Two-thirds of Albertans plan to get this year's flu vaccine: poll

Oct 1 2020, 7:31 pm

It appears that most Albertans will be on-board when the influenza vaccination becomes available this flu season.

A new study from Insights West found that, of the 628 Albertan adults that responded to the survey, 67% state that they plan to get the flu vaccine.

A similar survey conducted last year had found that only 61% of Albertans respondents stated likewise, resulting in a six-point increase over the past year.

“The unique circumstances surrounding the approaching influenza season have many more people focused on protecting themselves, their families, and vulnerable members of the community from the double threat of the flu and COVID-19,” said Chris Chiew, General Manager of Pharmacy at London Drugs, in the release.

“The flu shot is safe, and it is the most effective tool we have in protecting against influenza, preventing the spread and, ultimately, it can save lives.”

A total 68% of these respondents also noted that getting the flu vaccine is more important than ever this year, which has been plagued by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, the pandemic has resulted in the deaths of 267 people in Alberta, while the seasonal flu killed 39 Albertans during the entirety of the 2019/2020 flu season.

The study notes that 71% of respondents felt that “it is important to do whatever they can to prevent illness during the pandemic, including getting the flu shot,” while another 68% “are concerned about their health and the health of their family right now given the unpredictability of COVID-19 circulating at the same time as the flu.”

Unfortunately, a similar percentage of respondents believed misconceptions about the flu vaccine, with 69% worried that the shot could have negative side effects, and 24% wrongly believing that you can catch the flu from the vaccine.

“Even healthy individuals – even those taking precautions like wearing masks and washing hands – should get a flu shot because the higher the rate of vaccination, the greater the protection for the most vulnerable individuals like the elderly and young children who are more susceptible to flu-related complications that can lead to serious health problems or death,” said Chiew in the release.

“The pandemic has emphasized the importance of working together to protect each other and the most vulnerable from illness, including flu. That will be a lasting legacy of the health crisis we’ve all faced with COVID-19.”

76% of respondents noted that they are hopeful that the increased hand-washing and physical distancing in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will reduce the impact of this year’s flu season, though also agree that “precautions are no substitution for getting the flu shot.”

Flu shots can be booked in Alberta by contacting your local pharmacy or physician, or online through London Drugs.

Chandler WalterChandler Walter

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