident safety upon transitions of care to nursing and retirement homes.

As part of the BOOMR program, our transitional care pharmacists gather each resident’s vaccination records through a comprehensive review of medical and electronic health records, along with the resident/family’s concerns and care goals. The pharmacists then provide recommendations to the healthcare team at the home to ensure our residents are up to date on their immunizations and are receiving optimal care.

Regardless of the inconsistent public information provided to seniors and their loved ones about routine vaccinations, we have the ability to support them when they transition into continuing care communities. BOOMR is just one of the many programs at Medical Pharmacies that works to improve residents’ health outcomes, and that includes ensuring they receive the preventative vaccinations they need.

To learn more about BOOMR and how it can help keep residents’ vaccination schedules current, email sales@medicalpharmacies.com.

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