BC United to provide free shingles vaccine

VANCOUVER (June 8, 2024) – BC United Leader Kevin Falcon announced today that a BCU government would make the shingles vaccine available to all British Columbians over the age of 50 at no cost.

“For years, BC United has been calling for a program to provide the shingles vaccine for free, as has B.C.’s independent Senior’s Advocate in a report released earlier this week,” said Falcon. “In the middle of an affordability crisis, countless seniors face serious financial barriers to accessing the shingles vaccine, which costs approximately $160 per dose. BC United will ensure all seniors receive the health care they deserve, and introduce a program to provide, at no cost, the shingles vaccine, which can prevent a painful and debilitating illness.”

Nearly one in three Canadians develop shingles in their lifetime, with those aged 50 and older being particularly susceptible. Unlike in B.C., the vaccine is publicly funded in Ontario, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, and Quebec.

“Kevin Falcon and BC United are committed to protecting the health and well-being of our seniors. By eliminating out-of-pocket costs, we will ensure that all seniors, regardless of income, can access this vital vaccine,” added MLA Shirley Bond, BC United Shadow Minister for Health, Seniors Services and Long Term Care. “Under David Eby and the NDP, B.C. has fallen behind in providing crucial healthcare support for seniors. Our seniors built this province, and they deserve so much better.”

BC United’s initiative aligns with proposals from Dan Levitt, the new B.C. Seniors Advocate, as well as recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) as vital way to address a significant health risk.

“At a time when one in five British Columbians don’t have access to a family doctor, this program would also importantly result in eliminating hundreds of thousands of physician visits for shingles cases each year,” concluded Falcon. “We could easily fund this common sense initiative with a simple rollback of the millions of taxpayers dollars that have flooded into the now bloated Premier’s Office, with political advisors and communications staff, under the NDP.”