After Canadian Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor met with vaccine advisers this week, the government said in a statement Saturday that it expects the long-delayed recommendations for the flu vaccines for the upcoming flu season to be approved and offered within weeks.
“Minister Petitpas Taylor met with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to discuss the ongoing discussions on the flu vaccine availability for Canadians in 2019/20. On behalf of the Government of Canada, she welcomes the Committee’s decision to begin reviewing the Immunization Practices Guideline for children 5 years of age and younger, and anticipates the document will be released next week,” the statement reads.
In August, researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine said in a paper published in The Lancet that the advisory committee should recommend a new type of flu vaccine to combat the deadliest form of the illness. It might have better outcomes for people who are older and weaker, the scientists said.
A company known as MedImmune is working on an oral flu vaccine that could prevent infections caused by more than 60 percent of the flu strains that make people sick each year, according to the Canadian Press. Health Canada approved a version of the company’s vaccine in 2017, but it only works against influenza B, a strain associated with lower numbers of deaths each year.
This year, government advisers decided to evaluate two versions of the vaccines intended to protect against the two strains that have made this year the most lethal for influenza. They decided in April that one should be included in the immunization regimen and that another version should be prepared in case something should happen. But in August, the advisers decided they needed more time to prepare the recommendations.