Universal Influenza Program Frequently Asked Questions From Immunizers

The Universal Influenza Vaccine Program provides annual influenza vaccine free to all individuals living in Prince Edward Island.

What vaccine is publicly available for this influenza season?  

The following influenza vaccines are available for the Universal Influenza Program for the 2019-2020 influenza season:

  1. QIV (Fluzone®) injectable inactivated quadrivalent vaccine for both adults and children 6 months of age and older.
  2. HD TIV (Fluzone High Dose®) for residents aged 65+ in Long Term Care (LTC) and Community Care Facilities (CCF) as well as those in acute care awaiting placement in LTC and CCF
Please note that FluMist® is not available in Canada this year.

Why isn’t the High Dose Influenza vaccine publicly funded for everyone aged 65+  in PEI?

Residents aged 65+ living in LTC and CCF are at increased risk of hospitalization and serious complications from influenza (including death). For the second year, PEI is providing HD TIV to residents aged 65+ living in, or in hospital awaiting transfer to LTC or CCF, in an effort to protect residents and prevent influenza outbreaks in these facilities.

The current offering of QIV vaccine for seniors in PEI is in keeping with national recommendations, Canadian provincial / territorial programs, as well as immunization programs in many high income countries. At this time, additional studies are needed to confirm if enhanced benefits are consistent across seasons and vaccine strains to justify the significantly higher cost of purchasing HD TIV vaccine for public programs in PEI.

With knowledge of a specific patient’s risk factors for severe illness due to influenza, providers may wish to inform individual clients of the availability of a high dose influenza vaccine.

Who should receive the seasonal influenza vaccine?

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends influenza vaccination for all individuals aged 6 months and older, with particular focus on the priority groups listed below:

People at high risk of influenza-related complications or hospitalization

  • Children and adults (including pregnant women) with the following chronic health conditions:
    • cardiac or pulmonary disorders (including bronchopulmonary dysplasia, cystic fibrosis and asthma);
    • diabetes mellitus and other metabolic diseases;
    • cancer, immune compromising conditions (due to underlying disease and/or therapy);
    • renal disease;
    • anemia or hemoglobinopathy;
    • morbid obesity (BMI≥40);
    • children and adolescents (age 6 months to 18 years) with conditions treated for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid, because of the potential increase of Reye’s syndrome associated with influenza; and
    • neurologic or neurodevelopment conditions (includes neuromuscular, neurovascular, neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental conditions, and seizure disorders [and, for children, includes febrile seizures and isolated developmental delay], but excludes migraines and psychiatric conditions without neurological conditions).
  • People of any age who are residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities;
  • People ≥65 years of age;
  • All children 6 to 59 months of age;
  • All  pregnant women (the risk of influenza-related hospitalization increases with length of gestation, i.e. it is higher in the third than in the second trimester); and
  • Indigenous Peoples.

People capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk

  • Health care and other care providers in facilities and community settings who, through their activities, are capable of transmitting influenza to those at high risk of influenza complications;
  • Household contacts (adults and children) of individuals at high risk of influenza-related complications (whether or not the individual at high risk has been immunized):
    • household contacts of individuals at high risk, as listed in the section above;
    • household contacts of infants <6 months of age as these infants are at high risk of complications from influenza but cannot receive influenza vaccine; and
    • members of a household expecting a newborn during the influenza season.
  • Those providing regular child care to children <59 months of age, whether in or out of the home; and
  • Those who provide services within closed or relatively closed settings to persons at high risk (e.g. crew on a ship).

Others

  • People who provide essential community services; and
  • People in direct contact during culling operations with poultry infected with avian influenza.

What training do I need to administer the influenza vaccine?

All immunizers must read and understand the Annual Influenza Policy. Nurses are required to complete the on-line education module prior to every influenza season.

How can I order influenza vaccines?

Immunizers in physician offices/clinics, hospitals, and long term/community care homes can order influenza vaccine from the Provincial Pharmacy by completing the online order form.

Pharmacies will continue to receive vaccine through pharmacy distribution sites.

What are my responsibilities as an Immunizer?

Immunizers are required to adhere to the Annual Influenza Policy and to record and report all vaccines administered to the Chief Public Health Office under the Immunization Regulations of the Public Health Act R.S.P.E.I. 1988, Cap. P-30.1.

How do I report vaccine administrations?

Immunizers are encouraged to electronically report vaccine administrations. If you already enter client information into an electronic health system database (such as CIS, ICS, ISM, DIS, PeopleSoft), then you are already fulfilling your reporting requirements under the Immunization Regulations. Those who are unable to report through an electronic health system database complete the Immunization Reporting Form and submit via fax, mail, or email. If you have any questions about your reporting requirements, please contact the Chief Public Health Office at (902) 368-4996.

What does the Chief Public Health Office do with the vaccine reports?

The Chief Public Health Office maintains an electronic Immunization Registry that is accessible to Immunizers to view a patient’s vaccine history. For information on how you can access the Immunization Registry, please contact the Chief Public Health Office at (902) 368-4996.

What do I do with leftover vaccines at the end of the season?

Immunizers are responsible for returning any unused vaccines to the Provincial Pharmacy. Unused and expired vaccines are returned at the end of the season to the manufacturer for a rebate. Please ensure that your name and location is clearly identified on any returned vaccines.

What do I do if there is an adverse event following immunization (AEFI)?

All immunizers must monitor the health and safety of the individuals to whom influenza vaccine is administered; Immunizers shall have in place protocols for management of anaphylaxis and influenza vaccine must only be administered in settings where these protocols are in place.

All unexpected adverse events following administration of influenza vaccine must be reported to the CPHO within 24 hours as soon as observed or reported using the Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) form.

Published date: 
August 30, 2019
Health and Wellness

General Inquiries

Department of Health and Wellness
4th Floor North, Shaw Building
105 Rochford Street
Charlottetown, PE   C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-6414
Fax: 902-368-4121

DeptHW@gov.pe.ca