B.C. Industry News

Vancouver Sun – More than half of British Columbians say no to the flu shot

January 22, 2014


More than half of British Columbians have not had a flu shot this year, despite warnings from health officials that the H1N1 strain can be dangerous for some people, according to a new poll.

The Ipsos Reid survey, conducted between Jan. 13 and Jan. 17, found that 58 per cent of adults polled did not get a jab this season, with a majority of those citing the reason as they believe side effects are more problematic than catching the flu.

Most of those respondents who said no to the flu shot were under the age of 35, while the majority of those who had one were over 55.

Also, those who have not been inoculated are not intending to this season. The poll found only five per cent of British Columbians without the shot say that they “definitely will” or “probably will” get the flu shot this season.

The poll suggests that a strong majority think convenience is an non-issue, and agree that “it is easy and convenient to get a flu shot for those who want one.”

However, Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume earlier this month reported on the efforts of two people in their 20s who experienced frustrations and delays in acquiring this year’s vaccine, finding that many pharmacies were out of stock.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall said earlier this month that the province distributed about 1.3 million doses of flu vaccine for the current season.

Perry said B.C. is usually near the top of the list among provincial vaccination rates, with about 30 per cent of the total population normally getting a flu shot. He said 90,000 doses – worth a total of about $500,000 – were returned unused last year.

Residents are split on whether there may be side effects of the flu shot that cause more problems than getting sick, the poll shows. Overall, 43 per cent agree and 41 per cent disagree that the side effects might be worse.

Ipsos Reid says there are slightly more residents who agree (43 per cent) than disagree (39 per cent) that the H1N1 influenza has been sensationalized.

The poll has a margin of error plus or minus 3.9 percentage points had all British Columbia adults been surveyed.


© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun