Influenza vaccination rates for selected high-risk groups | HQCA Focus

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Influenza vaccination rates for selected high-risk groups

Percentage of people in groups that are at high risk of complications from influenza, who received the influenza vaccine. (see data definition)

*Data courtesy of Alberta Health Services and Alberta Health

What do you see?

  • Are there differences in the percentage of people who received an influenza vaccine between AHS Zones or PCNs that are mainly urban (e.g., Calgary, Edmonton) compared to those that are mainly rural (e.g., North, Central, South)? What factors could account for this?
  • Are there differences between the percentage of people in different high-risk groups who received an influenza vaccine? What could be done to increase the number of people in these groups who get vaccinated?
  • Is the percentage of patients in these high-risk groups who receive the influenza vaccine increasing over time?

Understanding influenza vaccination rates

The influenza vaccine reduces the risk of getting influenza (‘the flu’) for people who are vaccinated and those they come in contact with. Influenza is a viral infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. Serious symptoms and complications of influenza (e.g., difficulty breathing, pneumonia, death) are more common in some groups of people like those in the high-risk groups reported above. The infection is easily spread through the air which makes prevention by using the vaccine a major public health priority.

The viruses that cause influenza change from year to year, so people need to get the vaccine each year to prevent an infection with the strains of virus expected to be active that year. In Alberta, the vaccine is free to everyone six months of age or older. Beginning in late October, the influenza vaccine is widely available at public health clinics, pharmacies, doctor offices, and through some company health and safety programs.

The priority is on ensuring that people in high risk groups are vaccinated. Healthy people should also get the vaccine to help prevent the infection from spreading to people in high risk groups. The primary care system has a major role to play in both recommending and providing the vaccine.

Considerations when viewing the results

  • The data includes people who received an influenza vaccine from Alberta Health Services public health clinics, community pharmacists, and doctors. It does not include people who received a vaccine from medical office staff (unless billed by the doctor), primary care network staff (e.g., nurses, pharmacists), or through an employer work-based health and safety program.

Alberta Quality Matrix for Health

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess primary healthcare’s performance in these dimensions of quality: Acceptability, Appropriateness, Effectiveness, and Safety.