Survey suggests flu season could be worse this year

Why are fewer Canadians planning to get the jab?

Survey suggests flu season could be worse this year

Many people are still struggling with COVID-19, and Canada might be in for a difficult flu season as fewer people intend to get flu vaccine shots this year, according to a survey.

Specifically, just half (50 per cent) will probably or definitely get the shot, according to the Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA).

That number is down from 56 per cent last year and 57 per cent in 2020, based on the survey of 1,500 adult Canadians, conducted in August.

"With fewer Canadians planning on getting a flu shot this year, we are very worried about the impact that could have on flu spread in our communities," says Danielle Paes, chief pharmacist officer at CPhA.

"The unseasonal spike in respiratory illnesses this summer combined with the influenza rates we've seen in the southern hemisphere could signal a difficult flu season ahead.”

Read more: Safeguarding employee health during this year’s flu season

Among generations, a majority of those aged 60 and up (65 per cent) plan to get flu shots, compared to 44 per cent among 45- to 59-year-olds, 43 per cent among 30- to 44-year-olds and 39 per cent among 18- to 29-year-olds, finds the CPhA.

Also, fewer Canadians (42 per cent) got flu shots last spring compared with those who did during the same time in 2021 (47 per cent) and 2020 (45 per cent).

Emerging data from the southern hemisphere suggests Canada will also see a more severe flu season with a return to pre-pandemic influenza levels, says the association.

“After two years with record low flu activity, largely attributed to the public health measures put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, we need to prepare for a more typical flu season—which is especially concerning as our health system struggles with significant staff shortages and capacity issues.”

Read more: Many workers worried about new COVID strains

Promoting vaccinations

Here are some ways employers can promote flu vaccination among their workers, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Establish policies that allow employees to take an hour or two to seek flu vaccinations in the community.
  • Use promotional posters and flyers break rooms, cafeterias, and other high-traffic areas to advertise locations in the community that offer seasonal flu vaccinations.
  • Post articles in company communications (such as newsletters, intranet, emails and portals) about the importance of flu vaccination and where to get the vaccine in the community.
  • Share the flu vaccine finder with employees to help them find out where they can get a flu vaccine.

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