BC United Announces Free Shingles Vaccine Program for Seniors

VANCOUVER (June 8, 2024) – BC United Leader Kevin Falcon revealed a new initiative today that would provide free shingles vaccines to all British Columbians over the age of 50. The announcement comes after years of advocacy from BC United and B.C.’s independent Senior’s Advocate for such a program.

Falcon emphasized the importance of ensuring that seniors have access to the shingles vaccine, which can be a costly barrier for many. With approximately one in three Canadians developing shingles in their lifetime, the vaccine is crucial in preventing this painful and debilitating illness, especially for those aged 50 and older.

While the vaccine is publicly funded in several other provinces and territories, including Ontario, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and Quebec, B.C. has lagged behind in providing this essential healthcare support for seniors.

BC United’s initiative aligns with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and B.C. Seniors Advocate Dan Levitt, who have both highlighted the importance of addressing the health risks associated with shingles.

By eliminating out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine, BC United aims to ensure that all seniors, regardless of income, can access this vital healthcare service. The party also sees the program as a way to reduce the burden on the healthcare system by preventing hundreds of thousands of physician visits for shingles cases each year.

BC United plans to fund this initiative through a rollback of taxpayer dollars that have been allocated to the Premier’s Office under the current NDP government. The party believes that reallocating these funds towards essential healthcare services for seniors is a common-sense approach to addressing the needs of the aging population in British Columbia.