Blog: Too many people are still planning to avoid a flu shot

Chris Campbell

Do people like getting the flu?

I have to ask that because in an Insights West poll conducted on behalf of London Drugs, 37% of Western Canadians are not planning on getting a flu shot.

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Personally, I don’t like getting the flu. I hate it so much that it’s the first thing I do when fall arrives. I have not gotten the flu since I started getting the flu shot – the greatest streak I have going in my life.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 2,144 Western Canadians in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, three-in-five (59%) say they are likely to get the flu shot for the 2018/2019 season—a number that is consistent across all of these provinces—this includes nearly all of those (98%) who received last year’s vaccine.

flu shot
Insights West

I’m flummoxed that such a large proportion (37%) aren’t planning on getting this year’s vaccine, which protects against influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) and influenza B—viruses that are expected to be the most common this season.
According to Insights West, “While seven-in-ten Western Canadians (71%) report having gotten a flu shot in the past, the most common reason provided among those unlikely to get immunized this year, is the belief that the vaccine is ineffective (38%, a number that climbs to 45% in Saskatchewan). Other reasons include the belief that it is unnecessary because they are healthy (27%, including 35% of British Columbians), and concerns that it can have negative side effects (22%).”

Notice that one item about people thinking they are too healthy to get the flu – as though their immune system is all they need.

“What surprised me in the findings is the large number of misconceptions about the flu shot,” says Steve Mossop, President of Insights West. “Only just over half of us plan to protect ourselves against the flu by getting immunized despite the dangers associated with getting the flu; the number who feel it is ineffective or can cause side effects is far higher than it should be.”

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