Vancouver – An overwhelming majority (78%) of British Columbians believe that it is important to get the flu vaccination every year in order to help protect those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness. Despite this, only six in ten plan to get the flu shot this year.
The poll, conducted by Insights West on behalf of London Drugs, found that among those who are unlikely to get a flu shot, the most common reason is a belief that it is unnecessary because they are healthy (35%).
The poll showed that three quarters (76%) of British Columbians feel that getting the flu vaccination each year is a responsible way to take care of both their own health and the health of others.
“There is a common misconception that if you are a healthy person then you don’t need a flu shot. But even if you are in good health, it’s important to get immunized to help prevent the spread of illness to high risk individuals such as newborns, young children, pregnant women, and adults with chronic medical conditions,” says Gianni Del Negro, a Pharmacist at London Drugs.
Those who don’t plan on being immunized also cited concerns about negative side effects (25%) and worries that the vaccine might make them sick with the flu (23%).
Other poll highlights include:
- Nearly all (97%) of those who got a flu shot last year plan to get one this season.
- Older British Columbians, age 55 and over, are more likely to get a flu shot this season (65%), compared to those between the ages of 18 and 54 (52%).
- Eight in ten (82%) British Columbians are aware that the flu vaccine helps prevent hospitalizations and saves lives.
- Awareness among British Columbians about accessibility of flu shots is high. Nine in ten (88%) are aware that flu vaccinations are available free of charge for many Canadians (including children, seniors, pregnant women, aboriginal peoples, caregivers, and a number of other employment types). Nine in ten (89%) are aware that Health Canada recommends Canadians protect themselves from the flu by being vaccinated (getting a flu shot) each year in the fall.
- A strong majority (90%) are aware that flu vaccinations are available at most pharmacies, and can be administered by a pharmacist.
- One third (35%) of British Columbians believe that healthy people don’t really need the flu vaccination and one-quarter (26%) believe you can catch the flu from the vaccine.
- A small majority (60%) also agree that the flu vaccination can have negative side effects. Those who are unlikely to get a flu shot this year are significantly more likely to agree that the flu vaccination can have negative side effects (73%).